Encyclopedia of Shinto

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カテゴリー1: 1. General Introduction
カテゴリー2: History of Shrines and Shinto
§ The History of Shrines
Jinja (shrine) is the comprehensive term for buildings and facilities constructed for the worship of kami. Shrines may also be called yashiro, miya, mori, and hokora.

Shrine Composition
Shrines may include the following structures: honden or sanctuary where the kami are enshrined; heiden or hall of offerings, where offerings and norito (prayers) are presented; shinzenjo, the place where offerings for the kami are prepared; haiden or hall of worship, where seats may be provided for prayers and worship; kaguraden or hall of sacred dance, where kagura dance and music are performed. These structures may be surrounded by fences called mizugaki or tamagaki. Other facilities may include the temizuya or purification font, where worshippers purify heart and body with pure water; the shamusho or shrine offices, where priests conduct shrine business; the sanshūden used for various gatherings and assemblies; and torii, sacred taboo gates that demark sacred space. Moreover, many shrines are located in forests, where buildings and trees meld together for the preservation of function and landscape. With rare exceptions, the original form of shrines did not include physical buildings. Instead, on several occasions through the year, a himorogi (sakaki or other evergreen tree) or iwakura (a natural stone or boulder), was erected in a place considered to be sacred, such as at the foot of an imposing mountain overlooking the community, beside a clear stream, or in a forest, and the kami's presence was invoked there for the duration of the worship, after which it was sent off again.
Engishiki's "Register of Divinities" (jinmyōchō) includes examples of shrines where special divine trees were used as the himorogi. Some of these include Mukumoto no Kami no Yashiro (Uda District of Yamato Province, in present-day Uda-gun, Nara Prefecture); Amakashi ni Masu Kami no Yashiro (Takaichi District of Yamato Province, in present-day Takaichi-gun, Nara Prefecture); Kusomoto no Yashiro (Shiki District of Kawachi Province, in present-day Osaka Prefecture); and Ichi-imoto no Yashiro (Tashihi District of Kawachi Province, in present-day Osaka Prefecture). Shrines enshrining an iwakura included Iwakura no Yashiro (Ho-o District of Mikawa Province, in present-day Aichi Prefecture); Iwakura no Yashiro (written with different characters than the previous shrine, found in Ōno District of Echizen Province, present-day Ōno-gun, Fukui Prefecture); Ame no Iwatachi no Yashiro (Soegami District of Yamato Province, in present-day Soegami-gun, Nara Prefecture); Iwagami no Yashiro (Ōagata District of Kawachi Province, in present-day Osaka Prefecture); and Iwakami Yamasumi no Yashiro (Kurokawa District of Mutsu Province, in present-day Kurokawa-gun, Miyagi Prefecture). Since shrines were considered tabooed space off-limits to entry by humans (kinsokuchi), they were marked off by sacred ropes called shimenawa, and harvesting their trees and grasses was tabooed. The third book of Engishiki states that "it shall not be permitted to cut trees or bury dead within the four borders of a shrine," demonstrating one element of this taboo meant to protect sacred space.
Buildings were apparently constructed at the shrines of Ise and Izumo from an early date, but Kasuga is a widely known example of a shrine composed merely of sacred space. Established in 709 on the western slope of Mount Mikasa in the capital of Nara, this shrine served as the clan tutelary (ujigami) for the powerful Fujiwara family. While this location was used as a site for annual ritual worship by the entire assembled clan, shrine buildings first appeared only some six decades later, in 768.
The etymology of the early word for shrine, yashiro 社 is thought to have meant a temporary structure (yashiro 屋代) erected for worship, in the same way that nawashiro meant a hut for raising seedlings, and an ajiro meant a spot for drying fishing nets. Festivals were generally held out of doors, but it is thought that a simple structure with a roof was eventually provided to protect the altar, and in time, shrine buildings came about as such roofed structures were left in place rather than being dismantled following the worship. Accordingly, the concept of the sacred also changed from one in which kami were thought to be visiting deities (raihōshin) that descended at set times each year, to one in which the kami resided permanently in the shrine as a tutelary of its parishioners.
By contrast, another term denoting a shrine, miya 宮, is believed to derive from the honorific expression for a building (miya 御屋). Until the early Heian period, however, few shrines were permitted the status of miya, and of the 2,861 shrines listed in Engishiki's "Register of Divinities," only eleven are included in this category. These include Ise no Ōkami no Miya (the Inner Shrine or Naikū at Ise) and Watarai no Miya (Ise's Outer Shrine or Gekū), together with five other affiliated "exceptional shrines" (betsugū) at Ise (Aramatsuri no Miya, Takihara no Miya, Izanagi no Miya, Tsukiyomi no Miya, and Taka Miya). The remaining shrines given the miya title were Katori Jingū (miya is another reading for the character ) in Shimofusa Province (present-day Katori-shi, Chiba Prefecture); Kashima Jingū in Hitachi Province (present-day Kashima-shi, Ibararaki Prefecture); Hakozakigū in Chikuzen (in present-day Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture); and Usa no Miya in Buzen (in present-day Usa-shi, Oita Prefecture).
According a myth in Kojiki, a necklace given to Izanagi no kami by Amaterasu ōmikami was called Mikuratana no kami. This term refers to a style of ancestor worship within the imperial house, and it suggests a storehouse (kura) shelf (tana) was located near the emperor's throne, and magatama jewels were kept there as one kind of sacred imperial symbol. From the perspective of architectural history, the appearance of genuine shrine buildings is believed to have arisen from the erection of honden or storage facilities called hokura to house such sacred symbols (mitamashiro), including sacred mirrors (kagami), swords, and jewels in which divine spirits were believed to dwell, together with other shrine treasures (shinpō).
The earliest type of shrine architecture is seen in the shinmeizukuri style of the Shōden (honden) of the Grand Shrines of Ise, and the taishazukuri style of the Izumo Shrine's honden. The former originates in the style of grain storehouse used to store rice, while the latter is based on the style of ancient dwellings in the Izumo area. Both styles are reflected in ancient palace architecture, and eventually they were used in permanent shrine buildings, becoming the source for more complicated styles such as Hachimanzukuri, Hieizukuri, Sumiyoshizukuri, Kasugazukuri, and others. Once the honden structure was established, the passage of time saw great shrines around the country building other related structures, some for purification or seclusion (okomori) called igomoriden, and others including the aforementioned haiden, kiganden, noritoden, hōheiden, and kaguraden. In the background to this architectural flowering one can point to the increase of regular and extraordinary rituals accompanying the development of the cult, rising economic power, the spread of culture from the center to the provinces, the stimulus represented by grand Buddhist temple architecture and the corresponding desire to create a national style. It is evident from the Enryaku gishikichō ("Ritual precedents for the Enryaku period") that by 804 the Inner Shrine at Ise already possessed the following structures: Shōden (sanctuary); Itsuki no Himemiko Saburai-dono (hall for serving the imperial priestess); Mitegura-dono (hall of offerings); Mikura (storehouses); Naorai-den (hall for divine repasts); Itsuki no Himemiko no Mike-dono (hall for offerings from the imperial priestess); Negi no Imitachi (taboo and seclusion hall for priests); together with various buildings for other ritual purposes, including the Uji no Ōuchibito no Itsuki-yakata, Ōuchibito Ninin no Tachi, and Monoimi Narabini Kouchindo no Tachi.

The Early Shrine System
According to the "Register of Deities," by 927 some 3,132 deities at 2,861 shrines received tribute (heihaku) from the court. Of these, 492 deities at 353 shrines were termed taisha ("great shrines"). At these major shrines, offerings were presented at several annual ritual occasions, including kinensai, tsukinamisai, and Niinamesai. At a further forty shrines with seventy-one deities, rituals called ainamesai were held, indicating that physical facilities were gradually being systematized. From an 806 record in Shinsen kyakuchokufushō, we know that under the Ritsuryō system serving households were assigned to 170 shrines across the country. The Ise Shrines alone possessed 1,230 households, and the grand total number of houses so apportioned was 4,876. The roughly 3,000 shrines listed in the "Register of Deities" are referred to as shikinaisha ("shrines contained the list given in Engishiki"). Another 391 shrines including Iwashimizu Hachimangū are identified as kokushi genzaisha ("shrines within the Six National Histories or Rikkokushi"). Beginning in the Kinai region and extending to the powerful shrines of the provinces, extraordinary offerings were made on special occasions, and higher ranks were bestowed upon the enshrined deities.
Following the pattern of the shrine system adopted by the central government, provincial "Registers of Deities" appeared, as did shrines called ichinomiya or sōsha ("joint shrines"), where the provincial governor was expected to conduct festivals for the peace and welfare of all the people of the province as his premier duty. This ritual system of cultic kami worship was completed by the early Heian period, but with the loosening of the Ritsuryō system throughout the period, it gradually became economically more difficult to conduct these rites. Instead, an abbreviated custom arose of presenting tribute to twenty-two of the most powerful shrines of the Kinki region (nijūnisha); this system was firmly established by 1081.
As the Ritsuryō system of land tenure dissolved and powerful warrior families arose, ancient imperially granted shrine lands (shinryō) and other lands commended by secular houses were gradually transformed into the system of estates known as shōen. Under this system, powerful shrines tried to ensure their territorial integrity by commending their lands to the imperial house or other powerful clans who acted as "rights holders" (honjo) for the land. In the case of ordinary shrines, those that had earlier enshrined clan tutelaries or ujigami became known from the medieval period as tutelaries of local geographical units such as estate or village. Such deities were called ubusunagami or chinjugami and made the object of prayers of supplication and gratitude at regular calendrical events within local life, or on critical occasions when the community faced danger. At the outset of Hōjō Yasutoki's Jōei shikimoku (1232) appears an exhortation to keep shrines in good repair and to be diligent in worship, and this became a maxim for future generations. This pattern was also incorporated and continued in the Edo shogunate's laws regulating shrines and their priests, the Shosha negi kannushi hatto of 1665. On this basis the shoguns and daimyō bestowed "vermilion-seal" or "black-seal" land grants upon important shrines and diligently contributed to the rebuilding or repair of shrine buildings.
Previous to this, the practice of amalgamating buddhas and kami (shinbutsu shūgō) had begun from the middle of the eighth century. The first stage involved declaring that the kami were the protectors of Buddhism, and on that basis establishing tutelary kami shrines within Buddhist temple grounds. The second element, occurring in the same general period, was for Buddhist priests to build temples on the grounds of certain shrines, on the pretext that this would assist the kami, who they claimed were actually devas who had not yet reached enlightenment. As part of this practice, the Buddhist priests recited sutras and performed other Buddhist rituals before the altars of the kami. The third step began in the early Heian period, when kami were taken to be phenomenal manifestations of the buddhas; in this stage, the Buddhist title of bodhisattva was conferred on kami, and as the object of worship, Buddhist images, or images of kami in the fashion of a Buddhist monk (sōgyō no shinzō) were installed in the honden of shrines. In the Kamakura period various combinatory theories of honji suijaku arose, such as Tendai Shintō, or Shingon Shintō. Many shrines came to be controlled by Buddhist priests, beginning with those based on faith in sacred mountains, where sutras and Buddhist ritual equipment were used. This situation continued until the end of the Edo period, although numerous Shintō theories arose from the medieval period to refute it. However, the actual faith in Shintō was perpetuated through festivals, purifications, seclusion, pilgrimage (sankei), and other means.
In the early modern period, the ancient pattern of national ritual and customs began to be resuscitated. Festivals in both urban and agricultural areas became more elaborate, and special rites (tokushū shinji) became lively festivals beloved by the people. With the Meiji Restoration, the government incorporated Shinto into its structure of administration and rejected previous Buddhist elements. In order to restore things to their state before the combination of Shinto and Buddhism, the government issued an order for the separation of buddhas and kami (shinbutsu bunri). Abolishing shrine fiefs bequeathed from the shogunate or the daimyo, shrine lands were restricted to the shrine precincts, with the remainder returned to the court. Thereafter, ranks were assigned to each shrine, divided between imperially and nationally endowed shrines (kanpeisha, kokuheisha) and nonofficial shrines (fukensha, gōsha, sonsha, and mukakusha).

Changes in the Number of Shrines
Because shrines were intimately connected with the promotion of a sense of communal belonging and solidarity, changes in the distribution and number of shrines varied in proportion to the community. Villages () of the Ritsuryō period were units of fifty households, and according to the eighth-century Ritsuryō zanpen 4,012 villages existed in Japan; according to the twelfth-century Wamyō ruijūshō 4,041 villages were in existence. Villages of the medieval period were composed of two or three natural settlements, and according to the thirteenth-century Shūgaishō, about 10,000 villages existed. According to the early sixteenth-century Taigenshō, the number of villages had increased to about 98,000 villages, so we may assume that the number of shrines, large and small, exceeded that figure. In the Edo period new fields were opened in large numbers, with the number of villages increasing accordingly, and many shrines were dedicated (see kanjō) to them. From early Meiji-period registers of shrines submitted to the government, it is apparent that the total number of shrines had reached around 180,000 to 190,000, which is roughly the same as the number of natural communities (as opposed to administrative units) at the time. With the beginning of village mergers in the period 1887-1897, however, the government sought to systematize the demographic basis of shrines. It reduced the number of shrines from around 193,000 in 1906 to about 110,000 in 1912. Because these shrine mergers (jinja gōshi) were carried out coercively in some prefectures against the wishes of the people, much resistance and confusion was experienced. The number of shrines decreased not only in the prewar era, but also in the postwar period with the enlargement of village units resulting from mergers. In 1945 the total number of shrines in the home islands and former colonies was 16,137, including 248 official shrines. In February of the next year, shrines emerged as religious corporations (see shūkyō hōjinrei) with the demise of the Jingiin and the end of national shrine management. Some 87,218 shrines affiliated themselves with the Association of Shinto Shrines (Jinja Honchō), which was established in Tokyo as a Shinto umbrella organization. The former unranked shrines (mukakusha) did not incorporate as religious corporations but continued to exist without official recognition. As of 1992, some 97 percent of shrines were affiliated with the Association of Shinto Shrines. The remainder are incorporated as individual freestanding corporations (tanritsu hōjin) or as small religious organizations.
— Hirai Naofusa

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