Pomp and splendour at enthronement ceremony

James Kon

Today marks yet another important date for Japan as new Japanese Emperor Naruhito will proclaim his enthronement in a ceremony attended by foreign heads of state and dignitaries from nearly 200 countries at the Imperial Palace.

The ceremony, called Sokuirei Seiden no Gi in Japanese, will see the new Emperor in a traditional robe and headdress.

A parade with an Imperial Procession was planned for today after the ceremony, but in consideration of those affected by Typhoon Hagibis, it has been postponed to a later date.

The procession will allow the people of Japan to see the new Emperor and to express their good wishes.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to line up the streets to welcome the new Emperor. Tomorrow evening, a banquet, Naikaku-Soridaijin-Fusai- Shusai-Bansankai, will be hosted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his spouse in Tokyo to thank the foreign heads of state and other dignitaries for visiting Japan and to foster a greater understanding of Japan by presenting displays of traditional Japanese culture.

File photo shows Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako attending the national tree-planting festival in Owariasahi, Aichi prefecture. PHOTOS: AFP
File photo shows US President Donald Trump talking with Japan’s Emperor Naruhito while first lady Melania Trump talks with Empress Masako during their state call at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo

There will also be several Court Banquets (Kyoen-no-gi) after the Enthronement Ceremony on October 25, 29 and 31, for His Majesty the Emperor to receive congratulations from guests on his accession to the throne.

April 30, 2019 marked Japanese Emperor Akihito’s abdication of the throne in a ceremony at the Seiden State Hall (Taiirei-Seiden-no-gi) where the Emperor received in audience the representatives of the people for the last time before the abdication. The Ceremony for Inheriting the Imperial Regalia and Seals (Kenji-to-Shokei-no-gi) took place on May 1, in which the new Emperor inherited the Imperial Regalia and the State and Privy Seals upon his accession to the throne.

This was followed by the First Audience after the Accession to the Throne (Sokui-go-Choken-no-gi), in which the new Emperor meets with the representatives of the people of Japan.

In his brief speech during the Occasion of the Sokui-go-Choken-no-gi (First Audience after the Accession to the Throne) at the Seiden State Hall, May 1, 1st Year of Reiwa (2019) the new Japanese Emperor Naruhito in his address recalled, “Looking back, His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus, since acceding to the throne, performed each of his duties in earnest for more than 30 years, while praying for world peace and the happiness of the people, and at all times sharing in the joys and sorrows of the people.

“He showed profound compassion through his own bearing. I would like to express my heartfelt respect and appreciation of the comportment shown by His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus as the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people of Japan.”

In acceding to the throne, the Japanese Emperor said, “I swear that I will reflect deeply on the course followed by His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus and bear in mind the path trodden by past emperors, and will devote myself to self-improvement.

“I also swear that I will act according to the Constitution and fulfil my responsibility as the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people of Japan, while always turning my thoughts to the people and standing with them.

“I sincerely pray for the happiness of the people and the further development of the nation as well as the peace of the world.”

The Ceremony for the Proclamation of the Crown Prince (Rikkoshi-no-rei) will take place on April 19, 2020, to proclaim the enthronement of His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino as the new Crown Prince.