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The Emperor


Chokusai

A ritual performed by order of the Emperor and for which a special envoy (chokushi) is sent to a shrine to read a prayer (saimon) before the deity and present heihaku offerings. The term chokusai cannot be found in old records or literature and first appears in the phrase "shrines that are venues o...

Chokushi

A messenger who delivered Imperial commands. Messengers who were dispatched to shrines on the occasion of either an ordinary or an extraordinary rite were generally called tsukai (messengers), saishi (festival messengers), or hōbeishi. The Taihō Code (702) stipulated that for hōbeish...

Hasshinden

The Hall of Eight Deities. Under the Ritsuyō System, this hall was located in the western hall of the Jingikan (the Department of Divinities) and it enshrined the eight tutelary deities of the Emperor. According to the Engi shiki ( Procedures of the Engi Era) of 967, the names of enshrined dei...

Hōbei

Offerings of heihaku made to shrines and imperial tombs by order of the Emperor. The term also refers to an envoy who bore these offerings, (alternatively called the hōbeishi). The characters can also be read as hōhei. Sometimes this was offered to only one shrine, while on other occasion...

Hōbeishi

The general name for envoys who carry offerings (heihaku) to royal mausolea and kami at the command of the Emperor. There are various types of envoy including the general category of hōbeishi, reiheishi (who carry offerings to Ise Shrine) and yoshinohōbeishi (who serve as envoys to import...

Kōikeishō

The Imperial succession. Prior to the Taika era (645-650 CE) the process is unclear, but from the Ōjin era (270-310AD), agnatic succession (fraternal succession, not stem patrilineal succession) was dominant. According to current scholarship, the succession passed to the eldest son of the Empe...

Kōshitsu Tenpan

  The code of the Imperial household. Although not originally made public, the Imperial House Code was established in 1889 and modified in 1907 and 1918. The original code was presented in 1884-5 as part of the Imperial Rules. The rules were rewritten (now called the "Imperial Household Rules" —...

Kunaichō

A bureaucratic agency established in 1949 as an external agency under the aegis of the Prime Minister's cabinet. The Agency, as stipulated by Article 7 of the Japanese Constitution, is responsible for Imperial Household affairs dealing with foreign ambassadors and Imperial ceremonies, and is also c...

Kunaishō

  Originally, the Kunaishō, which was in charge of all court affairs, was one of the eight agencies established under the Ritsuryō system. With the dissolution of the Ritsuryō system, however, the Agency gradually lost its actual power, and only returned to prominence with the Meiji Re...

Kyūchū sanden

  Kyūchū sanden (Inner Sanctuary) refers to the three Imperial Palace buildings located in the southeastern part of Fukiage Park (Fukiage Gyōen): the Kashiko-dokoro ("Place of Awe"), the Kōrei-den ("Pavilion of the Imperial Ancestral Spirits"), and the Shin-den ("Kami Pavilion"). ...

Reiheishi

An envoy who was sent from the Imperial court to the Grand Shrines of Ise (Ise Jingū) to present offerings (hōbei) for the Kannamesai. Also referred as Ise no reiheishi. A reiheishi was one type of royal "messenger" (hōbeishi) who brought offerings to shrines. From the medieval perio...

Ryōbo

Burial mounds and tombs of the imperial family. Current law distinguishes the ryō (mausolea) and the bo (tombs). The former denotes the burial place of an emperor, his consort, mother (dowager empress) and grandmother, while the latter denotes the burial site of other imperial family members. ...

Shikibushoku

  The Board of Ceremonies was created and attached to the Kunaishō in 1884, replacing the original Board of Ceremonies. The original Board was established in 1871 and responsible for rites and rituals held in the Imperial Palace, supervising audiences with foreign dignitaries, managing internal ...

Shōten

Official responsible for imperial rituals in the kyūchū sanden. The post, which featured three positions of descending rank, was founded in 1871 as part of the jingishō. Later, it was moved to the shikiburyō and then became part of the Kunaishō's shikibushoku. With the post...

Tennōsei, Tennōseido

There are many details of the origins of the Tennō (Heavenly Sovereign or Emperor) and the various associated systems that are unclear. However, there are ancient beliefs set out in the Kikishinwa (the mythology expressed in the Kojiki and Nihongi) that the descendants of Amaterasu pass down t...

Yoshi no hōbeishi

On the occasion of the Sokui (Emperors accession), the Daijōsai, and the Emperor's genpuku (Coming-of-Age Ceremony)extraordinary hōbei (offerings) called Yoshino hōbei were sent to the Grand Shrines of Ise (Ise Jingū) and other shrines to announce impending court ceremonies and ...





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