Shake is a Japanese social class.
Shake is a family (clan) that has had hereditary Shinto priesthood for generations.
With the collapse of the Ritsuryo system (a legal and administrative system based on Confucianism and Chinese law), more and more Shinto priests passed their position on to their sons. In 1871, because of various negative effects, heredity priesthood was abolished by an edict from the Dajokan (Grand Council of State). However, when shrines and the priesthood were removed from government control after World War II, former Shake families and the descendants of those who became Shinto priests after the Meiji period increasingly passed on their positions through inheritance. Today, such families are also called Shake.
Historically well-known Shake are listed below.
Saishu (Head priest)
The Fujinami family
Guji (Chief priest)
The Kawabe clan
Naiku-shishoku (a priest for the inner shrine)
The Arakida clan
Geku-shishoku (a priest for the outer shrine)
The Watarai clan
Kashima-jingu Shrine, Katori-jingu Shrine and Kasuga Taisha Shrine
The Nakatomi clan and the Onakatomi clan
The Itozu clan and the Miyanari clan (Usanokuni no Miyatsuko)
Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine
The Onishi clan
Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine
The Tsumori clan
Izumo Taisha Shrine
The Senge clan and the Kitajima clan (Izumonokuni no Miyatsuko)
-- The Ono clan
Mononobe-jinja Shrine (Oda City)
The Kaneko clan (Iwaminokuni no Miyatsuko)
The Takahashi clan
The Urabe clan (Yoshida family)
Kamowakeikazuchi-jinja Shrine (Kamigamo-jinja Shrine) and Kamomioya-jinja Shrine (Shimogamo-jinja Shrine)
The Kamo clan
Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine
The Juge clan and the Shogenji clan
The Senshu clan
Suwa Taisha Shrine
The Suwa clan, the Kanasashi clan and the Moriya clan
Hinokuma-jingu Shrine and Kunikakasu-jingu Shrine
The Ki clan (Kiinokuni no Miyatsuko)
The Aso clan (Asonokuni no Miyatsuko)
Shake-machi (Shake town)
Shake usually had a house near the shrine that they served, and districts where several Shake families lived were called 'Shake-machi.'
In modern-day Japan, 'Shake-machi' and 'Shake' are used in many place names all over country, most of which are districts where there used to be Shake-machi.
Famous Shake-machi areas
Kamigamo District, Kyoto City
Takabatake-cho Area, Nara City
Kasuga Taisha Shrine
Manai Shake-dori Street, Izumo City
Izumo Taisha Shrine