Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan have welcomed their first state guests since the Emperor’s enthronement earlier this month.
The first state visit to Japan of the Reiwa era was from the United States of America where President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump travelled to the Asian nation to meet with the government and the Imperial Family.
The Emperor and Empress welcomed President and Mrs Trump to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Monday morning.
As part of the traditional gift exchange, the US President presented the Emperor – a keen viola player – with an American-made 1938 viola and an autographed photo of American composer Aaron Copland. The Emperor gave Trump traditional Japanese pottery and a porcelain bowl.
The First Lady and Empress also exchanged gifts with Mrs Trump giving Harvard educated Empress Masako a White House desk set and fountain pen made from a red oak tree located at Harvard. The Empress gave Mrs Trump an ornamental box decorated with Japanese designs.
Their Imperial Majesties also gave signed photos of themselves to the presidential couple as part of the tradition of the Imperial House.
The official welcome was full of pomp and ceremony with the President and Emperor walking down a red carpet, and President Trump reviewing the troops. The welcome ceremony included many Japanese school children waving the American and Japanese flags.
A state banquet, hosted by Emperor Naruhito, will be held this evening at the Imperial Palace for the President and First Lady. The state visit concludes tomorrow.
Emperor Naruhito ascended the throne on 1 May after his father, Emperor Emeritus Akihito – as he is now known – abdicated the previous day. He was the first Japanese emperor to abdicate in over 200 years. With the abdication, the Heisei era came to a conclusion and the Reiwa era began.