Yengishiki (often spelled Engishiki or Engi-shiki), a document whose title is generally translated as some variation of “The Ordinances of Engi” or “The Procedures of the Engi Era,” is in part a Shinto text compiled during the reign of the Japanese emperor Daigo, who ruled from 897 to 930. One of the emperor’s ministers, Fujiwara no Tokihira, began compiling the text in 905. After the minister’s death in 909, the text was completed by his brother, Fujiwara no Tadahira, in 927. The ordinances were not implemented until 967.

The Yengishiki includes some fifty volumes of ordinances specifying how earlier Japanese legal codes, specifically the Konin-shiki of 820 and the Jogan-shiki of 871, were to be applied. Many of these codes dealt, for example, with succession to the throne as well as matters of criminal law (ritsu) and civil law (ryo). But about ten of the volumes deal with Shinto rituals, prayers (norito), and ceremonies connected with ascension to the throne. The excerpts...

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Gathering of gods at a Shinto shrine (Library of Congress)

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