The Enthronement Ceremony for Emperor Naruhito of Japan, 59, has taken place in Tokyo.
The 30-minute ceremony took place in the most prestigious place in the Imperial Palace – Matsu no ma (or State Room) and saw the Emperor proclaim his enthronement to the world, promised to uphold the constitution, and pledged his life to Japan from the famous throne after a gong sounded and the curtain opened.
He received his speech, after a bow, from the Grand Chamberlain before reading it aloud.
“I proclaim my ascension to the throne to representatives at home and abroad,” he said. He also spoke of his father, Emperor Emeritus Akihito’s love for his country and how he always prayed for the Japanese people.
“I hereby swear that I will act according to the constitution and fulfil my responsibility as a symbol of the state while always wishing for the happiness of the world and standing with the people,” he continued.
Two of the Three Sacred Treasures (Kusanagi sword and Yasakani no Magatama jewel) sat beside Emperor Naruhito (dressed in the traditional orange “Korozen no goho”) on the “Takamikura” throne which weighs around eight tonnes and is 6.5-metre-high pavilion. Empress Masako sat by her husband, also in traditional robes.
The third of the Sacred Treasures is the Yata no Kagami mirror which stays in the Ise Grand Shrine in Mie Prefecture. The boxes containing the sword and jewel will not be opened during the ceremony, and only the Emperor and the most senior Shinto priests have seen them.
Japan’s Prime Minister next delivered a congratulatory address and the traditional “banzai” afterwards (three cheers meaning long life).
Prime Minister Abe said, in part, “I make these remarks with the greatest respects…The people of Japan come together in extending the heartiest congratulations.”
He then alluded to the Emperor’s speech, declarations, and prayers for the people saying he was “deeply touched” by his words and called the Emperor a great symbol of the state.
“I hereby pray for peace in the era of Reiwa,” he said as he concluded.
After the three cheers, a 21-gun salute sounded as the guests all stood.
The ceremony, a state occasion and national holiday, was broadcast live on Japanese television and on social media with royals and foreign dignitaries from across the globe in attendance.
Not in attendance today were the Emperor’s parents, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko, as well as Princess Yuriko (96), the widow of Emperor Naruhito’s granduncle, Prince Mikasa.
Even though it is a very rainy day in Tokyo, Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement activities continue despite the weather. Although, some changes have been made. It had originally been planned that 78 officials would line up outside the Imperial Palace today, but heavy rain caused the Imperial Household to lower the number to 25 at the last minute.
This morning, the Emperor and his wife, Empress Masako visited one of the three imperial sanctuaries where Naruhito reported his enthronement to his ancestors. Both were dressed in ancient-style kimonos. The Empress also had her hair styled in an ancient style.
Other members of the Imperial Family were in attendance, as was Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The imperial couple arrived at the Imperial Palace this morning where, despite the pouring rain, members of the Japanese public lined up outside waving the Japanese flag to greet their Emperor and Empress. The Emperor rolled his window down and waved to those awaiting his arrival.
This evening, a court banquet will take place at 7.20 pm where dignitaries, Japanese government members and spouses and judicial members will attend. At the same time, Prime Minister Abe will host a banquet at the Hotel New Otani.
Emperor Naruhito took the throne on 1 May this year upon the abdication of his father, Emperor Akihito the previous day.