Basic Terms of Shinto 神道基本用語集

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Text The rank assigned by the imperial court to the deity of a shrine. A description of this practice first appears in the Tôdaiji yôroku (ca. 1134), which states that in 746 the Hachiman Taisha was given the third rank in supplication for the cure of the emperor's illness. From the time of the late Nara period, this system of assignment became customary, and promotions were also given on occasions such as removal of the capital to a new site, an imperial journey, coronation, or war. At first, lands proportionate to the rank were given in fief, but the practice gradually became one of mere formal assignment of rank, and the system was ultimately abolished in the Meiji period. However, the study of shinkai reveals valuable information about the position of shrines throughout history and the trends in the support each received.