This Shinto administrative hierarchy was an intentional mirror of its Chinese counterpart, the Ministry of Rites (禮部). The Jingi-kan was charged with oversight of Shinto clergy and rituals for the whole country. It was headed by the Jingi-haku (神祇伯?). From the 10th century to the 15th, the Shirakawa Hakuo family held this position continuously.
In feudal Japan, the Jingi-kan became the final surviving building of the Heian Palace. During the Jōkyū War in 1221, most of the palace was evacuated and fell into disrepair; the Jingi-kan alone remained in operation. A 1624 memoir by a Jingi-haku reports that the Jingi-kan was still being used as late as 1585 and was demolished during renovations. In 1626, a temporary building was constructed to perform additional ceremonies.
It was reinstated in 1869 with the onset of the Meiji period, but was quickly replaced with a more "modern" system paralleling Western institutions. A system of regular offerings (hōhei) to 3,132 kami enshrined across the nation was instituted.
- Breen, John and Mark Teeuwen (2000) Shinto in History: Ways of the Kami, p. 47., p. 47, at Google Books
- Ponsonby-Fane, Richard Arthur Brabazon (1956). Kyoto: the Old Capital of Japan, 794-1869. Kyoto: Ponsonby Memorial Society. p. 50.
- Ueda Kenji "Concepts of Emperor and the State." Encyclopedia of Shinto; retrieved 2011-08-22
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