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Home » 3. Institutions and Administrative Practices » Officiants
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. Especially with the dissolution of the ritsuryō system, examples increased of clans connected with the Jingikan succeeding to posts at particular shrines in hereditary fashion. The Ise Shrines had the largest number of shake up to the early modern period, including the Fujinami (saishū), Kawabe (gūji), Arakida (Inner Shrine, shishoku), Watarai (Outer Shrine, shishoku), and others. Other famous examples include the Senge and Kitajima lines at Izumo Shrine, the Ki of Iwashimizu Hachiman Shrine, Katori Shrine and Kashima Shrine, the Ōnakatomi and Nakatomi families at Kasuga Shrine, the Tsumori of Sumiyoshi Shrine, and the Urabe of Yoshida Shrine. The hereditary transmission of shrine posts was abolished in the fifth month of 1871 with a Daijōkan edict denouncing corruption among officials. However, after the war when shrines and their priests were severed from government administration, cases of hereditary succession began to appear again, drawing on Edo period and prewar examples. Such cases can be considered shake in a broad sense.
See shinshoku

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