國學院大學
國學院大學デジタルミュージアム

Encyclopedia of Shinto

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カテゴリー1 4. Jinja (Shrines)
カテゴリー2 Shrine Architecture
Title
Text "Shrines for the protection of the nation," shrines dedicated to the spirits of individuals who died in Japanese wars from the end of the early modern period through World War II. Throughout most of the prewar period these shrines were known as shōkonsha or "spirit-inviting-shrines," but all shōkonsha (over one hundred) built since the Meiji period were renamed gokoku jinja in 1939 in accordance with a Home Ministry ordinance. The ordinance divided the shrines into two categories: "specially selected gokoku jinja" designated by the Home Ministry, and other undesignated gokoku jinja. The "designated" shrines were limited to one per prefecture in principle, and the enshrined spirits (saijin) were likewise limited to residents of their respecitve prefectures. Each shrine was staffed by one chief priest and several associate priests. None of the shrines were assigned ranks (shakaku) within the modern shrine ranking system (see kindai shakaku seido), yet the ministerially designated shrines received treatment as de facto "prefectural shrines," while the other, non-designated shrines were considered equivalent to "village shrines." Following Japan's defeat in World War II, the shrines were placed under strict observation by the occupation armies, and many of the shrines changed their names, though most have today reverted to their original names. Since the war's end, the shrines are no longer managed by the state and have followed the pattern of other shrines by registering themselves as religious juridical corporations and becoming independent religious corporations under the umbrella of the Association of Shinto Shrines (Jinja Honchō). In most cases, they have added individuals who have died in service to local public organizations to their lists of enshrined spirits. Tokyo's Yasukuni Jinja head shrine for gokoku jinja nationwide.
— Inoue Nobutaka
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Gokoku jinja