Chief priest of a shrine. The highest grade of Shinto priest apart from the saishu at Ise. After the Meiji restoration the hereditary role of guji was abolished at a number of major shrines including the Ise jingu, Hie taisha, Kasuga taisha, Suwa taisha, Kamo-wake-ikazuchi-jinja and others, and the guji were thenceforth appointed by the government. However in many shrines the role of guji remains in practice hereditary. A guji may be responsible for a single shrine or several (even as many as thirty) small shrines. Guji enjoyed relatively high social status from the Meiji restoration to 1945. In most shrines, except for the very large ones, the role of guji or kannushi is a part-time occupation.
   See Shinshoku.

A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. .

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