Emperor Naruhito Conducts 1st Rice Harvest since Ascension


Tokyo, Sept. 19 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Emperor Naruhito on Thursday conducted his first rice harvest at the Imperial Palace since he assumed the throne on May 1.

Rice farming at the palace was initiated by the current Emperor's grandfather, Emperor Hirohito, posthumously called Emperor Showa. The practice was passed on to now-Emperor Emeritus Akihito, and then to Emperor Naruhito.

Wearing a long-sleeved shirt, navy pants and boots, Emperor Naruhito harvested rice he planted in the paddy field near a biology laboratory at the palace in May. He cut a total of 100 plants of the "Mangetsumochi" glutinous rice variety and "Nihonmasari," a nonglutinous brand, with a new sickle.

According to the Imperial Household Agency, this year's harvest was average, with no impacts from Typhoon Faxai, which tore through eastern Japan last week. The harvested grain will be used at rituals such as the Kannamesai ceremony to celebrate the first rice crop of the year at Ise Jingu, a Shinto shrine complex in Mie Prefecture, central Japan.

Rice from the paddy is normally used in the "Niinamesai" first harvest celebration ceremony, an annual ritual at the palace. This year, the ceremony is replaced by "Daijosai," the first Niinamesai performed by a new emperor. Rice from Tochigi Prefecture, eastern Japan, and the western prefecture of Kyoto will be used for the Daijosai ritual by Emperor Naruhito, set for Nov. 14-15.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press