Encyclopedia of Shinto Kokugakuin University
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Officiants


Bettō

One term for shrine monks (shasō) performing Buddhist rites at shrines and jingūji (shrine-related temples) during the era of shinbutsu shūgo (the amalgamation of Shintō and Buddhism). Bettō is usually understood as the head of one institution who also serves as the head of...

Gūji

One rank in the hierarchy of shrine priests (shinshoku), the chief priest among those serving at a shrine. At most shrines today, the gūji ordinarily serves as head ritualist, as well as being responsible for the shrine's maintenance and financial management, and generally taking overall respo...

Hafuri

A term for Shinto priests (shinshoku), usually a rank beneath kannushi and negi. The etymology of the term is unclear, but according to Tanigawa Kotosuga's Wakun no shiori, it refers to shaking a garment to quell disaster or catastrophe. Motoori Norinaga explained it as related to iwai-matsuru, 'to...

Hafuribe

One type of priest established under the ancient ritsuryō system. The "hafuri" in hafuribe derives from 'one associated with the kami,' according to Jōgen's commentary on the Book of Rites (Raiki). The "be" is said to have been attached to indicate a customary occupation of lower-ranking ...

Izumo kokusō

The kuni no miyatsuko of the ancient province of Izumo (the eastern portion of present-day Shimane Prefecture). Even after the dissolution of the ritsuryō system, the term has persisted as a title for the position of head ritualist at Izumo Taisha through to the present day. The term is usuall...

Jinjashishoku

A comprehensive term for shrine ritualists of the ancient period. At the top was the kannushi (here meaning the head of a shrine as opposed to the general meaning of a primary ritualist), or a gūji (chief priest), and below that were ranks and positions down to jinin (a lower-ranking assistant...

Kanbe

Also read as kantomo and kantomono'o, refers to people involved in rites for the kami. Under the ritsuryō system, kanbe were low-level appointees to the Jingikan and participated in ritual and miscellaneous tasks. There were thirty such kanbe, according to the "Shokuin ryō" section of the...

Kannushi

In present usage, kannushi is a general term for shrine priests (shinshoku). Since ancient times this term has been applied to those who ritually serve deities. It is stated in the Nihon shoki that Empress Jingū chose an auspicious day, entered the Iwainomiya and became a kannushi herself. The...

Kengyō

One who has general responsibility for the management of a shrine or temple, derived from a Chinese term meaning "to investigate and consider." The term seems to have been in use from the beginning of the Tang period in China as a word for the duties of a certain type of Buddhist monk. Its first ap...

Kinokuninomiyatuko

The kuni no miyatsuko (a provincial governor with ritual responsibilities) of the ancient Kii Province. As an administrator of ritual, this office endured for a long time after its introduction. The term occurs in both the Kojiki and the Nihon shoki, written with different characters, but was estab...

Kuni no miyatsuko

An officer of provincial government in the ancient period. Among the surnames for the office Atai is most common, along with Omi, Kimi, or Muraji. Both the Kojiki and the Nihon shoki date the establishment of this office to the reign of Emperor Seimu, but this was probably a contrivance on the part...

Miko

A general term for a woman possessing the magico-religious power to receive oracles (takusen) from the kami in a state of spirit possession (kamigakari). Nowadays the term generally refers to a woman who assists shrine priests in ritual or clerical work. The word may be written with various charact...

Negi

One comprehensive term for shrine priests (shinshoku). In the ancient system, it was the position below kannushi. The origin of the word (negu) is related to the idea of comforting the hearts of the kami and praying for their protection; it indicates someone who petitions the kami in ritual (kish&#...

Saishu

A profession established by the court for the performance of ritual at Ise Jingū. A position established only at Ise, it was filled by the Nakatomi family for generations. In later years it was also called jingū kanchō or sōkan. It is not, however, listed in the Shokuin rei, but...

Shake

A family filling the priestly (shinshoku) position at a particular shrine from generation to generation, also called shashika. In ancient times shrines did not usually have professional priests, but as professional priests emerged, their positions began to be passed down in particular families. Esp...

Shasō

A general term for Buddhist priests who perform Buddhist rites at shrines or jingūji. Other terms are kusō, gusō, and shinsō, but up to the Edo period, shasō was the most prevalent term. After Buddhism came to Japan, in the mid-to-late Nara period burgeoning of shinbutsu sh...

Shinkan

Widely used synonymously with shinshoku, in the broad sense shinkan denotes one kind of shrine priest. In the strict sense, however, shinkan and shinshoku are different. Until the Edo period the term was limited to those having qualifications from the Yoshida house, but when the system of priestly ...

Shinshoku

Workers involved in the ritual and maintenance of shrines. Historically, shinshoku was a comprehensive term for kuni no miyatsuko (provincial governor-ritualist), gūji (chief priest), negi (suppliant priest), hafuri (ritualist), and so forth, all those who serve the kami, and there were also s...

Ujinokami

The head of a clan (uji); also called uji no sō and uji no osa, or in ancient times, kono kami. The first document mentioning uji no kami is the Nihon shoki, in an entry from the second month of 664 (the third year of Emperor Tenji's reign), which records the gift of large swords to the uji no...





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