TOKYO: Japanese Emperor Naruhito began ceremonies to formally proclaim his enthronement on Tuesday in a centuries-old ritual attended by dignitaries from more than 180 countries.
Naruhito, 59, and his Harvard-educated wife Empress Masako, 55, took over in May in a brief, tradition-filled ceremony but Tuesday’s “Sokui no Rei” is a more elaborate ritual in which he officially announces his change in status to the world.
The celebratory mood for what has been proclaimed a national holiday has been tempered by Typhoon Hagibis, which tore through Japan 10 days ago. The typhoon killed at least 80 people and prompted the postponement of a planned celebratory parade.
Congratulatory banners were flying at some subway stations and street corners, but the public response was a far cry from the celebrations in May when Naruhito’s accession coincided with an unusual ten-day holiday period.
Small groups of people waited at the Imperial Palace gate on Tuesday in pouring rain, waving Japanese flags and cheering a smiling Naruhito as he entered by car.
The first Japanese emperor born after World War Two, Naruhito acceded to the throne when his father, Akihito, became the first Japanese monarch to abdicate in two centuries after worrying that advancing age might make it hard to perform official duties.
“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 waiting in front of the palace.
Naruhito began the day’s ceremonies by reporting his enthronement to his imperial ancestors at one of three shrines on the palace grounds, dressed in a black headdress and pure white robes with a long train borne by an attendant.
He was followed later by Empress Masako, dressed in 12-layered white robes and attended by two women in violet robes to arrange her train.
For the main ceremony, Naruhito will wear a traditional burnt-orange robe and headdress, as his father did nearly three decades ago. It will start at 1:00 p.m. (0400 GMT) at the Imperial Palace’s Matsu no ma, or Hall of Pine, the most prestigious space in the palace.
He will declare his enthronement from the “Takamikura” – a 6.5 meter (21 feet) high pavilion that weighs about 8 tonnes – with an ancient sword and a jewel, two of the so-called Three Sacred Treasures, placed beside him.
Together with a mirror called Yata-no-Kagami, which is kept at the Ise Grand Shrine, the holiest site in Japan’s Shinto religion, the three treasures comprise the regalia that symbolizes the legitimacy of the emperor.
Masako will also take part in the ceremony, gaining her own throne while wearing 12-layered robes and an elaborate hairstyle.
Akihito pledged during his own ceremony in 1990 to observe Japan’s pacifist constitution and fulfill his duty as a symbol of the state and for the unity of the people. Naruhito promised to follow his father’s path and observers have noted he has so far made only small changes.
“It’ll be nice if the new emperor will be as kind hearted as the former emperor and stay close to the people,” said Ryoya Suzuki, 25, in front of the palace.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to deliver a congratulatory speech before guests including Britain’s Prince Charles, who with then-wife Princess Diana attended Akihito’s enthronement, as well as U.S. Transport Secretary Elaine Chao. Myanmar civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi is also expected to take part.
A court banquet will be held on Tuesday night, before Naruhito and Masako host a tea party for foreign royalty on Wednesday afternoon.
A celebratory parade has been postponed until Nov. 10 while the government devotes its attention to coping with the aftermath of the typhoon. Still, NHK national broadcaster said there were 26,000 police providing security on Tuesday.
LOS ANGELES: Walt Disney Co will present its proposal for a phased reopening of its Orlando, Florida, theme parks to a local task force on Wednesday, the company said in a statement. Disney closed theme parks around the world starting in January to help prevent the spread of the nove Read More...
KATHMANDU: All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) President Karma Tsering Sherpa during a video interview said that nationality is weak in the Madhesi community. ANFA President Sherpa, during the interview with Durbin Nepal, made the controversial remark that Madhesi community needed a lesson on n Read More...
BIRGUNJ: As many as 350 Nepali citizens who had been living in quarantine facilities in India have been let into the country through Raxaul-Birgunj border point, on Wednesday. Of the total returnees, 222 were pilgrims visiting Vaishno Devi in Jammu Kashmir and had been quarantined in Katra quaran Read More...
RAUTAHAT: The number of COVID-19 positive cases crossed hundred with 35 people testing positive for the infection in Rautahat district, on Wednesday. Among the new cases, eight people have been infected in Gaur Municipality, 16 in Ishanath Municipality, two in Dewahi Gonahi Municipality, two in K Read More...
Hundreds take to Hong Kong streets in protest Protesters chant "Liberate Hong Kong" Beijing broadens security plan - media National Anthem bill carries 3 yrs jail, HK$50,000 fine HONG KONG: Hong Kong riot police fired pepper pellets to disperse protesters in the heart of the global f Read More...
NEW DELHI/SRINAGAR: A Himalayan border standoff between old foes India and China was triggered by India’s construction of roads and air strips in the region as it competes with China's spreading Belt and Road initiative, Indian observers said on Tuesday. Soldiers from both sides have been campe Read More...
More than 5.6 million people have been reported infected with the novel coronavirus globally and 349,555 have died, a Reuters tally shows. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019. The Americas have em Read More...
Previous experience from Ebola epidemic in Liberia has already proven that discontinuing heath services unrelated to epidemic response resulted in more deaths than the epidemic itself. Most of the reproductive health services are time sensitive and further delay or denial in seeking services can inc Read More...