I cannot find a clear difference between these two kanji:
勅 : Imperial decree (みことのり、ショウ)
詔 : Imperial edict (みことのり、チョク)
The English definitions for "decree" and "edict" are so similar, I think the only main difference I could pinpoint was that "decree" had the aspect of formality (although it seems to me that an edict is also formal)
edict: noun 1) a decree issued by a sovereign or other authority. 2) any authoritative proclamation or command.
decree: noun 1) a formal and authoritative order, especially one having the force of law.
(You will notice "decree" is used to define "edict"...)
The Japanese definitions of these kanji are also similar, but I'm not adept enough to read into the subtleties:
勅: １ 天子の命令。天皇の言葉。また、それを記した文書。みことのり。 ２ 尊貴の者からの命令。
The second definition for
勅 says it could be used to mean orders from people beneath the level of the Emperor.
So my question are these kanji just interchangeable synonyms that mean
天子の命令, or is there a definite difference (other than the secondary definition)? Normally I would write them off as synonyms, but I feel that there are often specific words for things when dealing with traditional Japanese customs, etc.