Terauke Seido (寺請制度)

Terauke seido was a system introduced in 1664, during the early modern age, by the Edo shogunate in order to ban Christianity and the belief of Fujufuse Group (Not Receive and Not Give Group), and to force the believers to convert. Terauke seido was also called danka seido or jidan seido.

Specifically, it was the system that had every person obtain the certification of their Buddhist faith from a temple. The establishment of terauke seido forced the public to choose a certain temple as their bodaiji (family temple) and to become danka (supporters of the temple). Temples made up Shumon ninbetsu cho (religious census register), which is today's family register, and the public needed to obtain a deed called Terauke shomon (certificate of a Buddhist temple) when they set out on their travels or changed to different residences. With the system thus introduced, every household had its Buddhist altar and made it a custom to invite a Buddhist priest to its Buddhist memorial service, which assured the temple of obtaining believers and, to a certain degree, money.

Meanwhile, the system obliged the temple to give religious instructions to its believers, and had the Buddhist organizations play a role in the regime of the Edo shogunate. With the combined effect of terauke seido and honmatsu seido (the hierarchical system by which to control all temples), the Buddhist organizations suffered other religious setbacks as well. That is, their monpa (division of a Buddhist sect) and tatchu (minor temple), both of which had played the central role in their Buddhist activities, were reduced in their organizational function. Additionally, they were banned from propagating their teachings to the believers of other sects and from constructing new temples, so it became difficult for them to extend their influence.

[Original Japanese]