On New Year's Day 1946, the Emperor of Japan, in a radio broadcast to his people, renounced his divinity and became a mortal man. Although Hirohito had long questioned his ancestry to Amaterasu the sun goddess when the imperial line was founded in 660BC, the announcement came as a shock to many. Just before making the speech Hirohito took one final sip of tea and began to speak. This unrecognised act made the cup the last vessel on earth to be touched by the hand of a god.
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