Japan’s new emperor Naruhito has announced in the presence of about 2000 dignitaries from around the world in a ceremony of ancient tradition, his enthronement.
He assures, in accordance with the Constitution, his responsibilities as a symbol of the state and the unity of the Japanese people to fulfill, said the 59-year-old on Tuesday from the 6.5-meter-high, covered throne of his palace down. The monarch wore a brown-orange robe of centuries-old design.
The 30-minute ceremony titled “Sokuirei Seiden no gi” (Ceremony for the Emperor’s accession to the throne) corresponds to the coronation ceremonies in other countries.
The ceremony was the culmination of a series of succession rituals that began in May, when Naruhito succeeded his father Akihito. Akihito was for about 200 years, the first emperor of Japan, who freed the throne during his lifetime for his successor. Due to rain, the colorful arrangement of bow and sword carriers, drummers and gong players that had actually been planned on the courtyard of the palace had to be relocated to the interior of the palace. Only high festive flags were lined up outside.
The Emperor initially avoided his eyes behind a curtain of his imposing, octagonal Takamikura throne, on which his father Akihito had once begun his 30-year reign. His wife, Empress Masako, dressed in a sumptuous twelve-ply kimono, took a seat on her adjacent Michodai throne, also behind a curtain.
Court officials placed two of the imperial throne insignia next to the emperor’s throne: a sword and the so-called crooked jewels, which according to legend, the imperial dynasty received from the sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami. According to myths, Japan’s emperors are the immediate descendants of the sun goddess Amaterasu. No one, not even the emperor, is allowed to look at the throne insignia, which are in protective covers. Their content is too sacred to that.
Then the curtains were opened and the imperial couple rose. In his hand the monarch held a ceremonial staff. A court official took the staff from him, and the Oberhof marshal gave a speech to the Emperor. Naruhito opened the text and read his speech. Shortly thereafter, the right-wing conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a short speech in front of the emperor’s elevated throne. At the end he had the emperor with a three times “Banzai” (tens of thousands of years) live up.
The attendees agreed. Dignitaries from more than 170 countries followed the ceremony of rooms and corridors of the palace on screens. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and British Crown Prince Charles were also invited to the palace in Tokyo. At the end of the ceremony, the curtain of the imperial throne was closed, which ended the ceremony. Later followed by banquets.
In pouring rain, the monarch had visited the shrines “Kashikodokoro”, “Koreiden” and “Shinden” in the morning (local time). At the religious ceremony, he informed the deities that in the afternoon he would announce to the dignitaries from home and abroad that his regency was to begin.
The regency of Emperor Naruhito bears the motto “Reiwa”. Officially this is translated as “beautiful harmony”. According to the pacifist post-war constitution, the Kaiser is limited to the role of a symbol of the state. He can not comment on political issues.