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  • Japanese: 神祇官 (jingikan)

The Jingikan was the chief government organ in Asuka period through Heian period Japan which oversaw ritual matters. The term was also used by the Meiji government for its Ministry of Rites.

Classical Period

The Jingikan was headed by a Haku (伯), who was assisted by a number of officials including the Senior Assistant Head (Daifu 大副), Junior Assistant Head (Shōbu 少副), Senior Aide (Daiyū 大佑), Junior Aide (Shōyū 少佑), and Senior Recorder (Daishi 大史). Early on, many of these posts were filled by ritual specialists from the Korean peninsula.[1]

Among the many responsibilities held by the officials of the Jingikan was to oversee state rituals. Herman Ooms has suggested there were thirteen major annual state rituals in the classical period. Four of these concerned agriculture. These were the harvest prayers performed at Toshigoi festival (2/4), Tsukinami festival (6/11 and 12/11), and Niiname festival (11th month). The remaining state rituals included state funerals, imperial accession ceremonies, and rituals performed in order to protect the emperor, the capital, and the state from disease, fire, and evil spirits.[1]

Meiji Period

The modern Ministry of Rites was officially established on 1868/3/13, and all Shinto shrines and Shinto priests were placed under its authority at that time.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Evelyn Rawski, Early Modern China and Northeast Asia: Cross-Border Perspectives, Cambridge University Press (2015), 117.