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Emperor Akihito abdicates the Chrysanthemum Throne

End of an era in Japan

Emperor Akihito, 85, has officially abdicated the Chrysanthemum Throne in a live ceremony “Taiirei Seiden no Gi” aired on Japanese television.

The quick 10-minute ceremony took place at 5.00 pm local time in the State Room of the Imperial Palace where around 300 guests were in attendance including Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe and his cabinet. Members of the Imperial Family in attendance were Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito, Crown Princess Masako, Prince Akishino, and Princess Kiko.

The Emperor entered the room behind the senior Imperial Household Agency members; the chamberlains followed carrying the Imperial Regalia – a sacred sword and jewel.

State and Privy Seals were also brought in. he Imperial Regalia and seals were placed on stands.

The Imperial Regalia is removed at the end of the ceremony. Screenshot NHK/Fair Use

Prime Minister Abe delivered an address to the Japanese people before Emperor Akihito spoke to his subjects for the final time as Emperor of Japan.

In his remarks, the Emperor said, “I am deeply grateful for the people that accepted me as a symbol and supported me.

“Along with the Empress consort, I hope from my heart the Reiwa era will be peaceful and fruitful, and I hereby pray for the well-being and happiness of our country and people of the world.”

Emperor Akihito leaves the State Room. Screenshot NHK/Fair Use

The Emperor added that he “wished Japan and the world peace and prosperity.”

Tomorrow, the Kenji to Shokei no Gi ceremony for the new Emperor will take place on 1 May at 10:30 am. At 11:10 am, the Sokuigo Choken no Gi ceremony will take place where Emperor Naruhito will meet representatives of the people for the first time in his new role.

Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako during the ceremony. They are now Emperor and Empress. NHK/Fair Use

Earlier today, Emperor Akihito, dressed in traditional clothing, entered the Shrine of Kashikodokoro to report his abdication.

Today marks the final day of the Heisei imperial era. Tomorrow, Japan’s new era, Reiwa begins.

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