Local Society and the Temple-Parishioner Relationship within the Bakufu's Governance Structure

Fumio Tamamuro
2001 Japanese Journal of Religious Studies  
TAMAMURO Fumio 'ÑkÍ The danka (temple parishioner) system was originally established as a component of the bakufu's policy of suppressing Christianity, but by 1700 it had become a government-instituted and temple-run system to monitor and control the populace as a whole. Through the issuance of certi³cates of temple registration, Buddhist temples participated in this system and bene³ted from having a stable parish membership and ³nancial base. Once parishioners had become af³liated and
more » ... liated and registered through a particular temple, neither they nor their descendants were able to change sectarian af³liations, except through marriage. Ideally, for the clergy, this hereditary temple-parishioner relationship required both ritual and ³duciary responsibilities on the part of the danka. Danka were obligated to participate in and pay for funeral and memorial rites that became a standardized funerary ritual system during the Edo period. The danka were also required to ³nancially contribute to temple fundraising campaigns for new construction or sectarian anniversaries. This essay examines the process of how the danka system developed within the bakufu's governance structure, the role of the Buddhist temples and priests in maintaining this structure, and how the danka system actually took form in local society. Using newly discovered local temple documents, this essay will also deal with cases in which parishioners tried to break their customary ties to their family temple.
doi:10.18874/jjrs.28.3-4.2001.261-260 fatcat:eksjkv3mb5hfzny3hgnaagire4