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Home » 3. Institutions and Administrative Practices » Medieval and Early Modern
Jingū tensō
A court post that handles miscellaneous matters involving the Grand Shrines of Ise (Ise jingū), including ritual procedures, public ceremonies, and lawsuits. From the Heian period on, agencies were established within the Grand Council of State to process specific administrative duties. Since the Imperial Jingū Messenger (jingū tensō) also took charge of administrative duties involving the Grand Shrines of Ise, the post was highly likely to have been created as such an agency. Ministers of State were initially appointed to the post but later this was often filled by a chief counselor of state (dainagon) from a Seiga ranked or lower-ranking family. His subordinates included Controllers (ben) and Recorders (shi ) who were in charge of the affairs of Ise . The post of jingū tensō was originally called Ise Noble (jingū shōkei), as seen in Kujō Kanezane's diary Gyokuyō in the entry for the eleventh day of the ninth month of 1175: "In days of old, a Grand Shrines of Ise Noble (Daijingū jōkei) was not appointed. When the Koga Chancellor served as Palace Minister in the reign of Emperor Horikawa, however, he was first told that he should handle the lawsuits involving Ise Jingū." Minamoto Masazane is thought to have been the first person ordered to administer and report on the lawsuits involving Ise during the Insei period (1086-1192). As stated in Gyokuyō, the post was originally limited to processing administrative matters involving Ise. However, Fujiwara Muneyoshi, who was appointed to the post in the reign of Emperor Nijō, began storing documents in chests and handling them with strict care, posting Shintō rite placards (shinjifuda) during tribunals and conducting ritual purification (kessai) before performing official duties. As a result, the very appointment to jingū jōkei came to be regarded as an integral part of Shintō ritual. A post accompanied by strict purification rites, the jingū tensō was frequently replaced if a close family relation met with misfortune or was defiled by pollution (kegare). Not a fixed practice by the Sengoku period, the ceremony to commemorate the jingū tensō's assumption of office became an annual event from the mid-Tokugawa period, held on the 11th day of the 1st month. On such occasion, it became customary for the jingū tensō to read aloud catalogs presented by the Supreme Priest of Ise jingū (jingū saishu) which detail restoration of the Kinensai, reinstatement of "shrine lands" (shinryō), and petitions from priests (shinshoku) for promotions in rank. Note from the medieval period that an Imperial Messenger (tensō) was established at the Upper and Lower Kamo Shrines (Kamo ryōsha), which the imperial court prized as the tutelary shrines of the Heian capital. The Kamo tensō performed duties nearly identical to those of the jingū tensō and, during the mid-Tokugawa period, he assumed his post on the 12th day of the 1st month. According to the Daigeki Moroshige ki, in 1374 during the Muromachi period, there existed a post called Kamo matsuri tensō. This post is highly likely to have been the predecessor of the Kamo tensō. In the late Muromachi period, the Kamo tensō became an established post.

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