C. Peter Wagner on the Japanese Emperor and the Succubus

Bruce Wilson digs out a video of neo-Pentecostal “spiritual warfare” theorist C. Peter Wagner talking about Japan in the early 1990s, and why the Sun Goddess Amaterasu is the “harlot” from the Book of Revelation:

Japan, as a nation, is one of the nations of the world which has consciously, openly, invited national demonization.  And they do this though what’s called the Daijosai ceremony…where when a new Emperor comes in to power…And as a part of this ceremony the Emperor goes to this specially chosen…place…He eats rice that has been planted and harvested and chosen through witchcraft. And at a certain time that night the Sun Goddess visits him in person, and has sexual intercourse with the Emperor…So the emperor becomes one flesh with the sun goddess…There is a certain spiritual phenomenon…that’s called succubus…Since the present emperor slept with the Sun Goddess the stock market in Japan has gone down, never come up since. This has been a disastrous year, the first year the rice harvest failed, the first Japan has ever had to import rice.

Wagner also explains that the previous emperor turned away from this after World War Two, with the result that many people were “saved”, but that he re-established links later on.

This is vintage Wagner: he takes a ritual from another culture and reads into it exactly what he wants to find and seizes opportunistically on current affairs as evidence of spiritual causality. Several obvious questions come to mind: if Hirohito had re-established links with the Sun Goddess, why would Akihito’s 1989 accession have had any particular effect? Why did Japan enjoy increasing growth and prosperity during Hirohito’s final decades? Why has there been no repeat of the one-off 1993 rice harvest failure (which saw a 36% drop in production and was easily explained as due to bad weather)?

And what of the Daijosai ritual itself? It’s very ancient, and much of the symbolism around it is today obscure. Scholar Carmen Blacker explains that:

Wars, rebellions, and impoverishment of the imperial house led to periods, longer or shorter, of dicintinuance. The longest lapse lasted for more than two centuries, from 1466 to 1687, when civil war and its aftermath prevented its performance. During this long gap much of the tradition surrounding the ritual was lost.

One interpretation suggests that it is a rite of passage through which the Emperor is reborn as the child of the Goddess. Part of the ceremony involves a bed-like object, called a shinza. However, the shinza is not touched, the emperor does not lie on it, and its meaning is unknown. Blacker observes:

An intriguing variey of theories have been advanced to account for its presence. It has been seen as a throne, as a marriage bed, a symbol of the Sun Goddess, a resting-place for a visiting god, a refuge where the emperor may receive the soul of his ancestors. (1)

For Wagner, this leaves the way clear to impose a salacious and prurient interpretation based around ritual sex, presumably in order to evoke Western ideas of Satanism.

Wagner’s talk is introduced by Jack Hayford, who heads the famous neo-Penteocostal Church of the Way in Van Nuys, California; somewhat weirdly, Hayford’s intro is accompanied by the kind of muzak you might hear in a corporate training video. Following Wagner, Bruce gives us a couple of clips of Paul McGuire, a Christian Zionist associated with the same church who propounds a crackpot conspiracy theory about occultists cloning a “master race”  and creating body parts for the “super rich” in secret underground laboratories.

(1) See “The Shinza or God-seat in the Daijosai: Throne, Bed or Incubation Couch?” in The Collected Writings of Carmen Blacker (Routledge 2000)