Encyclopedia of Shinto Kokugakuin University
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How to Become a Shinto Priest
The majority of Shinto priests are affiliated with the Association of Shinto Shrines (jinja honchō), meaning the most common way to formally become a Shinto priest, is to complete a training course established by the Association. For those who have not yet graduated high school, the most orthodox way is to matriculate into the Shinto departments of either Kōgakkan University or Kokugakuin University and complete the necessary curriculum. Those who have already received a university degree, may also re-enroll in these as well. There are both one-year and two-year programs at each. The special one-year major, however, requires receiving a recommendation from one of the prefectural-level Shrine Associations for admission and thus is usually not a realistic option for most. For those who are employed or middle-aged, there are also one-month training programs. Completion of such one-month training programs affords a relatively lower degree of training than completion of a degree at the higher education level, but this rarely presents a problem. Those who do not even have the time for one of those courses may also become a Shinto priest by taking and passing a certification test (administered by the Association of Shinto Shrines), but the level of proficiency necessary to pass is quite high.
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