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Daijosai 2019: The Emperor Naruhito show his respect and gratitude to Amaterasu Ohmikami

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Introduction

On 30th April 2019, Emperor Akihito gave up his throne. On the very next day, Naruhito, his son and former crown prince, acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne and became the 126th Emperor of Japan (Senso) and the new era Reiwa started.

And Emperor Naruhito declares his accession on 22th October 2019. (Sokui no Rei)

When a crown prince acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne, there are important 3 ceremonies to be held.

  1. Senso no gi 践祚の儀
  2. Sokui no Rei 即位の礼
  3. Daijo Sai 大嘗祭
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What is Daijosai? 大嘗祭とは?

Daijosai is the first Niinamesai the Emperor holds in his rein. Daijosai consists of Daijyokyu no Gi (大嘗宮の儀) and Daikyo no Gi (大饗の儀). The former is far important.

Niinamesai is a ritual held in every year in Shinkaden hall in the Imperial Place in Tokyo. In the ritual, the Emperor, as the highest-ranked Shinto priest, serve the rice and other crops and foods to a Deity (or Deities), and he eats the same kind of food as the Deity (or Deities) did. Daijosai is the same kind of ritual as Niinamesai.

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How does Daijosai take place? 大嘗祭はどのように行われるのか

Saiden Tentei no Gi 斎田定点の儀

On 13th March 2019, Saiden Tentei ni Gi took place in the Imperial Palace. In this ritual, priests decide where Yuki (the estern part of the archipelago) and Suki (the weastern part) region are. The Emperor uses the rice harvested there in Daijyosai.

Their decision depends on Kiboku (亀卜) fortune telling. In this ritual, the priests put plates made of sea turtle shell over fire. Then, the shell get crack to indicates Yuki and Suki region. The ritual is not open to public and we have no exact idea what it is. All we can know is it is a ritual found in Taiho Ritsuryo, the compilation of law enacted in 701.

The Kiboku decided Yuki is Takanezawa in Tochigi prefecture and Suki is Nantan in Kyoto prefecture. At the same time, rice paddy called Yukiden and Sukiden individually.

Nukiho no Gi 抜穂の儀

On 27th September 2019, Nukiho no Gi took place in both Yukiden (悠紀田) and Sukiden (主基田) to harvest rice served for Daijyokyu no Gi.

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How does Daijokyu no Gi take place? 大嘗の儀はどのように行われるのか

What is Daijyokyu? 大嘗とは?

Daijyokyu no Gi is the most important ritual in Daijosai.

Daijyokyu is a building complex temporary constructed for Daijyosai. On July 2019, the construction of Daijyokyu of Reiwa era started.

悠紀殿と主基殿

The integral part of Daijyokyu is Yukiden (悠紀殿) and Sukiden (主基殿). They sound the same as Yukiden and  Sukiden rice paddies but differ in meaning and Kanji. 田 means rice paddy and 殿 means hall/building. Both of the building has the same construction.

Yukiden Kyosen no Gi 悠紀殿供饌の儀

Yukiden Kyosen no Gi is a significant ritual as Sukiden Kyosen no Gi which takes place after Yukiden Kyosen no Gi. It is a ritual to welcome Amaterasu Ohomikami, the most admired Deity in Shinto and the ancestor of the emperor.

It will takes palace like this

  1. Around 18:30 on 14th November, the emperor will enter Yukiden. Inside of Yukiden, there is Obusuma, a place to sleep (Tatami mat and blanket). It is a pale where Amaterasu Ohomikami stays. Beside it, there are mats called Goza and Shinza. The emperor will be seated on Goza to serve rice harvested in Yukiden and Sukiden and other foods to Amaterasu Ohmikami on Shinza. He also serve Sake called Kuroki and Shiroki to her.
  2. He will read out Otsugebumi to show his gratitude for the peace of our country and good harvest to her.
  3. He will eats the same food as she did.

Sukiden Kyosen no Gi 主基殿供饌の儀

Sukiden Kyosen no Gi will take place around 0:30 on 15th November. In this ritual, the emperor will do the same things as he did in Yukiden Kyosen no Gi. It is a ritual to see off Amaterasu Ohomikami.

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Daikyo no Gi 大饗の儀とは?

Daikyo no Gi is a party. The Emperor and guests enjoy the meal including rice harvested in Yukiden and Sukiden. It will be held on 16th and 18th November.



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