There are many rituals surrounding the placement of a new Japanese Emperor on the Chrysanthemum Throne. Perhaps the most peculiar is the would-be emperor’s encounter with aquasi-sacred, 1300-year-old bronze mirror, the Yata no Kagami. This object, which embodies ‘wisdom’, is so enigmatic the aspirant emperor isn’t even allowed to see it; instead, functionaries are sent to assure the mirror of the new emperor’s fidelity. Some historians believe the mirror no longer exists, and was lost in a fire in Honshu’s Ise Shrine, 980 years ago.
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