Japanese Society and Culture


Tenno, Japanese Emperor, Accession to the Throne, Sokuinorei, Daijosai, Separation of Religion and State, Japanese Constitution, Shinto Ceremony, National Ceremony (State Act), Ceremony of the Imperial House, National Expense

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Daijosai, which is regarded as an indispensable ceremony for the accession of the throne, is a Shinto ceremony. Therefore, as Japanese Constitution defines separation of church and state, it is not held as a national ceremony (a state act) but held as a ceremony of the imperial house. On the other hand, since it is said to be an indispensable ceremony for the accession of the throne, government finds public significance, and the cost is covered by the national expenses. Criticisms that claim violation of separation of church and state arise, and many lawsuits were filed.

This article reveals that behind the argument of Daijosai and separation of church and state, there are two contexts. On the one side, Japanese Constitution is drafted on the introspection of Meiji Constitution, and restriction of emperor’s authority, denial of his deity, abolishing state Shinto, etc. were sought. On the other side, the emperor have been religious and ceremonial being throughout Japanese history, and such existence is deeply rooted both in history and culture. The conflict between these two contexts is inevitable because the constitution maintained the emperor system and at the same time provided for the separation of church and state.