Bunrei (Branch Shrine for a Deity) (分霊)

The bunrei or wakamitawa is a term used in the Shinto religion that refers to a separated god or divine spirit when an enshrined deity of main shrine is dedicated to a different shrine. Transferring the separated spirit to a new shrine for chinsai (religious ceremony for appeasing the gods) is called kanjo. It is also called bunshi, but bunshi may mean bunsen (described below).

A branch shrine to which a divided enshrined deity has been transferred is called "Bunshi," "Bunsha," or "Imamiya."

In Shinto religion, the divine spirit can be divided without limitation because it is believed that the original spirit power is not weakened and performs the same functions as the main shrine.

In many kanjo cases, the deity is divided from the shrine from which the god originated and those shrines are called sohonsha or sohongu (head shrine). Many shrines that received a separated deity have their names related to the original shrine. The original shrine and branch shrines form a group of shrines. For example, the sohonsha (main shrine) of Inari-jinja Shrines is Fushimi Inari-jinja Shrine; most Inari-jinja Shrine received a deity separated from Fushimi Inari-jinja Shrine.
The sohonsha of Hachiman-jinja Shrine or Yawata-jinja Shrine is Usa-jingu Shrine
Hachiman-jinja Shrines or Yawata-jinja Shrines all over Japan received a deity from either Usa-jingu Shrine, Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine branched from Usa-jingu Shrine, or Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine a branch of Iwashimizu.

The word kanjo came from a Buddhist term, which meant requesting the teaching of Buddha and praying for saving all living things. In Japan, after the syncretization of Shinto with Buddhism it started to mean summoning the spirit of Shinto and Buddhist deities for praying and later it gradually changed to the current meaning.

The word of "bunki" may include the meaning of "bunsen," in which one deity from a number of enshrined gods is moved to a different place (An example of "bunsen": Itakiso-jinja Rekishi (History of Itakiso-jinja Shrine). In case of the bunrei, all enshrined deities are separated.

[Original Japanese]