Document 1: Ministry of Divinities (Jingi-shō) Edict

During the Tokugawa era (1615-1867), people affiliated with shrines, be they shrine attendants or laborers, were governed by those shrines, and were not under the administration of any warrior officials. They did not register at temples, as was mandatory for others in Tokugawa Japan. With the establishment of the Family Registry (koseki) system in 1872, all members of the household had to share and adopt a surname if they did not previously have one. For those affiliated with shrines, they were removed from that jurisdiction and registered as part of a koseki.

The Shimogamo and other shrines had been governed by the Bureau of Ritual Affairs (Jingi-kan). This office oversaw the persecution of many Buddhist temples and the separation of shrines from temples. It was revitalized to govern all shrines of Japan, oversee the performance of Shintō rites, and coordinate the distribution of offerings (heihaku) to shrines. The period of this institution’s heyday (1868-71) witnessed the persecution of Buddhism, the separation of ritual and architectural links between “foreign” temples and “native” shrines, and the destruction of temples in various regions. This bureau was dissolved in 1871, and replaced by Jingi-shō, or Ministry of Divinities. Document one, issued by the newly established Ministry of Divinities in the first month of 1872, released Suzuki Gentoku, from his official shrine duties.








The thatch-roofer (hiwada-kō) Suzuki Gentoku of Kamo Mioya shrine is hereby exempt from shrine duties.

First month, eighth day, Mizu no esaru (1872)

Jingishō (The Ministry of Divinities)