Jisha denso (寺社伝奏)

Jisha denso was a post placed in the Kuge (court nobles) Government in the medieval period and modern times. It was denso who relayed petitions from specific temples and shrines to the retired Emperor or the Emperor.

The word 'denso' had been established after the late Heian period but the post was established during Emperor Gosaga's insei period (during the period of the government by the retired Emperor) in the Kamakura period. Denso was appointed by In (the retired Emperor) or the Emperor and dealt with all petitions except ones managed by Kanto moshitsugi (court-appointed liaison with the bakufu [Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun]). However, after Ex-emperor Gofushimi's era, when many temples and shrines were restored, the official duties of the denso were broken into smaller and denso who relayed between the retired Emperor or the Emperor and specific temples and shrines which occupied nationally important positions was established. Jingutenso' (shrine messenger to the Emperor) of Ise Jingu Shrine, 'Kamo-denso' (Kamo shrine messenger to the Emperor) of Kamo-sha Shrine, 'Sanmon-denso' (Enryaku-ji Temple messenger tothe Emperor) of Enryaku-ji Temple, 'Nanto-denso' which controlled temples in Nara such as Kofuku-ji Temple, and others were established. During the period of the Northern and Southern Courts, as real power of the government affairs moved from the Imperial Court to bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), the denso's duty changed to relaying petitions from temples and shrines to the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun during the Muromachi period) and Seitaishogun (commander-in-chief of the expeditionary force against the barbarians, great, unifying leader) although appointment and dismissal were still done by In and the Emperor. As a result, jisha denso also had a function in the bakufu. It was the same way that so denso which was in charge of civil administration shifted to the role of buke tenso established instead of Kanto moshitsugi. However, after Onin war, the jisha denso became a messenger for In or the Emperor again since political power of the Muromachi bakufu weakened. In the Edo period, they relayed petitions from temples and shrines through buke tenso to In or the Emperor and in some cases, to the Edo bakufu under the supervision of the buke denso. Moreover, they started to receive petitions not only from specific important temples and shrines but also from small temples and shrines of each sect. However, in sects (such as Hosso sect, Tendai sect, Shingon sect and so on) which monzeki (successor of a temple) was placed, petitioning the Emperor was performed through monzeki, and in small temples and shrines, it was done by the Yoshida family or the Shirakawa family. In addition, jisha tenso held the post of buke denso concurrently in sects (Shingi Shingon sect Buzan-ha [ha means group], Rinzai sect Gozan-ha, Jodo sect, Jodo Shingon sect Hongan-ji Temple-ha and so on) which were protected carefully by the Edo bakufu.