Kannushikannushi tree of savior, kannushi female
A kannushi 神主, "god master", originally pronounced kamunushi, also called shinshoku 神職, meaning god's employee, is the person responsible for the maintenance of a Shinto shrine 神社, jinja as well as for leading worship of a given kami1 The characters for kannushi are sometimes also read jinshu with the same meaning
Originally the kannushi were intermediaries between kami and could transmit their will to common humans2 A kannushi was a man capable of miracles or a holy man who, because of his practice of purificatory rites, was able to work as a medium for a kami Later the term evolved to being synonymous with shinshoku, that is, a man who works at a shrine and holds religious ceremonies there13
In ancient times, because of the overlap of political and religious power within a clan, it was the head of the clan who led the clansmen during religious functions, or else it could be another official3 Later, the role evolved into a separate and more specialized form The term appears in both the Kojiki 680 AD and Nihon Shoki 720 AD3 In them respectively, Empress Jungū and Emperor Suijin become kannushi2
Within the same shrine, for example at Ise Jingū or Ōmiwa Shrine, there can be different types of kannushi at the same time called for example Ō-kannushi 大神主, Sō-kannushi 総神主, or Gon-kannushi 権神主23A kannushi wearing a jōe accompanied by a miko
Kannushi can marry and their children usually inherit their position4 Although this hereditary status is no longer legally granted, it continues in practice5 The clothes they wear, for example the jōe, the ebōshi and the kariginu see photos, do not have any special religious significance, but are simply official garments used in the past by the Imperial court4 This detail reveals the close connection between kami worship and the figure of the Emperor4 Other implements used by kannushi include a baton called shaku and a wand decorated with white paper streamers shide called ōnusa Kannushi are assisted in their religious or clerical work by women called miko
To become a kannushi, a novice must study at a university approved by the Association of Shinto Shrines 神社本庁, Jinja Honchō, typically Tokyo’s Kokugakuin University, or pass an exam that will certify his qualification5 Women can also become kannushi and widows can succeed their husbands in their job5
- Miko, female equivalent
- ^ a b Kannushi in Japanese, Iwanami Kōjien 広辞苑 Japanese dictionary, 6th Edition 2008, DVD version
- ^ a b c Nishimuta, Takao 2007-03-28 "Kannushi" Encyclopedia of Shinto Kokugakuin Retrieved 2009-10-16
- ^ a b c d Moriyasu, Jin "Kannushi" Nihon Hyakka Zensho in Japanese Shogakukan Retrieved 2009-10-16
- ^ a b c Nishimura, Hajime 1998 A Comparative History of Ideas Motilal Banarsidass ISBN 978-81-208-1004-4
- ^ a b c "Shinshoku" Encyclopædia Britannica Online Retrieved 2009-10-16
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to kannushi|
- Kannushi, Encyclopedia of Shinto
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