(UPDATED, as of 2:50 P.M., October 22) It was a big day of celebration in Japan as Naruhito, the 126th ruler on the Chrysanthemum throne, ascended officially as Emperor of Japan in front of 2,000 guests, with dignitaries and heads of state from 183 countries.
The Japanese Imperial family prides itself on more than 2,000 of history. This year’s imperial transition was particularly significant due to the abdication of Emperor Akihito on April 30. This was the first abdication in more than 200 years, and gave way to Naruhito, who officially became the Emperor of the new Reiwa Era on May 1, 2019.
Although the ceremony in May was largely aimed at a Japanese audience in formal western clothing, the pomp and circumstance that took place six months later on Tuesday, October 22, was very much a way of announcing the new Emperor to the world in Japanese style.
On the morning of Tuesday, at about 9 A.M., Naruhito was already engaged in preparatory rituals to announce the impending enthronement ceremony to the deity Amaterasu. Wearing a pure white kimonos, Emperor Naruhito and his wife Masako, were seen at the Three Palace Sanctuaries within the imperial grounds, and then heading to the Kashidokoro.
The enthronement ceremony, Sokui-Seiden-no-Gi, began at 1 P.M. on October 22, featuring the Jewel and the Sword, two of the three imperial regalia used in formal occasions.
The highlight of the ceremony featured the Emperor wearing a kimono with a color that only the ruler of Japan can wear, and the Empress wearing a 12-layered kimono, ascending the special thrones, the Takamikura and Michoudai, respectively.
Naruhito in his speech, declared the following:
I pledge hereby that I shall act according to the Constitution and fulfill my responsibility as the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people of Japan, while always wishing for the happiness of the people and the peace of the world, turning my thoughts to the people and standing by them.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave a congratulatory address to the new Emperor of Japan, declaring:
We, the Japanese people as one, recognize the Emperor as the symbol of Japan and the Japanese people. With our heart filled with hope in a time of peace, we will strive towards a brilliant future Japan can be proud of. We will do our best for people’s hearts to come together in beautifully, and create an era where culture can prosper.
Prime Minister Abe followed the address by three calls of “Banzai!” — used in this context much in the same way as "God save the king!"
According to NHK national broadcasting agency, the originally planned 78 people who were supposed to wear the traditional ceremonial kimono were reduced by 25 due to the rain.
In the evening around 7.20 P.M., the celebratory banquet is set to take place with over 2,000 invitees.
Author: JAPAN Forward