(OKUIRISHO, SHOMOKU, GOMOKU, MENKYO) Used in Shindo Muso Ryu
Many folks pursue grades, ranks, certificates. At the most common level, ranks encourage people to continue training and serve as goal posts with which to measure their “growth”.
Today, there is a commercial aspect as well. Political organizations wish to standardize performance that can be graded to provide consistency amongst diverse groups. The standardization in a broad sense is designed to maintain quality control.
Within SMRJ today, the Jodo section of the All Japan Kendo Federation (AJKF) offers testing and "dan grades. The classical makimono (scroll licensing) system is retained as well by surviving Menkyo Kaiden offering the “Koryu” aspects of Jodo training.
Looking at a surviving ancient scroll (densho) is a powerful thing. It is sad to see that today that these items can actually be found and purchased on internet auction sites. It is also the way of the world I guess to see teachers treat makimono as income makers, offered on a whim and for reasons other than mastery of the self and of the curriculum.
Personally I doubt that any system of recognition will ever be perfect. I try to remember and also to remind my dojo mates that a grade is arbitrary. It is a fruitless waste of time to judge the skill sets of others. Those that do are missing the point about what training is all about. We train for ourselves and not the approval of others.