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Emperor completes secretive key succession ritual

60 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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60 Comments
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I'm not a what is called in English "royalist", but I think that Emperor of the country should work shoulder-to-shoulder with Abe to make Japan great.(er)

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

Religion.....pfffft.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

Will Naruhito now be given a white horse to ride around on like his ancestor?

0 ( +8 / -8 )

More public money wasted violating the constitution.

8 ( +17 / -9 )

With this rite, Naruhito formally became a "demi god." I agree with Akishino. The private mythological ritual should not be funded by tax money. Existence of royal families abroad are not based on mythologies. It is still dangerous many Japanese people become "brain dead" when it refers to the emperor. Reason Japan cannot summarize their prewar history of militarism is because they have to impeach the responsibility of the emperor.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Abe's government wants the emperor to be a more authoritative figure, as he was before the end of World War II.

Should be codified to read "Abe wants the Emperor to be more of an authoritative figure only as long as he does and says what ABE wants him to say and do!

Abe does not want an independent Emperor, he wants one he can control, so through that control, he can control the people, and legitimize his own position!

2 ( +7 / -5 )

At first look I thought it's the Nativity Scene...than again, not much difference, both have gods involved and are more about "heavenly" power... ;-)

0 ( +3 / -3 )

That's a ton of money gone down the sink. Could have been spent on more public welfare programs to offset the effects of the raised consumption tax.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I really wish we could choose how our tax money was spent.

I don't object to these people going through with an insanity like believing they are creating a "demi-god" if that's what turns them on, but they should do it on their own dime.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

For the emperor to pray for peace and prosperity for Japan and a great harvest is wonderful and people in Japan can only benefit from that. Japan also needs spirituality not only materialism and the emperor seems very wise.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

are they going to thank us for funding it?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Good for His Highness! Amazing and unique tradition, they should never consider changing it.

-12 ( +6 / -18 )

In the article it states, "a secretive and controversial ritual but it is closed to the public, even as taxpayer money funds it."

The question remains: Is this a throwback to Japan’s authoritarian past and as a colossal waste of money? After even Naruhito’s younger brother, Crown Prince Akishino, says " he is against using public money for the ritual and that it’s questionable under a constitution that separates religion and state. Furthermore according to the article "His view was quickly dismissed by the government and conservatives." Why were they dismissed when there is much to repair after 1. major tsunami resulting in Fukishima disaster that the TEPCO execs knowingly were aware and the radioactive water still is leaking and what to do about the remaining contaminated stored water and costs? The recent damages by numerous typhoons that still need to be fixed and the costs? This article further states "The shrine complex alone costs about 2 billion yen, and the whole ritual will total about 2.7 billion yen." Does Japan have that much budget to keep throwing away TAXPAYER funds? Do people really know what is spent and how their hard earned money is spent on such events that is paid with STATE funds i.e. taxes, when a simple less costly ceremony can be performed for FREE. Do not the royals have their money from the years and years of investments? Surely they do why not use their owned earned money as in the article it states: "

"It's a royal family event, and it is highly religious," Akishino said last year.

I'm not saying I'm against this event but if it is a royal FAMILY event it doesn't mean I should pay for it in my taxes.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

2.7 BILLION yen.

How fortunate we are that our schools, hospitals, infrastructure and pension system are so well-funded that we can afford to spaff all that money away - money which we worked for - on some obscurantist mystic ritual, which the Royal Household could afford to fund quite easily out of its own coffers, if they think it's so essential.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Waste of money for a ritual nobody can explain or attend.

2.7 billion Yen tax payer's money down the drain.

Imagine what could have been done with all those Yen.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I totally agree with those who filed a lawsuit! If I knew about ti I would subscribe to it too. Shinto is not a state religion, nor Japanese are true Shinto believers. The same Shinto religion is managed privately (temple owners are privates who not only have no specific duty or rules from a central religious authority to abide to, but even do not even pay taxes). Why should the government pay for a religion/belief that involves only the imperial family? It is pure absurdity. Those money should be given to the people that suffered the damages of the typhoon and of Fukushima disaster (which is government responsibility for sure). If they want to keep up with that tradition - which benefit themselves only - they should pay from their pocket, as any other royal family around the world does.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The shrine complex alone costs about 2 billion yen, and the whole ritual will total about 2.7 billion yen.he isn't

> It’s all funded by the government. 

Scandalous, just scandalous.

Good for His Highness!

His Highness? How ridiculous. He is just a man whose contribution to the world is actually very small. He isn't an engineer, he isn't a scientist, he isn't a doctor, he isn't a philosopher, he isn't a writer, he is just a boring man.

Amazing and unique tradition, they should never consider changing it.

There is nothing amazing and unique here, this kind of fallacious fantasy exists all over the world. I don't care if they want to do this circus, I just don't want our tax money to be used to pay for it.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Abe's government wants the emperor to be a more authoritative figure, as he was before the end of World War II.

I wonder if that statement is factual at all. 

The clowns in government got there because they sought power themselves, I doubt they sought it just for the purpose of giving some up to whomever happens to be the emperor at the time (especially given how the imperial family is a very liberal bunch these days).

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The total costs of the enthronement about ¥25 billion.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

And to put things in perspective, the government declared a few weeks ago that they will use 700 million yen for immediate disaster relief after the Typhoon Hagibis which killed almost 100 people. So the government spend 2.7 billion yen for paying a fantasy circus which has no connection to reality whatsoever. But they announce 700 million yen for something which is real and tragic. Japan is still a caste, its leaders still view the majority of the population as low and unimportant.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

The secret ceremony:

Whack!

Thank you sir, may I have another?

Whack!

Thank you sir, may I have another?

ad nauseum

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I have no power to tell Japan to stop this so the only thing I can do is to let it be the way they want and comply but I really can't understand why Japan still needs to keep their Royal Family? Why are they so obsessed to always get aligned with Western Culture? This is like being want to become UK. If the Emperor has no political power then what is his purpose other than hosting these luxury events that is funded by the people who many are living in poverty. I see this just more of an entertainment, a luxury for the elite than a necessity for the majority of the Japanese people. I am nothing against it if it's not consuming too much from public funding and tax money must always be disclosed at all times.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@daito-hak

he is just a boring man.

Really? Have you met him personally and spoken with him? Using a modicum of intelligence I would imagine speaking to the Emperor would be anything but boring considering his rather unique upbringing.

As usual there is always someone ready to make a rediculous comment based purely on thin air!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Maybe the ¥2 billion shrines could be converted for the homeless?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Christians in Japan (always 1% of Japanese) sued or protested the government from the point of view of separation of politics and religions while Komeito which is backed by Soka Gakkai buddhist group joined the celebrations of enthronment of new emperor. It is strange. However, until the Meiji era, Shintoism and buddhism collectively existed. You find Asakusa (shinto) Shrine located side by side to Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. Asakusa Shrine is under the administration of Sensoji Temple.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

25 million live on or below the poverty level. 4 million kids living on or below the poverty level whose main meal of the day is their school lunches. NPO's like Second Harvest in Tokyo have increased demands for foods for the needy.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

zichi

25 million live on or below the poverty level. 4 million kids living on or below the poverty level whose main meal of the day is their school lunches. NPO's like Second Harvest in Tokyo have increased demands for foods for the needy.

Well said!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

As usual there is always someone ready to make a rediculous comment based purely on thin air!

How would you expect these people to be interesting if they spent their entire lives following royal protocols and their moves are numbered? They don't have the sense of reality , so how can they relate to normal people? From the time they wake up till they sleep, their actions are numbered and limited unless that fancy you?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If there were 2.7 billion money, could help many people who suffered rain and flood disaster.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

As usual there is always someone ready to make a rediculous comment based purely on thin air!

Yeah well there is always a Japan apologist who never read properly people's post before to write ridiculous things. Did you read all my post? I don't think so. My perspective was his contribution to the world, not whether he is able to entertain me during a discussion with a cup of tea.

Name one thing, one thing that him or his father did and can be truly considered a contribution to the world. There is none. Unless you consider that making blank statements and fake smiles in public is a big contribution to human kind. You may be brain washed and stupidly consider his father has a unique upbringing, the truth that there is nothing unique about him or any of them. They are just living a comfortable life paid with our tax money (workers money) literally doing nothing. That's the plain flat cold truth. You like it or not.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The money did not evaporate. Certain people got paid. Who exactly?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

daito_hak

Name one thing, one thing that him or his father did and can be truly considered a contribution to the world. There is none. Unless you consider that making blank statements and fake smiles in public is a big contribution to human kind. You may be brain washed and stupidly consider his father has a unique upbringing, the truth that there is nothing unique about him or any of them. They are just living a comfortable life paid with our tax money (workers money) literally doing nothing. That's the plain flat cold truth. You like it or not.

Very good points!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Using a word God when talking about shinto does not make much sense since shinto is about many different Kami or spirits and notion of god as in the religions originating in the middle east has no place in shinto.

Also this: "He is just a man whose contribution to the world is actually very small. He isn't an engineer, he isn't a scientist, he isn't a doctor, he isn't a philosopher, he isn't a writer, he is just a boring man." this sound as a perfect description of every "majesty" starting with entire British Royal Family and all across Europe and Middle east. Still the Japans Royals are more humble and more subjective to the people of the land than most of the other royals.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I partially blame the US for this. After WW2 they have the opportunity to dismantle this like what the allies did to Nazi party but US allowed it to proceed. The funds that were used for the royal family after the war up to now can definitely help many Japanese citizen.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

this sound as a perfect description of every "majesty" starting with entire British Royal Family and all across Europe and Middle east. 

Sure, I have absolutely the same opinion for all of them.

Still the Japans Royals are more humble and more subjective to the people of the land than most of the other royals.

I am sorry, but again making fake smiles in public means nothing. But I give you the benefice of the doubt and would believe that. However, as I said, we are paying for their very very comfortable life with our tax money, the least they can do is being humble......

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Still the Japans Royals are more humble and more subjective to the people of the land than most of the other royals.

At least Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry and William served their military though.

I see Japan's Royal Family as Japan's obsession of copying the west. Like Tokyo Tower copying Eiffel tower, Rainbow bridge copying the Golden Gate and their Royal Family copying European royals particularly UK.

But it is more hassle in Japan because we laso have to use the Calendar system base on the dynasty era too (Show, Heisei, Reiwa) while at the same time using the universal western style calendar system as the primary.

And this is also not good for promoting equal rights for women as in the Royal Family women are always be inferior than men.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

sure the people of Chida and fukushima are please with the ceremonies cost,.......

3 ( +5 / -2 )

What century is it behind the walls of the imperial palace?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

already lost count of all these ceremonies and rituals ... so what ,s gonna happen next?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Wow, I am so happy to see my tax paid money going to something that will benefit the whole nation. /s

Good for His Highness! Amazing and unique tradition, they should never consider changing it.

Fine, keep it, but don't ask tax payers for it. I am pretty sure they are rich enough to afford such extravagant ceremonies on their own dime. Seems like a couple of tax dodgers to me.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

As government expenditure goes, this is completely innocuous and is being used here simply for Japan-bashing. If those commenting here were really concerned about tax money being wasted, they would focus on something really big ticket such as government plans to buy more than one hundred F35s at a total cost estimated to be north of $10 billion.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

is there a secretive ritual to get tax from Gods instead of mortals ?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

As government expenditure goes, this is completely innocuous and is being used here simply for Japan-bashing. If those commenting here were really concerned about tax money being wasted, they would focus on something really big ticket such as government plans to buy more than one hundred F35s at a total cost estimated to be north of $10 billion.

How is it a 'JAPAN BASHING' when the alternative we offer is for the good of the Japanese people? Buying these F35s are at least to help protect Japan from threats of potential enemies but this ritual cannot be justified why it costs billions because of it's confidentiality. If they are using tax money better to disclose where it is being used for.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Emperor completes secretive key succession ritual

There needs to be more transparency.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Good for His Highness! Amazing and unique tradition, they should never consider changing it.

Ok, so what do the tax payers get out of all of this? What’s the overall benefit for the people of Japan and the country?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This:

Some experts believe the emperor uses it to sleep with the sun goddess to gain divinity. Others say it’s for the goddess to rest and that it’s not even touched by the emperor.

“The so-called bed, as we understand it, is a sacred seat for the imperial ancestor to rest,” then-Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu said before the Daijosai in 1990 was performed by former Emperor Akihito, the current emperor’s father.

Officials have denied that the emperor uses the bed to gain divinity."

In my studies, the idea was that the new Emperor actually had sex with Amaterasu and that confirmed his new divinity. No doubt, a lovely lass was the stand-in. In my understanding of Shinto, that it is a system that recognizes the energy of the universe, and this makes sense as a transfer of energy from the kami watching over Japan and the new Emperor, who also will join the safeguarding of the beneficial, rice-growing energy of Japan.

No doubt a bit too much for the day-to-day Japanese public. That is why all the coyness of the press.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

bass4funk:

"Good for His Highness! Amazing and unique tradition, they should never consider changing it."

Ok, so what do the tax payers get out of all of this? What’s the overall benefit for the people of Japan and the country?

Preservation of the tradition, of course.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Patricia Yarrow:

Officials have denied that the emperor uses the bed to gain divinity.

In my studies, the idea was that the new Emperor actually had sex with Amaterasu and that confirmed his new divinity. 

I am interested in sources from which your conclusion is derived.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

nonpikanchou:

I partially blame the US for this. After WW2 they have the opportunity to dismantle this like what the allies did to Nazi party but US allowed it to proceed.

The Nazi party was something new and alien on Germany. They invented a new flag, new language expressions, new art, new mythology, in the process destroying a lot of tradition they rejected. So it was an easy and obvious choice to dismantle all that. You can not compare that with the Emperor system and Shinto which are rooted in Japans history.

So, apples and oranges.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Japan will separate religion and state sooner than America will. They literally have shrines to the judeo-christian god on courthouse grounds, inside them, prayers in congress, on money, and by the president. Is anyone here drawing that parallel?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To draw on that parallel, imagine that all the Japanese money said "in the gods we trust" and was plastered in every courtroom, Shinto prayers before diet sessions, and "may the gods bless this great nation of japan" said by every prime minister and diet member going for re-election.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

25 billion yen spent on one guy and a fairy tale is disgusting - especially when you remember there are still people in Fukushima living in shelters following the earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Preservation of the tradition, of course.

I get that, but is all of this going enrich the lives of people and bring prosperity?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

juminRhee

Japan will separate religion and state sooner than America will. They literally have shrines to the judeo-christian god on courthouse grounds, inside them, prayers in congress, on money, and by the president. Is anyone here drawing that parallel?

Here is an example of US court decisions:

*"The course of constitutional neutrality in this area cannot be an absolutely straight line...The general principle deducible from the First Amendment and all that has been said by the Court is this: that we will not tolerate either governmentally established religion or governmental interference with religion. Short of those expressly proscribed governmental acts there is room for play in the joints productive of a benevolent neutrality which will permit religious exercise to exist without sponsorship and without interference. ...Adherence to the policy of neutrality that derives from an accommodation of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses has prevented the kind of involvement that would tip the balance toward government control of churches or governmental restraint on religious practice." (Walz v. Tax Commission)*

In short, there is room for religious exercise in affairs where the state is involved as long as it does not violate the real purpose of so-called "the separation of state and religion" clauses, that is, the preservation of religious freedom from the state control.

French government is actively involved to restore the Notre Dame Cathedral, which was heavily damaged by a recent fire. Does it violate religious freedom?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Socrateos:

I wager from your response that you're okay with the Shinto rituals in the article publicly funded. That's fine, I just find some people are against this but for the American examples pointed out. That is blatant hypocrisy on their part.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

juminRhee:

I wager from your response that you're okay with the Shinto rituals in the article publicly funded.

As long as it is a cultural event in which a religious part is a mere historical accident, not a goal. Public funds in Japan are widely used for such cultural events that happened to contain in its parts not only Shinto but also Buddhism or Christianity. If you want to uphold any cultural tradition, this is inevitable, especially when your culture contains rich religious roots.

Here in US, people around me say to me "God bless you" when I sneeze. The religious message is a mere historic accident. I do not mind even though I do not believe in God. It is totally different from proselytizing. I can distinguish between the two.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Expensive superstition.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

These expensive rituals were concocted in the Meiji Era when the Japanese state was establishing what Basil Hall Chamberlain called "mikado worship," or "emperor worship" as it came to be known. This stuff should have been scrapped long ago. Japan has a democratic Article One Emperor. He is beholden the the Constitution, not Amaterasu.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

On the other hand, annoying gods or goddesses can be expensive, too.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Nazi party was something new and alien on Germany. They invented a new flag, new language expressions, new art, new mythology, in the process destroying a lot of tradition they rejected.

Aren't these the same things that the Empire of Japan trying to impose to Asia during WW2? I don't get your point that since Nazi is an organization therefore they will be dismantled while the Emperor and his empire are spared because it is coming from the Empire system even though the atrocities they've done are the same? Yes both are different kinds of political system but their aim is the same. If there is anyone living now that is related to Hitler they will definitely get negative treatment from the people but this Royal family who are directly related to the mind behind the genocide of WW2 in Asia gets a 2 billion ceremony from the taxpayers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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