The Imperial Household Agency is arranging plans for the Takamikura throne to travel from Kyoto to Tokyo by land in order to undergo repairs ahead of the Crown Prince Naruhito’s coronation to the Chrysanthemum Throne next year, senior agency officials said on Friday.
The huge canopied throne weighing 8-tonnes and measuring 6.5 metres high is expected to be transported by a private company to receive repairs at the Imperial Palace in time for the state ritual where the Crown Prince is to ascend upon the structures elevated platform and proclaim his enthronement in front of representatives from Japan and abroad.
The ceremony will be a key event among a number of enthronement rites to be held in 2019 for the Crown Prince, 58, who will succeed to the throne the day after his father, Emperor Akihito abdicates on 30th April 2019.
Emperor Akihito, who has undergone heart surgery and treatment from prostate cancer, expressed his desire to step down in a video message in 2016 due to concerns about his advanced age and weakening health preventing him from fulfilling his duties. The 84-year-old will be the first emperor to abdicate in more than 200 years.
Crown Prince Naruhito will be the 126th Emperor of Japan, the world’s oldest hereditary monarchy, believed to have been established more than 2,600 years ago, including legendary figures whose existence has been disputed.
The use of the throne is believed to have begun during the 8th century and is housed in the Shishinden hall at the Kyoto Imperial Palace.
Some damage has been found to the throne’s lacquer finish and degradation of its gold work.
The government is to spend around ¥500 million from the state’s budget through March 2019 for the transportation and repair of the throne.
The disassembling of the throne by the agency will take place as early as June to load the various parts onto several trucks for transportation to Tokyo where repairs will take place over a six-month period at the Imperial Palace.
Once the repair work is complete, the various parts of the throne will be moved to the Matsu no Ma stateroom (Drawing Room) of the Imperial Palace, where the ceremony will be held.
The agency plans to begin reassembling the structure around September next year.
The Michodai throne, currently kept at the Kyoto palace and which will be used by Crown Princess Masako in the ceremony is also expected to undergo similar repairs in Tokyo.