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The Three Sacred Treasures of Japan

How It's Used

"Toughs [in postwar Japan] flaunted their defiance of 'good' society by attiring themselves in what became known as their 'three sacred regalia,' an irreverent takeoff on the sanctified regalia of the emperor. In place of the imperial mirror, sword, and jewel, they were identified by their predilection for aloha shirts, nylon belts, and rubber-soled shoes."

John W. Dower, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II, (New York: W.W. Norton, 1999), p. 146.

"One of the curiosities of Shinto is that the Japanese felt that the kami expected constant regeneration, and at regular intervals they destroyed the 53 key shrines, and most of their ritualistic furnishings. Although they were careful to rebuild them again in the traditional style few old artifacts remain. However many gifts to the temples came from powerful military families and some treasures were diplomatically preserved. The exhibition displays a rare group of swords from the 12th to the 14th century, when swords were given as temple offerings and smiths attempted to conjur up natural phenomena, such as cloud formations and distant mountains, on the blades.

"Swords were one of the Three Sacred Treasures presented to the kami of every shrine: the others were a mirror and a jewel, and mirrors and elaborately lacquered jewel boxes are also on show, along with other temple gifts—helmets, armour, minature shrines."

—Tony Thorncroft, "It all began in ancient Japan," The Financial Times, October 13, 2001.

"But last year saw the emergence of not one, but three products posting phenomenal growth—flat-panel TVs, DVD recorders and digital cameras. The 'New Three Sacred Treasures', as they have been dubbed, are expected to be the driving force of the industry for some time to come.

"The original Sacred Treasures refer to the Japanese Imperial regalia consisting of a mirror, sword and jewel, symbolising the Emperor's right to rule.

"During the late 1950s and early 1960s, the term was borrowed to describe the three products that every Japanese family then longed to have—black-and-white TV, washing machine and refrigerator."

—Kwan Weng Kin, "Japan's new sacred treasures," The Straits Times (Singapore), March 29, 2004.

Also Known As (AKA)

The Three Regalia, The Imperial Regalia of Japan


Related on eAlmanac
The Three C's of Japan

Beyond eAlmanac
Wikipedia article on the Three Sacred Treasures of Japan

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