I have looked up judge, but I am finding a number of words and am not sure how they are different. Is there a general word that is most common?
Words I found include: saibankan 裁判官 saibannin 裁判人 hanji 判事 houkan 法官 shichoku 司直
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The catch-all term for (proper) judges in the modern Japanese judicial system is 裁判官. There are also 裁判員 ("lay judge / jury") for important cases.
Legally speaking, 判事 is a subclass of 裁判官. 判事 roughly refer to 裁判官 who are not 長官 ("chiefs") nor 判事補 ("assistant judges"). For example, Japanese 最高裁判所 (Supreme Court) has fifteen 裁判官's, which consist of one 最高裁判所長官 and fourteen 最高裁判所判事. That being said, laypeople do not see the word 判事 very often. I may be mistaken, but I feel news articles for the general public usually use 裁判官 when they report domestic incidents. I see the word 判事 mainly from translations of foreign news and detective dramas.