• JIJI, Kyodo


Events and rites related to the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito on May 1 last year came to an end on Friday.

In the morning, the last such event, the Jichinsai ceremony, was held at the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo to purify the site that hosted the Daijokyu halls built for the Daijosai grand thanksgiving rites in November.

The ceremony was attended by nine people including senior officials of the Imperial Household Agency.

Pieces of silk cloth and other items were buried at 10 spots at the site after a ritualist read a prayer.

In November, the emperor performed the centuries-old Shinto ceremony. It was the first time for the emperor to offer newly harvested rice to the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu, the mythical ancestress of the imperial family, as well as the deities of heaven and earth.

Although the main part of the ceremony was held behind closed doors, a total of 510 people, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, lawmakers, prefectural governors and other representatives, observed the first section of the rite nearby.

After the Daijosai rites, the halls were shown to the public for 18 days and then demolished. Some 782,000 people visited the halls during the period.

Most of the construction materials for the halls were reused for biomass power generation, since the Imperial Household Agency judged it would be difficult to be reused as construction materials because of holes and indentations. A ceremony to burn some of the materials was held Feb. 21.

Many measures were taken to adjust the ceremony to modern times and reflect the wishes of the emperor, who wanted to minimize the financial burden on the people.

The size of the Daijokyu Halls was about 20 percent smaller than the previous ones, and buildings other than the main halls were constructed with regular logs rather than the conventional unpeeled logs.

The main halls’ roofs were also switched from thatch material to shingles to cut costs and reduce the time needed for construction.

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