Modern system of ranked Shinto shrines
The modern system of ranked Shinto shrines (近代社格制度, Kindai Shakaku Seido, sometimes called simply shakaku (社格)) was an organizational aspect of the establishment of Japanese State Shinto. This system classified Shinto shrines as either official government shrines or "other" shrines. The official shrines were divided into
- Imperial shrines (kampeisha), which are parsed into minor, medium, or major sub-categories; and
- National shrines (kokuheisha), which are similarly categorized as minor, medium, or major.
On the fourteenth day of the fifth month of 1871, by decree of the Dajō-kan, the fundamental elements of the modern shrine system were established: a hierarchic ranking of Shinto shrines, with specification of the grades of priest who could officiate at the various levels of shrine. These rankings were set aside in 1946, when such rankings were deemed "State Shinto" by the Occupation Shinto Directive. The Jinja Honcho currently has a slightly different List of Special Shrines (別表神社, beppyo jinja).
The Kan-sha (官社) or "official government shrines" had two subdivisions, Kanpei-sha or "government shrines" and Kokuhei-sha or "national shrines".
In 1871, the Kanpei-sha (官幣社) identified the hierarchy of government-supported shrines most closely associated with the imperial family. These shrines venerated by the imperial family. This category encompasses those sanctuaries enshrining emperors, imperial family members, or meritorious retainers of the Imperial family.
Imperial shrines, 1st rankEdit
The most highly ranked Imperial shrines or Kanpei-taisha (官幣大社) encompassed 67 sanctuaries.
Imperial shrines, 2nd rankEdit
The mid-range of ranked Imperial shrines or Kanpei-chūsha (官幣中社) included 23 sanctuaries.
Imperial shrines, 3rd rankEdit
The lowest ranked among the Imperial shrines or Kanpei-shōsha (官幣小社) were five sanctuaries.
|Ōkunitama jinja.||Fuchū, Tokyo||Musashi no Ōkuni-tama-no-kami|
|Shigaumi jinja.||Higashi-ku, Fukuoka||Uwatsutsunoo-no-mikoto, Kakatsutsunoo-no-mitoko, Sokotsutsunoo-no-mikoto|
|Sumiyoshi Jinja.||Hakata-ku, Fukuoka||Uwatsutsunoo-no-mikoto, Kakatsutsunoo-no-mitoko, Sokotsutsunoo-no-mikoto; ichinomiya of Chikuzen Province|
|Naminoue jinja.||Naha, Okinawa||Hayatama-no-o, Izanami, Kotosaka-no-o-no-mikoto; ichinomiya of Ryūkyū|
Other Imperial shrinesEdit
In addition to the officially ranked Imperial shrines, a further grouping of Bekkaku kanpeisha (別格官幣社), special shrines that fell outside this ranking system, was created at a later date.
The Kokuhei-sha (国幣社) identified the hierarchy of government-supported shrines with national significance. The kokuheisha enshrined kami considered beneficial to more local areas.
National shrines, 1st rankEdit
The most highly ranked, nationally significant shrines or Kokuhei Taisha (国幣大社) were six sanctuaries.
|Keta Shrine||Hakui, Ishikawa||ichinomiya of Noto Province|
|Nangū Taisha||Tarui, Gifu||ichinomiya of Mino Province|
|Tado Shrine||Kuwana, Mie|
|Kumano Shrine (Matsue)||Matsue, Shimane||ichinomiya of Izumo Province|
|Ōyamazumi jinja||Imabari, Ehime||ichinomiya of Iyo Province|
|Kōra taisha||Kurume, Fukuoka||ichinomiya of Chikugo Province|
National shrines, 2nd rankEdit
The mid-range of ranked, nationally significant shrines or Kokuhei Chūsha (国幣中社) encompassed 47 sanctuaries.
National shrines, 3rd rankEdit
The lowest ranked, nationally significant shrines or Kokuhei Shōsha (国幣小社) includes 50 sanctuaries.
The Sho-sha (諸社) or various smaller shrines ranking below these two levels of Kan-sha ("official government shrines") are commonly, though unofficially, referred to as "people's shrines" or Min-sha (民社). These lower-ranking shrines were initially subdivided by the proclamation of the fourteenth day of the fifth month of 1871 into four main ranks, "Metropolitan", "Clan" or "Domain", "Prefectural", and "District" shrines. By far the largest number of shrines fell below the rank of District shrine. Their status was clarified by the District Shrine Law (郷社定則, Gōsha Teisoku) of the fourth day of the seventh month of 1871, in accordance with which "Village shrines" ranked below their respective "District shrines", while the smaller local shrines or Hokora ranked beneath the "Village shrines".
"Metropolitan shrines" were known as Fu-sha (府社). At a later date, the "Prefectural shrines" were classed together with the "Metropolitan shrines" as "Metropolitan and Prefectural Shrines" or Fuken-sha (府県社).
Clan or Domain shrinesEdit
"Prefectural shrines" were known as Ken-sha (県社). At a later date, the "Prefectural shrines" were classed together with the "Metropolitan shrines" as "Metropolitan and Prefectural Shrines" or Fuken-sha (府県社).
"District shrines" were known as Gō-sha (郷社).
"Village shrines" were known as Son-sha (村社) and ranked below their respective "District shrines", in accordance with the District Shrine Law of 4 July 1871.
Hokora or Ungraded shrinesEdit
Small local shrines known as Hokora (祠) are ranked beneath the village shrines, in accordance with the District Shrine Law of 4 July 1871. At a later date, shrines beneath the rank of "Village shrines" were classed as "Ungraded shrines" or Mukaku-sha (無格社).
New shrines were established and existing shrines promoted to higher ranks at various dates, but a 1903 snapshot of the 193,297 shrines in existence at that time saw the following:
- Imperial shrines: 95
- National shrines: 75
- Metropolitan and prefectural shrines: 571
- District shrines: 3,476
- Village shrines: 52,133
- Ungraded shrines: 136,947
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- Kamakura-gū: Kamakura, Kanagawa = Kamakura in Sagami province
- Iinoya-gū:Kita-ku, Hamamatsu = Iya in Tōtōmi province.
- Yatsushiro Shrine: Yatsushiro, Kumamoto = Yatsushiro in Higo province
- Umenomiya Shrine: Ukyō-ku, Kyoto = Umetsu in Yamashiro province
- Kanasana Shrine: Kamikawa, Saitama = Aoyagi in Musashi province.
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- Kanegazaki Shrine: Tsuruga, Fukui = Tsuruga in Echizen province
- Nagata Shrine: Nagata-ku, Kobe = Kobe in Settsu province.
- Sumiyoshi Shrine: Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi = Katsuyama in Nagato province
- Kumano Nachi Taisha: Nachikatsuura, Wakayama = Nachi in Kii province; n.b., Kii Province (紀伊国, Kii no Kuni) = Kishū (紀州), was a province of Honshū in Wakayama Prefecture and Mie Prefecture.
- Itakeso Shrine: Wakayama, Wakayama = Nishiyama Higashimura in Kii province; n.b., Kii Province (紀伊国, Kii no Kuni) = Kishū (紀州)
- Mikami Shrine: Yasu, Shiga = Mikamimura in Ōmi province
- Ōkunitama jinja at Fuchū, Tokyo = Fuchū in Musashi province
- Shigaumi Shrine: Higashi-ku, Fukuoka = Fukuoka, Chikuzen province
- Sumiyoshi Shrine: Hakata-ku, Fukuoka = Fukuoka in Chikuzen province
- Kamado Shrine: Dazaifu, Fukuoka = Fukuoka in Chikuzen province
- Naminoe Shrine: Naha, Okinawa = Wakasa on Okinawa Island in the Ryukyu Kingdom
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