Encyclopedia of Shinto
詳細表示 (Complete Article)
|カテゴリー1：||6. Belief and Practice|
|カテゴリー2：||Associations and Organizations|
This term indicates a group of people holding similar beliefs, but as in the manner of a mutual financing business or loan association, the group is also diverted toward economic goals. The origin of kō lies in the name of Heian period Buddhist text reading and study (kōdoku) conducted by groups of monks. Later, due to a process of infiltration of this practice into the populace, it became common to attach this name of kō to various ordinary groups of religious believers. As groups of believers, kō can be divided into those which arose naturally out of local societies and those which relied on an introduction from outside. In particular, the former group includes mountain kami kō, rice paddy kami kō, water kami kō, land kami kō, ocean kami kō, kō dedicated to the sun (nittai kō), kō dedicated to the moon (gettai kō), and those other kinds of kō based on beliefs in nature or in spirits. Or also, there are the ujigami, ubusuna, chinju Shinto type of worship groups. These types of kō, particularly the mountain kami kō and the rice paddy kami kō, take popular small shrines as their objects of worship and are conducted by traditional and native worship groups which have local residents at their centers. Opposed to that, the ujigami kō and the like take a high ranking shrine as its object of worship and its area of organization expands beyond the village and is operated by professional functionaries, and in many cases, the ujiko carry out only a secondary role. The visitation kō concerned with mountain beliefs are representative examples of kō that are introduced from the outside. When beliefs related to holy mountains began to spread in all directions due to the activity of mountain ascetics (shugenja), large numbers of visitation kō, worshipping at Dewa Sanzan, Daisen, Fuji Sengen, Ontake, Kumano Sanzan, Kotohira (Konpira), and Kirishima to name a few localities, were formed all over the country. Also, visitation kō for famous shrines and Buddhist temples, the Grands Shrines of Ise (Ise Jingū) first among them, were also formed in various places. As for the forms of the kō, there's the 'everyone visits' kō where all the members of the group make a visit, and there is the "proxy visit" kō where a representative is selected to represent several members and that proxy makes the visit. For visits to remote areas, in most cases, the kō took the latter form.
— Iwai Hiroshi