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A look back at the Japanese royal year


As 2019 comes to a close, we taking a look back at the Japanese royal year that was dominated by the abdication of Emperor Akihito and enthronement of their new emperor, Naruhito.


Emperor Akihito delivers final New Year’s address

Princess Mako’s fiancé says financial problems solved


New titles for the Japanese Emperor and Empress are revealed for after abdication

State Department photo by William Ng/Public Domain


Emperor of Japan begins first rituals for abdication

Japan’s Prince Hisahito graduates from elementary school

Embed from Getty Images

Japan’s Princess Kako graduates from university and expresses wish that her sister be happy

Emperor of Japan continues with ceremonial rites ahead of abdication with visit to tomb of first emperor


Japan announces Reiwa as era name for Crown Prince Naruhito’s reign

Embed from Getty Images

Prince Hisahito enters junior high aiming “to lead a fulfilling student life”

Knives found at Prince Hisahito’s school desk days before abdication

Emperor Akihito abdicates the Chrysanthemum Throne

NHK Screenshot/Fair Use


Emperor Naruhito delivers first speech as Emperor of Japan

NHK Screenshot/Fair Use

Emperor Naruhito takes part in inheritance ceremony

Empress Masako conducts first official duties since Emperor’s enthronement

Emperor and Empress of Japan welcome President Trump as part of their first state visit

Official White House Photo by Andea Hanks

New Emperor of Japan hosts first state banquet of reign

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead


Empress Emerita Michiko undergoes cataract surgery

Marriage prospects unknown for Japan’s Princess Mako

Public domain via Wikimedia Commons


Emperor Emeritus Akihito suffers bout of cerebral anaemia due to fatigue

Japanese panel set to discuss possibility of females reigning in own right


Former Princess Ayako expecting first child in autumn

Embed from Getty Images

Empress Emerita Michiko diagnosed with breast cancer

Young heirs of Bhutanese and Japanese thrones meet during latter’s first official foreign visit

Prince Hisahito and Prince Jigme Wangchuck. Photo: Royal Office for Media


Empress Emerita Michiko to have breast cancer surgery on Sunday

Empress Emerita Michiko’s breast cancer completely removed


Ritual enthronement ceremonies begin in rainy Tokyo

Enthronement Ceremony for Emperor Naruhito takes place

NHK/Fair Use

Emperor and Empress of Japan host tea for royal guests


Emperor and Empress of Japan take part in Imperial Procession to mark enthronement

NHK/Fair Use

Emperor Naruhito spends the night with sun goddess as final part of enthronement ritual

Former Princess Ayako of Takamado gives birth to a boy

The Japanese Imperial family may be expanded by law


Crown Prince of Japan urges his daughter to update Japanese people regarding her wedding

Embed from Getty Images

Empress Emerita Michiko in poor health

About author

Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. Her love of royals began in middle school, and she's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites.