Sunday, August 7, 2016

Japan's Imperial Etiquette History

To the American Ex-Attaché, a "gruesome pantomime" was enacted at the time of the death in Formosa of the Japanese Prince  — Japanese Imperial Prince Kitashirakawa 
Ex-Attaché on Mourning Customs


Comparing Royal Court Mourning customs between the Orient and Occident, an ex foreign attaché reports on a "gruesome pantomime" that was enacted at the time of the death in Formosa of the Japanese Imperial Prince and Field Marshal Kitashirakawa, so well known in this country. 

"Japanese court etiquette requires that no official information of the death of a member of the reigning family shall be made until after the celebration of certain mortuary ceremonies in his or her own palace. The dead Prince was therefore brought all the way back from Formosa to Tokio as a live man. 

The general order announcing his departure to the troops bore what purported to be his signature. The man-of-war that conveyed his corpse to Japan flew no emblems of mourning as its masthead. Meals were served in the cabin where the dead Prince lay, and military and naval reports were made to his deaf ear every morning and evening just as if he were alive. 

On reaching port he was disembarked with naval and military honors and arrayed in a uniform of field marshal, was seated in a saloon carriage on the railroad, his staff taking their places around him. Arriving at Tokio he was conveyed not to a hearse, but to a state coach, seated in which, and surrounded by a cavalry escort, he was driven to his palace. Only on the following day did the government issue the public and official announcement of his death." — 1897


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