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Types of Rituals

Chōtei saishi (Imperial Court Rituals)

Imperial Court Rituals (chōtei saishi) refer to official government rituals in which the emperor and the nobility participated. The rituals prescribed by the Ritsuryō Code of the ancient period and the rituals of the subsequent Heian period (794- ca. 1185) formed the basis of the Imperial...

Dōzoku Saishi (Kinship Group-Based Religious Observances)

Communal worship performed by members of a dōzoku. The term dōzoku denotes a social grouping which, based on a genealogically determined hierarchy, is formed by a main lineage and a number of branch families sharing the same ancestors. From the main lineage, branch lineages emerge, and fr...

Kodai saishi (Ancient Rituals)

"Ancient rituals" can be divided broadly into those religious rituals that involve natural objects such as mountains and streams, rocks, and trees and rituals related to burial services. Gradually, with the advent of agriculture, we also find rituals concerned with grain deities relevant to the cyc...

Kōrei saishi

A group of rites of ancestor worship directed at the spirits of former emperors and members of the imperial family. The rites that form part of the kōrei saishi are performed by the imperial family at imperial mausoleums and the Kōreiden (Hall of Imperial Ancestral Spirits), one of the Th...

Meiji Kokka Saishi: State Rites of the Meiji Period

This system of state rites followed the tradition of state rituals as practiced in the era of the ritsuryō legal code of the seventh to ninth centuries and the imperial court polity of the tenth to twelfth centuries, revived and reorganized during the Meiji Restoration and early years of the M...


Shrine observances can be largely divided into annual rituals that are performed at the same time each year, rituals that are performed at certain intervals such as the 20th year or the 12th year, as well as special observances that are carried out in irregular intervals. The day on which a ritual ...


The term sai refers to a state that transcends the ordinary. The term kai refers to the taboos (kinki) and regulations that have to be kept in relation to sai, as well as the state in which these taboos and regulations are adhered to. The compound saikai indicates a condition in which kai is being ...

Saishi shūzoku

Traditions, practices, and customs related to festivals and the rituals that form part of them. Rituals and festivals take many forms depending on time, place and the people performing it. Although the term "ritual customs" (saishi shūzoku) is used to refer collectively to all of these practic...

Saishi yōgo

Japanese "observances" (matsuri) can be broadly divided into two types, annual observances (nenchū gyōji) and rites of passage (tsūka girei). The term annual observances refers to a system in which a set of observances is repeated on a yearly basis in a particular social group. The t...


This term refers to the holidays (shukujitsu) and days of observances (saijitsu) fixed by the Japanese state. In the prewar period, there were both shukujitsu and saijitsu, but in the postwar period only the term shukujitsu continued to be used. To the three major national holidays, which were es...


Village rituals (sonraku saishi) are observances performed in spatially limited, fixed settlements (mura – commonly translated in English as "village"). This represents one attempt to define these rituals based on their shared features, but the concept remains imprecise. One way that these ri...

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