Emperor Naruhito of Japan has delivered his first New Year’s speech as the Emperor of Japan.
After a devastating typhoon hit Japan in October of last year, as well as torrential rain that hit the country in 2019, Naruhito said he hopes that 2020 is a year free from disasters, “I pray that there will be no disaster this year.” He also his “heart aches as many precious lives were lost.”
He added that he hopes this year is a happy year and spoke of his relief of completing the enthronement ceremonies last year. The Emperor stressed how important it was for him and Empress Masako to meet so many Japanese people last year, “Meeting with many people from home and abroad and being given warm blessings on many occasions, the past year has been deeply moving for both the Empress [Masako] and me.”
This was the first New Year’s speech since 2017 when the practice was halted for Emperor Naruhtio’s father, now Emperor Emeritus Akihito, to reduce his workload.
Unlike his parents, Emperor Naruhito nor his wife, Empress Masako, wrote poems to be released on New Year’s Day. Due to the hectic schedule last year with enthronement ceremonies and rituals, the couple did not have the time.Embed from Getty Images
The imperial couple hosted a New Year’s reception on Wednesday at the Imperial Palace alongside the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, their two daughters (Princesses Mako and Kako) and other members of the Imperial Family.
A new family portrait was also released as part of the 2020 celebrations featuring the Emperor, Empress, their daughter Princess Aiko, Crown Prince Akishino, Crown Princess Kiko, their children Princesses Mako and Kako and Prince Hisahito, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko.