Jingisho (The Ministry of Divinities) (神祇省)

Jingisho (the Ministry of Divinities) was a government organization which replaced the old jingikan (Department of Divinities) that had existed since the first days of the ritsuryo system, as the agency ruling the religious services and public administration of jingi (Divinities); it was established on September 22, 1871 and lasted until April 21, 1872.

The Department of Divinities had been considered superior, at least pro forma, to the daijokan (the Grand Council of State), and hence by the comparison the Ministry of Divinities may seem to have suffered a demotion given the fact that it was created as one arm of and under the daijokan, but in actuality Japan, under the principles laid out in the Imperial Edict (of 1870) for Establishment of Shinto, had embraced a theocratic form of government (saisei itchi, or "the unity of church and state") under the Emperor; consequently, the Ministry of Divinities had been created to strengthen the government's ability to participate in religious matters in order to achieve the objective of making Shinto the national religion of Japan. The position of Minister of Divinities was never established, but Bisei FUKUBA was appointed as the Senior Assistant Director of Divinities.

Following the creation of the Ministry of Divinities, a mere six months later its name was changed to kyobusho (Ministry of Religion) in order to disseminate further the Imperial Edict (of 1870) for the Establishment of Shinto through the efforts of the senkyoshi (Shinto missionaries) who had been established in the final days of the Department of Divinities; the religious services of the Imperial Court were separated from this Ministry's jurisdiction and placed under the control of the shikiburyo (Bureau of Rites) of the Imperial Household Agency.

[Original Japanese]