Encyclopedia of Shinto
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|3. Institutions and Administrative Practices
|Medieval and Early Modern
Magistrate of Temples and Shrines: Medieval (Jisha bugyō)
The term used to denote the administrative system of Buddhist temples and Shintō shrines — which existed from the Kamakura to Edo period — and those bureaucrats in the bakufu responsible for supervising them. During the medieval period, the term jisha bugyō was used as a collective designation for various types of magistrates (bugyō) that were in charge of individual temples, shrines, festivals or rites. Although the exact nature of these positions changed over time, the term was used to refer to all such positions. Further, magistrates for temporary or non-regular rites also existed. One of the earliest examples for the usage of this term is found in an entry in the Azuma kagami stating that in 1188 Minamoto no Yoritomo promoted Miyoshi Yasunobu (Dharma name: Zenshin) and others to the position of bugyō when he asked the shugo (military constables) of the Tōkaidō region to report on the state of sōja and state sponsored Buddhist temples and nunneries (collectively referred to as kokubun niji) and engage in repair work where necessary. Then, in 1194, Nakahara Suetoki was ordered to "deal with temple and shrine disputes." This is the earliest appearance of evidence citing the Magistrate of Temples and Shrines' role in resolving general temple and shrine conflicts. In the latter part of the Kamakura period, Ōta Tokitsura and Settsu Shinkan occupied this post; providing evidence that those who had experience in dealing with temple and shrine disputes were often assigned to this position. Further, a separate magisterial position was created within the Rokuhara Tandai (the agency of the shogunal deputy) in Kyoto. On the other hand, evidence for magistrates dealing with specific temples and shrines can be traced back to the creation of a position in charge of the temples and shrines of the Yoritomo clan such as Tsurugaoka Hachimangū, Shochōju-in, and Yōfuku-ji. The prominent retainer Ōba Kageyoshi fulfilled this role.
During the time of emperor Go-Daigo's ultimately doomed rebellion against the shogunate during the 1330s, a magistrate position was temporarily created in the Chinjufu of Mutsu Province (present-day Fukushima Prefecture), the local administrative organ. During the rule of the Muromachi bakufu, a magistrate was in charge of supervising the placement of shrine priests (shinkan) and Buddhist priests, in settling disputes, and in charge of forced (i.e, military) repossession of temple and shrine land. From the period of shogun Yoshimitsu (reigned 1368-94), however, all major temples and shrines were assigned individual magistrates (i.e., the Jingū magistrate, the Hachiman magistrate, the Sanmon magistrate, and the Nanto magistrate). In the Edo period, Itakura Katsushige and the Zen-monk Sūden of Konchi-in were appointed as magistrates (1612), and the permanent position, Magistrate of Temples and Shrines (jisha bugyō), was officially created in 1635. This system continued until the Meiji era, when it was disbanded.
Magistrates in charge of ritual were known by such titles as Prayer Magistrates (oinori bugyō) and Magistrates of Matters Related to the kami (shinji bugyō). As the Prayer Magistrate was in charge of supervising rituals dealing with prayers and rituals in the event of upheaval and natural disaster, they were also known as Inori Magistrates and Kitō Magistrates. An early example of this position (1185), was when, based on a prophetic dream seen by Kamakura Gongorō Kagemasa in which he was warned that the angry spirit of the retired emperor Sūtoku-in was about to unleash its powers. A prayer ritual for pacifying the nation was conducted and a magistrate was placed in charge of the rite. In the ensuing period, the magistrate supervised rituals concerning prayers for rain, star festivals, and prayers for the safety of the shogun and his family. In 1240, a group of ritual specialists for the shogunal house was formed who performed kitō (magico-religious invocations of divine power). Extant historical documents detailing this position primarily note Buddhist rituals and traditional divination practices; however, there is evidence found in Azuma kagami showing that in 1258 magistrates officiated the offering of sacred swords at two shrines. By the Muromachi period, this position gradually became a permanent one, and was made the hereditary role of the Senshū family. The magistrate of kami-related affairs was in charge of Hachimangū, the shrine worshipped by the shogun's family (the Yoritomo clan). In the Kamakura period, this magistrate was in charge, for example, of rituals for releasing life (hōjō-e). By the time of the Muromachi bakufu, both samurai and non-samurai retainers served as dual magistrates for this ritual at Iwashimizu Hachimangū.
— Yonei Teruyoshi