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Home » 4. Jinja (Shrines) » Shrine Architecture
Beppyō jinja
Literally, "shrines on the exceptional list." A classification given to certain shrines by the Association of Shinto Shrines (Jinja Honchō) in consideration of the shrine's pedigree or activities. In accordance with Article 5 of the Association's Regulations for Promotion of Officers, a beppyō jinja is "a shrine to be listed on the exceptional list." Promotions and removals of the chief priests (gūji) and associate chief priests (gongūji) of beppyō jinja are not subject to the decision of the director of a local prefectural Shrine Association (Jinjachō). According to Article 13 of the same Regulations, the gūji and gongūji of a beppyō jinja must possess the clerical rank (see shinshoku kaii) of meikai or above, negi and acting gūji must possess the rank of seikai or above, and gonnegi must possess the rank of gonseikai or above.

First implemented in 1948, these regulations originally raised to the exceptional list only those shrines that had been ranked as nationally endowed shrines (kankokuheisha) under the prewar system. In 1951, however, a notice titled "Regarding the Conditions for Selection of Shrines to Be Added to the Exceptional List" was issued, thus providing concrete standards for the selection of such shrines. The conditions specified in the notice include (1) shrine pedigree; (2) condition of shrine buildings and other religious facilities within the shrine precincts (keidaichi); (3) number of priests employed; (4) economic conditions within the past three years; (5) activities of the shrine; and (6) number and distribution of parishioners and general shrine devotees. In this way, the number of shrines on the exceptional list gradually increased; as of 1993, the number was 347. It should be noted that the Grand Shrines of Ise are treated separately and not included on the exceptional list.

-Inoue Nobutaka
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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