Japanese History 214r. Japanese Enthronement Ceremonies

photo pf professor helen hardacre
Prof. Helen Hardacre

This seminar addresses Japanese coronation ritual, which is among the oldest in the world, based on readings and media observation of the enthronement of 2019. On May 1 the 126th emperor of Japan will acceed to the throne when he receives the regalia. He will proclaim his enthronement in October before a large audience of officials and foreign guests.The ceremonies conclude in November in a rite called the Daijōsai, in which the new emperor symbolically shares a meal with the ancestral gods of his lineage. Our seminar begins with a consideration of methods for the study of ritual. We examine texts from the ancient period that are understood to provide a prototype, turning to medieval and early modern enthronements incorporating Buddhist ideals for the monarch. Modern enthronements of the Meiji, Taishō, Shōwa, Heisei, and the new era are examined in social and political context, including contemporary debates regarding the compatibility of constitutionalism and monarchy, and separation of religion from state.

Course Website

poster for japanese history 214r images of japan and japanese royal family