- Encyclopedia of Shinto
- Introduction: Institutions and Administrative Practices
Encyclopedia of Shinto
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|カテゴリー1：||1. General Introduction|
Introduction: Institutions and Administrative Practices
This section offers explanations of terminology relating to Shintō shrine systems, institutions and administration. The main focus falls on shrine systems, their state foundations and other closely related institutions. An extremely general overview of the characteristic chronological changes in the shrine systems might go as follows: A structured shrine system emerged in the ancient period, but from the medieval period it gradually transformed before exhibiting signs of decline. In the modern period, the shrine system was reconstructed, but was dissolved again immediately after World War Two, when shrines were placed on the same footing as other religious institutions.
The establishment of the ancient shrine system proceeded apace with the development of the ritsuryō system (a system of administrative and legal codes based on the Tang Chinese model, established in the late Asuka and early Nara periods). The fact that shrines included in the Engishiki 's "Register of Deities" are generally referred to as shikinaisha (roughly, "registered shrines of the Engishiki") indicates that a structured and countrywide shrine system was already in place at that time. The shrine system was fundamentally connected to national shrine rites as well as being intimately linked with imperial rites. The system of the twenty-two shrines (see entry Nijūnisha) symbolizes the intimacy of this connection between shrines and the imperial court. The major shrines in the Kinai area, of which there were eventually twenty-two, became classified as imperial chokusaisha (shrines where an imperial envoy officiated). The system of regional shrine belief also achieved uniform organization with the creation of the shrine categories of ichinomiya and sōja (main shrines). The most revered shrine in a province was classified as ichinomiya ; and the sōja was the central shrine at which the provincial governor would make official offerings (hōbei).
The aim of the ancient system was to establish state control over shrine beliefs, but in the medieval period the system became unstable. As the system of private ownership of land in the form of fiefs (shōen) proliferated, shrine land came to be regarded as the shrines' private property, leading to the gradual loss of state support. One feature of the medieval system was the creation of the office of jisha bugyō (temple and shrine magistrate). This meant that successive military regimes came to intervene in the administration of the shrine system. The substance of the magistrate's office gradually changed over time, but the office itself endured until the early modern (Edo) period.
The modern shrine system was propelled by the ideology of imperial restoration and the mythological account of Emperor Jinmu's foundation of the state. The creators of the modern system paid due heed to ancient precedent but what they sought was a new system that was consistent with the principles of the modern state. The Jingikan (see entry for Meiji Jingikan), nominally responsible for shrines and their rites, was restored in the early Meiji era, and was later reorganized as the Jingishō. Despite undergoing these kinds of transformations, shrine administration remained at the center of the prewar state's policies. The shrine ranking system was revamped, the system of kankoku heisha (imperial and national shrines) was created, and the nationwide ranking of shrines progressed. The Meiji state established what is generally referred to as the "modern emperor system" (seetennō seido), and this system was intimately linked to the shrine system. Legal overhauls in terms of the emperor and the imperial institution also progressed, such as in the establishment of the Kōshitsu Tenpan (Imperial House Law), which set forth stipulations relating to imperial succession (kōi keishō) and similar matters.
This system changed drastically after the war. GHQ published a document called the "Shintō Directive" (Shintō Shirei), which dismantled the so-called State Shintō (kokka shintō) system. The brief period of the Religious Corporations Ordinance (Shūkyō Hōjinrei) gave way to the system that continues to this day, the Religious Corporations Law (Shūkyō Hōjinhō). Under this legislation, "Shrine Shintō" (see The History of Shrines) is no longer viewed as a system protected by the state, and the system of shrines came to be treated as equal with all other religious institutions. This led in turn to the establishment of the Jinja Honchō (The Association of Shintō Shrines), a religious organization which presently serves as an umbrella institution for the majority of Japan's shrines.
In this way, Shrine Shintō underwent major systemic transformations, but at the same time historical changes also affected the principal people involved in carrying out shrine rites. In the ancient period it was the Jingikan that administered state rites. However, at provincial and tutelary shrines, kuni no miyatsuko (provincial governors) or uji no kami (clan chieftains) conducted shrine rites. There were also dedicated shrine priests or shinshoku and miko shamans who oversaw individual local shrines and the celebration of their rites. As the influence of shinbutsu shūgō (the amalgamation of Shintō and Buddhism) increased, new categories of celebrants called shasō and bettō (roughly, "shrine monks") emerged. Until the early modern period, hereditary shrine priests known as shake, with jurisdiction over individual shrines, were a major presence. However, in the Meiji era all shrines were redefined as "sites for the performance of state rites (kokka sōshi)" and the shake system largely disintegrated. In the post-war period, however, there has been a substantial revival or continuation of the hereditary shrine priest system. The creation of the first institution dedicated to the training of shrine priests took place in 1882. This first institution was the Kōten Kōkyūsho, the forerunner of Kokugakuin University. Presently, Kōgakkan and Kokugakuin universities serve as institutions for training shrine priests.
— Inoue Nobutaka