Hachimangu sect at odds over successor
The Yomiuri Shimbun
Usa Jingu shrine, the Usa, Oita Prefecture-based parent body for more than 40,000 Shinto shrines dedicated to the Hachimanjin deity, has been at odds with the Association of Shinto Shrines (Jinja Honcho) over who should be the chief priest of the sect's principal shrine.
Usa Jingu's chief priest had been a hereditary post of the Itouzu family, but the Tokyo-based Jinja Honcho appointed Nobuhisa Anai, 60, to the post in February, because the position had been vacant since August.
Anai had been the head of the association's Oita prefectural chapter and chief priest at Taki Jinja shrine in Kusumachi, Oita Prefecture.
But Yoshiko Itouzu, eldest daughter of the current family and deputy chief priest, the No. 2 post, of Usa Jingu, opposed the decision, saying the association was attempting to deprive her of control of the shrine.
She notified the association, which had announced the appointment, of her withdrawal from the organization.
Since the Nanbokucho period (1336-1392), members of the Itouzu family or the Miyanari family had been the only ones to ascend to the post of chief priest of Usa Jingu. Since the end of World War II, only members of the Itouzu family had inherited the post.
In May 2006, Kiminari Itouzu, then chief priest of Usa Jingu, fell sick, before passing away in January this year. Kimihiko Ikenaga, chief priest of Komo Jinja shrine in Nakatsu, Oita Prefecture, had close ties with Usa Jingu and temporarily assumed its chief priest post.
Ikenaga took the post as a proxy for Yoshiko Itouzu, who had a relatively short career as a Shinto priest.
But because Ikenaga also was in poor health, in July, the Usa Jingu board of directors petitioned Jinja-Honcho to appoint Yoshiko Itouzu as the shrine's chief priest.
But according to Anai, Jinja-Honcho judged that "Ms. Yoshiko Itouzu became a deputy chief priest at an unprecedentedly quick pace, and that she should gain more experience."
The association assigned Anai to the Usa Jingu chief priest posting for a three-year term as a special appointment, a decision that was opposed by the Itouzu family.
Usa Jingu's board of directors issued a new resolution naming Yoshiko as chief priest, and on Feb. 28 submitted a letter to Jinja-Honcho stating the shrine would leave the association.
The Religious Corporations Law stipulates that for a shrine to leave Jinja-Honcho, its board of directors including the representative of the members--the chief priest in Usa Jingu's case--need to vote in favor of such a decision.
(Mar. 13, 2009)
ところで、” Hachimangu sect”ってどうなの？ 法律上は独立の宗教法人なのだろうけど、神社は普通にいう教団ではないだろう。神道には神社神道と教派神道の区別あり。また、日本では例えば天台宗とか浄土宗の「宗」を機械的にSectと訳す傾向があるが、そもそもsectという言葉は、基督教世界において、普遍的な正統性を主張するカトリック教会、または国教会の存在を前提とし、それに対して普遍性・正統性において挑戦しようとするプロテスタント系の教派を意味していた筈だ。だから、国教会制度を否定している米国には適用できない。日本佛教においては、国家佛教体制が崩壊した中世以降ではsectという言葉が当てはまる余地はない筈。ただ、日蓮宗や浄土真宗はその排他性からchurchを指向したsectといえるかも知れない。また、明治以降の大日本帝国憲法体制では、Mikado Cultを軸とした国家神道体制がchurchとして君臨していたので、その正統性に挑戦する大本教などをsectと呼ぶことには妥当性があるだろう。