Tenno-Sai Festival


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The Tenno – Sai (Emperor Festival) is a Japanese celebration in the Shinto religion to honour past emperors.

The Emperor (tennō, literally “heavenly emperor,” formerly often called the Mikado) of Japan is the symbol of the state and of the unity of the Japanese people. He is the head of the Japanese Imperial Family. He was also the highest authority of the Shinto religion. The Imperial House of Japan is the oldest continuing hereditary monarchy in the world. In Nihonshoki, a book of Japanese history finished in the 8th century, it is said that the Empire of Japan was founded in 660 BC by Emperor Jimmu. — Wikipedia: Emperor of Japan

Ancestral worship and Japanese law

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Aside from ceremonies conducted at Shinto shrines, portable shrines (mikoshi) are carried in the streets.

A mikoshi is a portable Shinto shrine. Shinto followers believe that it serves as the vehicle of a divine spirit in Japan at the time of a parade of deities. Often, the mikoshi resembles a miniature building, with pillars, walls, a roof, a veranda and a railing. Typical shapes are rectangles, hexagons, and octagons. The body, which stands on two or four poles (for carrying), is usually lavishly decorated, and the roof might hold a carving of a Phoenix. — Wikipedia: Mikoshi

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During a matsuri, or Japanese festival, people bear a mikoshi on their shoulders by means of the two or four poles. They bring the mikoshi from the shrine, carry it around the neighbourhoods that worship at the shrine. At certain festivals, the people who bear the mikoshi wave it wildly from side to side. A mikoshi was believed to have been first used to transport Hachiman to Tōdai-ji temple from Usa Shrine in 749. — Wikipedia: Mikoshi

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Food stalls and games stalls line the walkways of shrines during these festivities.

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This Tenno-sai festivity was held at the Susanoo-jinja (Susanoo shrine) at Minami-senju in Tokyo on the 6-7 June 2009.

Susanoo: In Japanese mythology, Susanoo, the powerful storm of Summer, is the brother of Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun, and of Tsukuyomi, the god of the moon. Japanese mythology is a system of beliefs that embraces Shinto and Buddhist traditions as well as agriculture-based folk religion.

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