Imperial Regalia of Japan

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Image:Sanshu no Jingi.gif
A representation of the Imperial Regalia of Japan.

The Imperial Regalia of Japan (三種の神器 Sanshu no Jingi?), also known as the Three Sacred Treasures, consist of the sword, Kusanagi (草薙劍) (or possibly a replica of the original), the jewel or necklace of jewels, Yasakani no magatama (八尺瓊曲玉), and the mirror Yata no kagami (八咫鏡). Also known as the Three Sacred Treasures of Japan, the regalia represent the three primary virtues: valor (the sword), wisdom (the mirror), and benevolence (the jewel). These may be connected with Buddhist thought.

Due to the legendary status of these items, their locations are not confirmed, but it is commonly thought that the sword is located at Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya, the mirror is located in the Grand Shrine of Ise in Mie prefecture, and the jewel is located at Kokyo (the Imperial Palace) in Tokyo. One or more of these may not be the originals.

[edit] Tradition

Since 690, the presentation of these items to the Emperor by the priests at the shrine are a central part of the imperial enthronement ceremony. This ceremony is not public, and these items are by tradition only seen by the emperor and certain priests. Because of this, no known photographs or drawings exist.

According to legend, these artifacts were brought by Ninigi-no-Mikoto, legendary ancestor of the Japanese imperial line, when his grandmother, the Sun Goddess Amaterasu, sent him to pacify Japan. The origin of the items remain a question today. There is speculation that they are from Bronze Age China or Korea, which were among the first countries to reach Japan, where bronze was still unknown, near the threshold from prehistory to history. Traditionally, they were a symbol of the emperor's divinity as a descendant of Amaterasu, from which he derived legitimacy as paramount ruler of Japan.

According to legend, when Amaterasu hid in a cave from her brother Susanoo, thus plunging the world in darkness, the goddess Ama-no-Uzume hung the mirror and jewels outside the cave and lured her out of the cave, at which point she saw her own reflection and was startled enough that the gods could pull her out of the cave. Susanoo later presented in apology to Amaterasu the sword, Kusanagi, which he had obtained from the body of an eight-headed serpent, Orochi.

During the Northern and Southern dynasties period in the 14th century, the possession by the Southern Dynasty of the imperial regalia has led modern chroniclers to define that as the legitimate dynasty for purposes of reign names and genealogy.

In the PBS documentary "Victory in the Pacific" (2005), broadcast in the "American Experience" series, the historian Donald Miller reports that in the days after the Potsdam Declaration on July 26, 1945, the Emperor was more concerned with moving the mirror, sword, and jewel to a secure location than he was with "the destruction of his country."

[edit] The Imperial Regalia in video games

As ancient artifacts closely associated with great magical powers, the Regalia often appear in video games:

  • In Okami, the main character wields weapons (called "Divine Instruments") based on the regalia.
  • In Sailor Moon S, there was a story arc involving the recovery of the three sacred treasures. These were Sailor Uranus' Space Sword, Sailor Neptune's Aquamarine Mirror, and Sailor Pluto's Garnet Orb. These were similar in nature to the Kusanagi, Yata no kagami and the magatama respectively. The Space Sword was used in Uranus' Space Sword Blaster, the Aquamarine Mirror could dispel illusions and reveal an opponents' weaknesses, while the Garnet Orb was used to focus and activate Pluto's attacks including Dead Scream and Time Stop.
  • In the video game series Sakura Wars, there is a "shadow" version of the Sanshu no Jingi known as the "Majingi" ("Demon-Jingi"). If a person with sufficient spiritual power were to wield the Majingi, he or she would be able to channel the power of a god - or a demon - based upon what was in his or her heart. The price for such power, however, was that the wielder would soon die. The Majingi were used twice during the series - once to seal away a demon lord, and once by a villain to break that very same seal and release the demon lord- and were destroyed at the climax of Sakura Wars 2 in order to prevent any third use.

[edit] See also

Crown Jewels Image:Srpske Regalije.jpg

Austrian Crown Jewels | British Crown Jewels | Bavarian Crown Jewels | Bohemian Crown Jewels | Danish Crown Regalia | Dutch Royal Regalia | French Crown Jewels | German Crown Jewels | Greek Crown Jewels | Hungarian Crown Jewels | Imperial Regalia of the Holy Roman Empire | Iranian Crown Jewels | Honours of Scotland | Honours of Wales | Irish Crown Jewels | Imperial Regalia of Japan | Nigerian Royal Regalia | Norwegian Royal Regalia | Polish Crown Jewels | Portuguese Crown Jewels | Prussian Crown Jewels | Romanian Crown Jewels | Russian Crown Jewels | Serbian Crown Jewels | Spanish Crown Jewels | Swedish Royal Regalia | Thai Royal Regalia|

de:Throninsignien Japans

fr:Trésor impérial du Japon it:Insegne imperiali del Giappone ja:三種の神器 pl:Japońskie regalia cesarskie zh:三神器

Imperial Regalia of Japan

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