Emperor Akihito has begun the abdication rituals today at the Shinto shrine. Today marks the final day of the Heisei imperial era. Tomorrow, Japan’s new era, Reiwa begins.
The 85-year-old Emperor was dressed in traditional clothing as he entered the Shrine of Kashikodokoro to report his abdication. The traditional robes worn by the Emperor are similar to those worn back in 1990 when he ascended the throne.
Footage of the ritual, which took place on the grounds of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, was aired on NHK in Japan. The abdication later today will be aired live for the Japanese people to watch.
The Taiirei Seiden no Gi abdication ceremony will take place at 5:00 pm local time on 30 April with around 300 guests in attendance including Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe and his cabinet. 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.
After his abdication, Emperor Akihito, 85, will be known as Emperor Emeritus and his wife, Empress Michiko, Empress Emerita. He will be the first Japanese emperor to abdicate in two centuries.