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Home » 4. Jinja (Shrines) » Shrine Architecture
"Jointly administered shrine," a shrine lacking its own parish priest and served by a priest belonging to another shrine. This system is an inevitable result of the fact that the number of Shinto shrines far outstrips the number of available professional priests, and the fact that it is frequently difficult for priests to survive economically on the income from a single shrine alone. At any rate, few shrines were originally served by permanent priests, with the result that the term "jointly administered shrine" only takes on real meaning from the Meiji period, when a uniform system of shrine administration was established nationwide.

At present, the Association of Shinto Shrines (Jinja Honchō) has some 79,000 shrines under its aegis, with a registered membership of only approximately 20,600 priests. When one considers that a single large shrine may have upwards of ten clergy, at least 59,000 shrines must be jointly administered. Day-to-day management of such shrines is undertaken by associations of parishioners (ujiko) and local devotees (sūkeisha).

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