In ancient throne ritual, Japanese emperor vows to fulfil duty

TOKYO – Japanese Emperor Naruhito formally proclaimed his ascendancy to the throne on Tuesday in a centuries-old ceremony attended by dignitaries from higher than 180 nations, pledging to fulfill his duty as a brand of the state.

Naruhito turned emperor and his partner Masako turned empress on May 1 in a brief ceremony, nevertheless, Tuesday’s “Sokui no Rei” was a additional elaborate ritual on the royal palace throughout which he formally launched his change in standing to the world.

“I swear that I will act according to the constitution and fulfill my responsibility as the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people,” the 59-year-old declared, his voice barely hoarse, in entrance of about 2,000 guests, along with Britain’s Prince Charles.

“I sincerely hope that Japan will develop further and contribute to the friendship and peace of the international community, and to the welfare and prosperity of human beings through the people’s wisdom and ceaseless efforts.”

The first Japanese emperor born after World War Two, Naruhito acceded to the throne when his father, Akihito, turned the first Japanese monarch to abdicate in two centuries after worrying that advancing age might make it laborious to perform official duties.

The long-planned celebrations, for which Japan declared a nationwide trip, have been tempered by Typhoon Hagibis, which killed a minimal of 82 people when it tore via Japan 10 days previously, and pouring rain early on Tuesday.

A public parade was postponed until a subsequent month to allow the federal authorities to commit its consideration to the storm clean-up, whereas Tuesday’s inclement local weather compelled the palace to scale back the number of courtiers in ancient robes collaborating throughout the courtyard ceremony although the skies cleared as a result of it began.


At the sound of a gong throughout the Matsu-no-Ma, or Hall of Pine, basically probably the most prestigious room throughout the palace, two courtiers bowed deeply and drew once more purple curtains on the “Takamikura” – a 6.5-meter (21 toes) extreme pavilion that weighs about 8 tonnes.

Naruhito was revealed standing in entrance of a simple throne, sporting burnt-orange robes and a black headdress, with an ancient sword and a boxed jewel, two of the so-called Three Sacred Treasures, positioned beside him.

Fifty-five-year-old Harvard-educated Empress Masako, sporting heavy 12-layered robes and with hair flowing down her once more, stood within the entrance of a smaller throne to the side. Such standard robes can weigh around 15 kilograms (33 kilos).

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered a congratulatory speech sooner than assembled dignitaries along with Crown Prince Akishino, the emperor’s youthful brother, and his family, all adorned in brightly-colored robes. Other guests included U.S. Transport Secretary Elaine Chao and Myanmar civilian chief Aung San Suu Kyi.

Abe led a trio of cheers of “banzai”, or “long life”, for the emperor, sooner than a 21-gun salute.

Naruhito had earlier entered the palace to cheers from prepared followers sooner than reporting his enthronement to his imperial ancestors at three shrines on the palace grounds, sporting pure white robes.

“As he is young and energetic with outstanding leadership, I hope he’ll support the people of Japan, which has faced continuous disasters and typhoons,” said Tomoko Shirakawa, 51, who was among the many many crowds of umbrella-clutching residents packing the world in entrance of the palace.

A courtroom banquet is due to be held on Tuesday night time, sooner than Naruhito and Masako host a tea event for worldwide royalty on Wednesday afternoon. The authorities pardoned about half 1,000,000 people convicted of petty crimes, resembling guest violations, to mark the day.

Although most people parade was postponed until Nov. 10, NHK public TV said there have been 26,000 police providing security on Tuesday.


Naruhito is unusual amongst the most recent Japanese emperors since his sole child, 17-year-old Aiko is female and as such cannot inherit the throne beneath current laws. Unless the laws are revised, the way in which ahead for the imperial family for coming generations rests as an alternative on the shoulders of his nephew, 13-year-old Hisahito, who’s second in line for the throne after his father, Crown Prince Akishino.

Naruhito’s grandfather, Hirohito, in whose establish Japanese troops fought World War Two, was dealt with as a god nevertheless renounced his divine standing after Japan’s defeat in 1945. Emperors now haven’t any political authority.

Though many Japanese welcomed the enthronement ceremony, some shrugged it off as a nuisance. There was a minimal of 1 protest with about two dozen people collaborating, a small objection in distinction to the commonly violent protests when Akihito was enthroned.

“There is no need for such an elaborate ceremony. Traffic has been restricted and it is causing inconvenience for ordinary people,” said Yoshikazu Arai, 74, a retired surgeon.

“The emperor is necessary now as a symbol of the people, but at some point, the emperor will no longer be necessary. Things will be just fine without an emperor.”

Additional reporting by Kwiyeon Ha and Linda Sieg; Editing by Paul Tait and Jane Wardell

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