When it comes to the Imperial regalia, westerners should not think in terms of fabulously valuable jewels but rather in terms of holy relics; objects which are literally priceless, ancient and which have a spiritual rather than a monetary value attached to them. As the Japanese monarchy is the oldest in the world it is also not surprising that the Imperial regalia of Japan is the most ancient as well, having been in the possession of the Japanese Imperial Family for over a thousand years, longer than most any other monarchy in the world has even existed. The basic Imperial regalia, what westerners would call “Crown jewels” in their own countries, are finally only three specific items and these three items are about as mysterious as they are ancient. It is no exaggeration at all to say that these three pieces of Imperial regalia are absolutely THE most sacred and revered objects in all of Japanese history. In fact, they are held so precious that they are almost never in the same place at one time. In fact, they are kept under close guard in the strictest of secrecy, hidden in shrines far away from each other in diverse parts of Japan and are only brought together for the enthronement ceremonies of a new Emperor. In fact, they are kept in such strict and reverent isolation that, at various times, some people have wondered if they actually even exist. The level of spiritual significance attached to these items is so great that they have never been sketched or photographed and only a very select few of the highest Shinto priests and the Emperor himself have ever even seen them.
|Speculative images of the Imperial regalia|
|The Great Shrine of Ise -and that is as close as you get|