Emperor Naruhito’s Daijō-sai

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Emperor Naruhito presided over the Daijō-sai (大嘗祭), the Great Thanksgiving Ceremony, in which the Emperor is united to the sun-goddess Amaterasu, the most important of the Enthronement rituals, in the temporary Daijokyu shrine, specially built in the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace on November 14th. The emperor sat in the direction of Ise Jingu, a shrine in Mie Prefecture that is said to enshrine the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu, the mythical ancestress of the imperial family, before offering newly harvested rice and grain, from each of Japan’s 47 prefectures, to imperial ancestors and deities of heaven and earth. The emperor also partook of the grain, and prayed for peace and abundant harvests for the country and its people. The Daijō-sai, the Great Thanksgiving Ceremony, dates back to the late seventh century, and is performed by the new emperor in the fall of the year of his formal enthronement, replacing the annual imperial harvest festival known as Niinamesai.

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