Terauke shomon (寺請証文)

Terauke shomon was a certificate issued by Buddhist temples to danka (supporter of a Buddhist temple) in order to prove that they were actually the danka of the relevant temple under the Terauke seido (the system in which the public should be registered in any one of the designated temples to prove their Buddhist faith) in Edo period. Terauke shomon was also referred to as Teraukejo or Shushi tegata.

Under the danka seido (parishioner system), Shumon-Ninbetsu-Aratame-Cho (The Village People Register of Religious Faith and Relationship) was created every year based on the annual survey and declaration. Terauke shomon was issued in accordance with the Shumon-Ninbetsu-Aratame-Cho. When a person moved to a different place due to service, marriage or other reasons, the person's age, sex, the temple he or she belonged to and religious Doctrine were entered in the Terauke shomon and sent to the new danka temple along with the Okuri issatsu (expository writing) made by village officers as a procedure for relocation. The shomon sent from the original place of living to the new place was called Shushi Okuri (literally, letters of transmittal concerning his or her doctrines of a religious sect) or Tera Okurijo (literally, letters of transmittal by a temple), while the shomon sent from the new place to the original place to prove the identification of the person was called Hikitori issatsu.

[Original Japanese]