- Branch shrine. Subsidiary shrine. A shrine established in dependent and tributary relationship to a main or original shrine. Branch shrines might be established because a clan migrated with its tutelary deity, or devotees of a particular shrine moved to a new area, or a landholding was dedicated to the deity of a main shrine. A branch shrine is normally established by introducing a bun-rei 'part-spirit' or 'divided spirit' of the primary kami into the new shrine. Major shrines with priestly lineages such as those of Inari, Tenjin, Kasuga, Kompira, Munakata, Suwa, Izumo and Hachiman have networks of sometimes thousands of branch shrines developed over hundreds of years. Bunsha in the form of massha etc. are also included within the precincts of most shrines. See jinja.
A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. Brian Bocking.
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