Koshohajime (New Year lecture in the court) (講書始)
Koshohajime (New Year lecture in the court) is an annual event of the Imperial court in which Shinko (Scholars give a lecture or explain achievements to the Emperor, the Empress, and the nobility) is given by scholars as a part of the Emperor's start of learning in January every year.
It is said that the oldest Koshohajime was the event in which at Shogosho (Small Palace) of Kyoto Imperial palace "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan) was lectured by Misao TAMAMATSU representing Japanese books and "Rongo" (Analects of Confucius) by Tadanaga HIGASHIBOJO (Daigaku no kami) representing Chinese classic books. At that time it was also called Go-Koshaku-Hajime (start of the narration of a story). In 1872 the present name was determined and in the following year it was decided that the Empress would attend and that Shinko on Western books also would be given. At the present day not only Empress, but also Crown Prince, Imperial Princes, their wives and Imperial Princesses also attend the Shinko.
It formally became a court function when Koshitsu-rei (the Imperial Families' Act) Taisho Period Article 5 was issued in 1926. After World War II it was decided to replace Japanese books, Chinese classic books and Western books by cultural science, social science, and natural science and to invite the representative authorities of these three fields.
The recent summary
The 2008's Koshohajime took place in the Imperial Palace on January 10. The attendees were Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, Imperial Prince Naruhito, Imperial Prince Akishinonomiya Fumihito, and Princess Kiko, the wife of Imperial Prince Fumihito. The Shinko was given for about 15 minutes on each field, and for a total of about 45 minutes.
In the field of cultural science, 'SAIGYO and Ise Province' by Jun KUBOTA.
In the field of social science, 'Is Social Order Determined by Rules or Models?' by Tamito YOSHIDA.
In the field of natural science, 'The Ecology of Influenza Virus' by Hiroshi KIDA.