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David Chart

Yuki Region and Suki Region

Yesterday, one of the first rituals of the Daijōsai, the most important Shinto ceremony in the accession of a new Tennō, was performed in the Imperial Palace. This ritual is the choice, by divination, of the two regions that will supply the rice and millet that are offered at the Daijōsai. The Yuki region is to the east of the location where the Daijōsai is held, and the Suki region to the west. Today, that means Tokyo, but for over a thousand years it meant Kyoto. Until the Meiji Revolution,… Read More »Yuki Region and Suki Region

New Priests 2019

With the end of the Japanese academic year in March, Jinja Shinpō has published its normal analysis of newly graduated priests. This year, there were 256 altogether, of whom 61 were women. That is a slightly lower proportion than previous years, if I recall correctly. Of these, 65, including 20 women, found jobs outside Shinto. This is a serious problem for Shinto. Only the two universities give numbers for how many vacancies were reported to them, but there were 290 at Kokugakuin and 217 at Kōgakukan. I have no idea… Read More »New Priests 2019

Rites of Abdication and Accession

Two days ago, the Jōkō abdicated (sorry, “was deposed”), and yesterday the Tennō ascended to the Imperial dignity. There were, as you might expect, ceremonies involved. (“Jōkō” is the current title for the person who was Tennō until the end of April. It is a very traditional title for such people, and I think it was a good choice. The official English translation, on the other hand, is “Emperor Emeritus”, which I do not think was a good choice, so I will avoid translating “Jōkō” as well.) The abdication ceremony… Read More »Rites of Abdication and Accession

Deposing the Tennō

At midnight tonight, the Tennō will be deposed. Most western reports talk about his “abdication”, but legally, that is not what is happening. Legally, the Diet passed a law to depose the Tennō, and the Tennō signed it (not that he had any choice). It is happening this way because, under the Constitution, the Tennō has no legal power at all, and may not influence any political or legislative events. The status of the Tennō is defined in the Constitution, and is thus one of the things that the Tennō… Read More »Deposing the Tennō

The Tennō at Jingū

On the 18th of this month, the Tennō and Kōgō (the Emperor and Empress) visited Jingū at Isë, and paid their respects at the Gekū and Naikū. The purpose of the visit was to inform the kami of the Tennō’s upcoming abdication, on the 30th of this month. As the main kami of the Naikū, Amaterasu Ōmikami, is, according to myth, the ancestor of the Tennō, important events in the Imperial family are always formally announced to the kami. This includes such things as foreign trips, but for relatively minor… Read More »The Tennō at Jingū

The Sword and the Jewel

The accession of the next Tennō is getting very close; it will happen at the end of this month and the beginning of next. Given the importance of the Tennō to the Shinto establishment, at least, it should come as no surprise that they are putting a lot of effort into preparing for the event, and ensuring, as far as they can, that it is celebrated appropriately. There are a lot of ceremonies associated with the succession, and while they start on April 30th, some of the most important ones,… Read More »The Sword and the Jewel