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Rice harvested for Emperor’s “Daijosai” rite

  • September 27, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 1:23 p.m.
  • English Press

Takanezawa/Nantan, Sept. 27 (Jiji Press)–A ceremony to harvest rice for use at the “Daijosai” thanksgiving ceremony, to be performed by Japan’s Emperor Naruhito in November, was held Friday at rice paddies in the town of Takanezawa, Tochigi Prefecture, and Nantan, Kyoto Prefecture.

 

The “Saiden-Nukiho-no-Gi” ceremony at the “Saiden” rice paddy in Takanezawa, selected to grow rice on behalf of eastern Japan, or Yuki Province, began at 10 a.m. (1 a.m. GMT) and was attended by the prefectural governor, the town mayor and others. Makeshift “Shinden,” which enshrines Japanese deities, and “Inanomiden,” which stores the harvested rice, were built out of tents at the ceremony site.

 

The “Nukiho-shi,” an envoy of the Emperor dressed in traditional attire, recited a Shinto ritual prayer on harvesting the rice.

 

The prayers were followed by the harvesting of the rice by paddy owner Takeo Ishitsuka, 55, and 10 people selected to gather in the crop. Ishitsuka, clad in “Hakucho” ancient work wear made of white hemp, led the group in collecting four bundles of the plant with a sickle.

 

The Nukiho-shi then checked the state of the rice, and Ishitsuka and others placed it in the Inanomiden. The ceremony lasted around 50 minutes.

 

A similar ceremony was held at the rice paddy in Nantan, selected to grow rice on behalf of western Japan, or Suki Province. The prefectural governor and the city mayor watched on as the paddy owner Hisao Nakagawa, 75, led the rice harvesting.

 

The Saiden-Nukiho-no-Gi, held at the start of a new Emperor’s reign, was embroiled in constitutional controversy during Emperor Emeritus Akihito’s ceremony.

 

A lawsuit was filed claiming that the attendance to the event at a rice paddy in Oita Prefecture by the then-governor and senior officials from the prefectural government violated the principle of separation of religion and state. The Supreme Court found the attendance constitutional.

 

According to the Imperial Household Agency, governors from both prefectures hosting the related rice paddies attended their respective Saiden-Nukiho-no-Gi ceremonies dating back to the Taisho era of 1912-1926. It is unknown whether governors paid visits to such ceremonies earlier, in the Meiji era, when the system of prefectures was established.

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