Naijin (Inner sanctuary of a shrine or a temple) (内陣)

The term "naijin" refers to a place where a honzon (a principal image of Buddha) is enshrined inside the hondo (main hall) of a temple, or where a shintai (an object of worship housed in a Shinto shrine and believed to contain the spirit of a deity) is enshrined inside the honden (main hall) of a shrine. It is in contrast with a "gejin" (outer place of worship for public people).

It is equivalent to "bema," or "chancel" in Christian church architecture.

Naijin in church architecture

The naijin (Greek word bema, chancel) in church architecture is an area located in the east end portion of a nave, and divided from the nave with a facade screen such as an iconostasis and a templon.

The naijin is an area where a high altar is enshrined, reserved for the clergy. In particular, the part containing the high altar is called the sanctum sanctorum.

The Greek word bema refers to a speaker's platform or a podium, and the bema, in the Orthodox Church, refers to an area in which a high altar is placed, and which is divided with an iconostasis. In Judaism, the bema is a platform from which the Pentateuch is read.

The chancel, derived from the Latin word cancellus, meaning the screen which separates the chancel from the nave, sometimes describes the whole area east of the crossing of a church in a broader sense. In early Christianity, the presbytery was located in the apse, functioning as a naijin, and in Western Europe, moving a main altar into the apse provided the space for the presbytery east of the square space (antechoir or choir square), so that the naijin contained all these areas. In the ninth century, the clergy and choir stalls were arranged in front of the presbytery, so that the naijin included that choir space, aisles, ambulatory corridors, and apsidal chapels.

[Original Japanese]