Daijokyu-no-Gi, the centerpiece of the Daijosai ceremony related to the Emperor's enthronement, took place at Tokyo Imperial Palace from Thursday night until early Friday.
The emperor, who took the throne on May 11, offered freshly harvested grain to the gods to pray for abundant harvests and peace in the country. Daijokyu-no-Gi was held at Daijokyu, a collection of nearly 1 temporary buildings built on a site of about 40 square meters in the East Gardens, in the palace.
Daijosai, a Shinto ceremony performed by an emperor only once during his reign, is considered the most important ceremony related to the enthronement he performs.
After purifying himself in the Kai-ryuden building in Daijokyu, the Emperor, dressed in Gosaifuku ritual costume made of white silk, entered the Yukiden Hall around 18h30. to start the Yukiden-Kyosen-no-Gi rite.
In the ritual, the Emperor, seated on a rug and looking toward Ise Jingu, a large Shinto shrine in the town of Ise, Mie Prefecture, offered Tochigi Prefecture rice harvested this year, millet, sake and marine products, to imperial ancestors and the gods, according to the Imperial Domestic Agency. The interior of the Yukiden was lit by a flashlight.
After saying a prayer and reading the imperial message "Otsugebumi," he proved the offerings. The empress, in white junihitoe ceremonial kimono, offered a prayer separately.
Yukiden-Kyosen-no-Gi lasted about three hours. It was followed by the Sukiden-Kyosen-no-Gi ritual, which began around Friday's 12h30 at Sukiden Hall, where a similar ritual was performed with freshly harvested grains from Kyoto Prefecture. Sukiden-Kyosen-no-Gi ended around 15h15.
Other members of the imperial family, including Crown Prince Akishino, the emperor's younger brother, and Crown Princess Kiko, participated in both rites.
In addition, Yukiden-Kyosen-no-Gi was attended by 510 people, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the country's parliamentary and judicial chiefs, cabinet ministers, city council governors and leaders from many sectors of society. Sukiden-Kyosen-no-Gi was attended by 425 people.
Daikyo-no-Gi's grand banquets will be held for the Emperor's and Daijosai's guests on Saturday and Monday at the Imperial Palace.
The government has earmarked a budget of about ¥ 2,4 billion for Daijosai, a ceremony with religious elements. Daijosai can be recognized as a public event as it is a traditional imperial succession ceremony, the government said.
Members of the public will be able to see the exterior of the Daijokyu buildings from Thursday through December 8.
The Emperor and Empress will report the Emperor's enthronement to Ise Jingu on 22 and 23 November in a ceremony called Shinetsu-no-Gi.
Source: Jiji Press