Enthronement Ceremony

Japan's emperor Naruhito follows ancient ritual and vows to fulfil his duties



Japan has a new emperor since May 2019. On 22 October, Emperor Naruhito proclaimed his enthronement in a festive ceremony.


At the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, the emperor followed an ancient ritual and vowed to fulfil his duties as the 126th emperor of Japan. 2 000 guests from over 180 countries came to witness the enthronement, among them Prince Charles from the UK, King Felipe and Queen Letitia of Spain.


During the festive ceremony, the Emperor Naruhito read out a formal proclamation and then the emperor was cheered by the the prime minister and guests with the words ‘Banzai, banzai” which mean “Long live the Emperor”. The motto chosen for Naruhito’s reign is Reiwa, which stands for ‘beautiful harmony’.


“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,” Naruhito proclaimed during the ceremony.

Naruhito was dressed in an orange robe for the ceremony. His wife, Empress Masako, followed the emperor onto a smaller throne next to the Chrysanthemum Throne. The empress was dressed in a white robe which consisted of twelve lawyers.


The 59-year-old emperor succeeded his father Emperor Akihito who stepped down from the Chrysanthemum Throne in May 2019.


Emperor Naruhito is the first emperor who was raised by his parents contrary to a centuries-old tradition. His father Akihito was raised and educated only by nannies and private teachers once he turned three years old.


The new emperor is also the first Japanese emperor who studied abroad. He went to study at Oxford/UK and speaks English fluently. Emperor Naruhito is married to Empress Masako, a diplomat who was educated at Harvard/USA and they have one daughter Princess Aiko, who was born in 2001.



image: Cabinet Office of Japan/Reuters

source: Elaine Lies, Kiyoshi Takenaka. “ In ancient throne ritual, Japanese emperor vows to fulfill duty”. Reuters. 21 October 2019. Accessed 25 October 2019



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