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Japanese emperor Starts last Significant accession rite: spending the night with a goddess

Western Emperor Naruhito, dressed in white robes, was ushered to a dark wooden hallway by torchlight on Thursday night to begin his final significant accession rite after getting emperor this spring: spending the night with a goddess.

It’s the most populous spiritual of this collection of rituals indicating Naruhito’s taking over following his dad Akihito’s abdication.

Now scholars and the authorities say the rite involves sharing a meal of meals from around Japan to secure the emperor’s new position.

“This ritual is essentially a feast between the sun goddess and the emperor,” explained John Breen, professor in the International Research center for Japanese Studies, Kyoto, that notes that many coronations have mysterious elements.

“The emperor is changed by partaking of the feast.”

Preparations started months before, together with the building of a unique shrine compound inside the palace grounds and, afterward, the crop of rice out of two areas selected by heating a turtle shell and studying the pattern of fractures.


As an unseasonably warm night dropped over Tokyo courtiers in traditional robes started to collect and dignitaries, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, assembled at an outdoor pavilion.

Shortly after, in landscapes broadcast live by many tv channels, the emperor, protected by a Mayan tradition and preceded by courtiers holding torches, was ushered by shadowy wooden corridors. He had been followed closely by Empress Masako, in 12-layered snowy robes.

After evaporating behind white drapes into a dimly-lit area, kneeling by the side of stacked straw mats located in white, the emperor — followed only by 2 shrine maidens — started organizing offerings on 32 plates made from oak leaves to the sun goddess before bowing and praying to the peace of Japan.

The goddess had been put to symbolically discuss rice, millet, and rice before the approximately two-and-a-half-hour ritual finishes. It is going to then be replicated in another shrine construction, with everything completing about 3:00 a.m. on Friday.

Critics note that although a Daijosai existed over 1,000 decades back, the present ritual mostly took its kind from the late 1800s, as Japan sought to combine the country around the emperor.

Koichi Shin, 60 and head of a team suing to prohibit the ritual, stated the rite’s nationalistic underpinnings are just one reason for their resistance. Another is using public funds to point it a criticism echoed from the emperor’s younger brother, Crown Prince Akishino, who stated that the royal household’s capital should be utilized, mandating a more compact rite.

Shin said objections to the Daijosai along with other royal rites were fewer than in 1990, when Akihito ascended the throne, together with media coverage less crucial and fewer protests. In 1990, 1,700 people resisted the authorities in contrast to 318 at that moment.

“We do not expect fantastic outcomes,” Shin said.

“But we think that it’s important to use what we can to get across the notion that merging religion and say is not great.”