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Imperial rite picks Tochigi, Kyoto rice for Daijosai

Courtesy of Imperial Household Agency

Ritualists head for the Saisha facility to perform the Saiden-Tentei-no-gi ceremony in the Imperial Palace on Monday.

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Tochigi and Kyoto were chosen on Monday as the prefectures for growing rice for the Daijosai thanksgiving ceremony, to be performed by the Emperor in November.

They were picked from a group of eastern prefectures, known as Yuki Province, and a group of western prefectures, or Suki Province, respectively, through kiboku traditional divination, employing turtle shell plates, during the Saiden-Tentei-no-gi ceremony.

The ceremony started at 10 a.m. at the Saisha facility, set up at the yard in front of Shinden, one of the three Imperial Palace sanctuaries.

At the Saiden-Tentei-no-gi ceremony, green sea turtle shell plates, shaped like shogi pieces and held with bamboo chopsticks, were burned by a fire made by bird-cherry trees in a hikirigu device. The two prefectures were chosen on the basis of the patterns of the cracks created on the plates.

The Imperial Household Agency classified 15 eastern prefectures plus Niigata, Nagano and Shizuoka prefectures as Yuki Province and the other prefectures as Suki Province, following precedent.

The agency procured the shells of eight green sea turtles from the Ogasawara Islands, located about 1,000 kilometers south of central Tokyo. These were processed into eight plates, each 24 centimeters long, 15 centimeters wide and 1 millimeter thick.

Saiden-Tentei-no-gi was not shown to the public. It was performed by the chief ritualist and three ritualists clad in traditional court dresses at Saisha, covered with a tent, taking about 40 minutes.

The Emperor was briefed on the results of the divination by Imperial Household Agency chief Shinichiro Yamamoto and approved it. The Tochigi and Kyoto prefectural governors received the news by telephone.

Tochigi Gov. Tomikazu Fukuda said he feels greatly honored that his prefecture has been chosen. “This gives encouragement to each person in the prefecture,” Fukuda said.

Kyoto Gov. Takatoshi Nishiwaki said he feels very pleased and honored that his prefecture has been selected. “This will contribute to the development of agriculture in Kyoto,” Nishiwaki said.

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