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Home » 6. Belief and Practice » Associations and Organizations
Jinin
After the end of the ancient period, and mainly in the case of medieval shrines, this term referred to a member of the kannushi's or gūji (chief priest)'s shrine workers. This was the name for the attendants or low level shrine priests responsible for religious or administrative duties and various other tasks. It is also pronounced jinnin. Because they were often used as guards or as ceremonial guards in rituals they carried weapons and so from the time of the cloistered emperors up until the Muromachi period, just as in the case of warrior monks (sōhei), there are numerous recordings of their rebellious violence and their forceful petitions (gōso). Additionally, groups of artisans and artists subordinate to the shrine were also included in the jinin, and eventually, with the shrine as the home base, there were many commercial, industrial, and artist guilds organized by the jinin. Also, along with the main shrine jinin under the shrine's direct control, there were dispersed jinin who were estate officials stationed on the shrine lands (shinryō); that is, jinin who made up a class of the landlord's appointed resident managers. The latter group became the main force behind the jinin's military activities. The following list includes the whereabouts of remarkable jinin and their activities. First, there were the Hiyoshi Shrine jinin from Hiyoshi Shrine in Ōmi (today's Hiyoshi Taisha). They operated with the backing of Enryakuji on Hieizan, and while conducting their religious duties, they also operated businesses centered on the Kyoto and Ōmi regions which included a transport enterprise for tribute rice and making loans to the magistrates of the various provinces and even persons connected to the retired emperors. Conducting a high interest loan business they continued to grow in power until they had become the main force in high finance enterprises of the capital. Then, from the middle of the Heian period there were the Horikawa jinin who lived together in Horikawa in Kyoto's Gojō area. They belonged to Gion Shrine (presently Yasaka Shrine) and throughout the medieval period they were active as lumber traders. The lumber which they transported from the Tamba mountains by floating it down the Hozu river they also stored in Gojō Horikawa, and in the Muromachi period the lumber guild was then formed there. Also at the Gion shrine, there were low ranking subordinated jinin who were called "Dog jinin" (inu jinin). Besides cleansings for the shrine and the role of escorts for the yamahoko floats in the procession of the Gion Shrine, they also received expanded privileges though out all areas of the city regarding cleansing and funeral attendance. Iwashimizu jinin were grouped by their basic shrine affiliations; among the jinin affiliated with the main shrine were the Kisaichi district osakibarai jinin (ritual guards who precede the procession), yodo no kaisoe (procession attendants from Yodo), umazoi (attendants who accompany the horses in the procession), mihoko jinin (standard bearers) and mitsunabiki jinin (in charge of pulling the boats carrying the procession across the river Yodogawa), Matsui mihata jinin (flag bearer), Shimotoba komagata jinin (a group of male youths riding on stick horses), Yamazaki kyōchō jinin, Okunoe katō jinin (lantern bearers), Shimo Nara shishi jinin (lion dancers), among others. They had the Yodo fish market monopoly rights, land and water transportation rights, and horse trading rights, as well as other such rights. Ōyamazaki jinin belonging to the branch shrine (massha) Rikyū Hachiman held special enterprise privileges in the perilla oil guild. Then, among the Kasuga jinin there were the main shrine jinin called "yellow clothes jinin" and there were the dispersed jinin called "white clothes jinin" and "white people jinin."

— Sano Kazufumi
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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