Japan uses turtle divination for emperor enthronement rites

Japan uses turtle divination for emperor enthronement rites
In this photo released by Imperial Household Agency of Japan, an imperial turtle-shell divination rite is held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo Monday, May 13, 2019. Japanese palace officials have used an ancient turtle-shell divination to choose sites to harvest sacred rice used in an upcoming annual ritual, the most important one new Emperor Naruhito will perform after enthronement. (Imperial Household Agency of Japan via AP)

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese palace officials have used an ancient turtle-shell divination to choose sites to harvest sacred rice used in an upcoming harvest ritual — the most important one new Emperor Naruhito will perform after enthronement.

Naruhito succeeded the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1, the day after his father, Akihito, abdicated.

The mid-November Daijosai, or Great Thanksgiving Ceremony, will be Naruhito’s first as emperor to pray for a good harvest for his people.

Palace officials in traditional outfit in Monday’s turtle divination chose Kyoto in western Japan and Tochigi in the east to grow the rice. They burned a turtle shell and analyzed cracks that appeared on it to determine the sites.

The government-funded Shinto ritual is a divisive one that opponents say could violate the constitutional separation of religion and state.