Also kosha. A devotional association or confraternity which meets for religious purposes, though this may be only an aspect of the group's activities. For example, the ko may be essentially an age-mate social group formed of people born in the same year. Numerous ko beginning locally have developed into new religious movements over time. Nowadays many shrines have an office to recruit members to their ko during visits to the shrine, so that ko members may come from a wide area, including overseas Japanese communities. Traditional communities in Japan often had a number of ko devoted to various kami, Buddhist figures or Taoist deities, regarding all these as part of the same spiritual world. The anthropologist Hori, Ichiro in his study of Satoyamabe village, Nagano, found in addition to various shrines, temples, statues, iwai-den, stupas, and a multitude of other elements which provided a focus for religious devotion, the following ko: Koshin-ko, Nembutsu-ko, Ise-ko, Akiba-ko, Nijusan-ya-ko, Kannon-ko, Yama-no-kami-ko and Kinoene-ko.

A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. .

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