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Home » 3. Institutions and Administrative Practices » 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 another, but actual usage in fact applies the term simply to the head of some institution. A variety of related terms exist, such as seibettō (head monk), gon-bettō (provisional monk), dai bettō (chief monk), shō bettō (junior monk), bettō dai (alternate monk), rusu bettō (monk who served during an absence of the bettō), and shūri bettō (monk in charge of repairs). Those associated with shrine duties who were not Buddhist priests were called zoku bettō. Examples of shrines that appointed bettō include Iwashimizu Hachimangū, Kehi Jingū, Tsuruoka Hachimangū, Hakone Jinja, Kunōzan Tōshōgū, and others. Bettō seem to have been particularly numerous at shrines with strong Hachiman or gongen (avatar) devotion. Bettō were appointed for three or six years, and there are also examples of their appointments being re-confirmed when a new shogun (general) took over.

— Nishimuta Takao
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
4-10-28 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-8440, Japan
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