The two essays I wrote about the Daijōsai for my Patreon are now available from Amazon. The Daijōsai is a ritual performed by a new Tennō soon after his accession, and it is performed in special halls that are built for the rite, and demolished immediately afterwards. It has traditionally been described as a secret rite, but it is not clear how much of it is actually secret now.
These two essays cover what we know about how the rite is performed today, and some of the most important theories and debates over the meaning of the ceremony.
Very enjoyable read. Thank you for putting this up like this! Your description of how a similar ceremony used to be performed at Jingu makes me think the doubling of the ritual may sort of symbolically symbolize the renewal of the Tenno’s reign with the ascension of the new Tenno. Maybe the first “round” is offered by the new Tenno in their capacity as an heir on behalf of their (originally probably deceased) predecessor, to round of the previous Tenno’s reign. The second round the Tenno offers on their own behalf. The bed may symbolically have been both a death bed and a place of giving birth.
In any case: generally speaking rituals are only more powerful if they’re mysterious.
Yes, mystery is a powerful factor, as is clear separation from the day-to-day. The Daijōsai scores well on both counts, so it is a very powerful ritual.
I’m glad you enjoyed the essays: more to come. (I’m aiming for one release per month, as that will ensure that I catch up, without encroaching too much on other things I need to do.)