Association of Shinto Shrines
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The Association of Shinto Shrines (神社本庁? Jinja Honchō) is a religious administrative organisation that oversees about 80,000 Shinto shrines in Japan. These shrines take the Ise Grand Shrine as the foundation of their belief.
The Association has five major activities, in addition to numerous others:
- Publication and dissemination of information on Shrine Shinto
- The performance of rituals;
- Education of adherents to Shinto;
- Reverence of Ise Grand Shrine and the distribution of its amulets; and
- Preparation and training of individuals for the Shinto priesthood.
It currently has an administrative structure including a main office and branches. Its headquarters in Yoyogi, Shibuya, Tokyo, adjacent to Meiji Shrine. Its leadership includes the Sosai (総裁?), the head priestess of the Ise Shrine, presently Atsuko Ikeda. The tōri (統理?) is Kuniaki Kuni, and the post of sōchō (総長?) or Secretary-General is currently held by Masami Yatabe, the chief priest of the Mishima Shrine. The Association maintains regional offices in every prefecture. They handle financial and personnel matters for member shrines.
The Association was established following the Surrender of Japan at the end of World War II. On 15 December 1945, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) issued the Shinto Directive, ordering the Disestablishment of Shinto as a state religion. On February 2, 1946, to comply with the SCAP order, three organizations – the Kōten Kōkyūjo (皇典講究所?), Dainippon Jingikai (大日本神祇会?), and Jingū Hōsaikai (神宮奉斎会?) – established the nongovernmental Association, assuming the functions of the Jingi-in, a branch of the Home Ministry.
The Association has many contacts within the Liberal Democratic Party and is a successful lobbyist; its influence can be seen in recent conservative legislation, like the legal recognition of the National Flag (Hinomaru) and National Anthem (Kimigayo), their use for official school events, or the revision of Fundamental Education Law, and it is behind some actions by conservative politicians, like visits to Yasukuni Shrine by Junichirō Koizumi, the Prime Minister of Japan. 
This article incorporates material in 神社本庁 (Jinja Honchō) in the Japanese Wikipedia, retrieved on January 27, 2008.