What is a shrine organization?

What is a shrine organization?

When you actually visit a shrine, you may see people wearing traditional clothes working. They have their own names and fulfill their respective duties in a neat organization to maintain and develop it. It may be seen in other religions, but a shrine has a well-established system as a religion, and we can visit it with peace of mind because of their solid work. Here this article would like to introduce the organization of the shrine.

The names of the people who work at a shrine

Workers at shrines are called Kannushi, or Shinshoku means a priest in Japanese and has the role of managing events like festivals and wedding ceremonies. They hold the qualifications as priests who are engaged in their shrine, including clerical work related to these events. And this Kannushi has classes, and it is necessary to have a qualification to be promoted. The scheme has been changed form throughout history, and both genders can become Kannushi as long as they meet requirements.

Work of the Kannushi

The main work of Kannushi is to connect people with the gods that are considered to be close to them. It is believed that ordinary people cannot interact with the gods easily even though they feel those are close to them, so Kannshi can use their unique abilities to mediate between gods and people.

Class of Kannushi

Introducing the ranks of Kannushi in this part. To hold these positions, they must be qualified for a priesthood, and they must graduate from a specialized school or be trained accordingly.

  • Guji (Chef Priest)
    The Guji is the chief priest in the priesthood and is in charge of organizing the priests at general shrines.
  • Gonguji (Deputy Representative)
    Gonguji is an assistant to the Guji, which is considered as the primary representative of a shrine. Gonguji is not engaged with all shrines, but it is involved with more significant shrines such as the Meiji Shrine.
  • Negi (Senior Priest)
    Negi is a position in the next rank of Gonguji and has a role in taking charge of the festivals in place of a higher level. Usually, they have the tasks of assisting the Guji with Gonguji.
  • Gonnegi (Authority)
    Gonnegi is the fourth rank from the top, one level lower than Negi. While only Guji and Negi are allowed to be placed in a single shrine, Gonnegi has no limit on the number of people that can be placed, so it has the role of actually executing the instructions from the upper-class workers.
  • Kujo (General Officer)
    Kujo is lower than Gonnegi and lowest among those introduced above, but it has a special duty. The reason is that it is only located at some specific shrines such as Ise Jingu and Atsuta Shingu, and it is not placed at all shrines. Festivals and events at these large shrines are holding a bigger size and hosting more visitors than most of the shrines. So Kujo is quite essential to function for these large shrines.

Kannushi has the roles of connecting people and the gods as experts. When actually visiting a shrine, it may be interesting to observe how they work, depending on their levels.

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