Japan uses turtle divination for emperor enthronement rites

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.