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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » State Rites
Sokui
  Accession to the imperial throne. One of several ceremonies in the investment of a new emperor. Originally read as "ama-tsu-hi-tsugi shiroshimesu," accession was synonymous with the senso ritual. However, since the reign of Emperor Kanmu, the senso ritual (in which the new emperor inherits the divine objects) and the sokui ceremony (in which official investment occurs and accession publicly proclaimed) have become separated by a few days. The sokui accession ceremony is held in the front garden of the Daigoku Hall, as it was in Tang China. The many ministers (bunbu hyakkan, lit: "the hundred ministers of letters and warfare") sit in attendance while the emperor, wearing a ritual headdress and robes, ascends to the elevated stage where the throne is located, and the imperial messenger announces the accession.
    The formerly Chinese-style ceremony was abolished at the accession of the Meiji emperor in 1867, during which many new precedents were established. The emperor first wore Japanese-style formal robes known as sokutai, and it included a new set of ceremonies. The specific proceedings of the ceremony were formalized in the 1909 "Tōkyoku Prescriptions." The Heisei emperors accession, the first and only conducted since the adoption of Japans post-WWII Constitution, was carried out following the precedents set by the Taishō and Shōwa accessions.
    The "Great Niinamesai Festival" (Daijō sai) is held later in the year of accession and in the following year. The general term sokui-girei (the ceremonies for inheriting the emperorship) refers inclusively to the Senso and the Daijō sai.

— Okada Shōji
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
4-10-28 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-8440, Japan
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