Japan's new emperor ascends to Chrysanthemum Throne in all-male ceremony

Japan's new emperor ascends to Chrysanthemum Throne in all-male ceremony

Kerry Wise
May 2, 2019

Crown Prince Naruhito will this morning accede the Chrysanthemum Throne after his father Akihito abdicated yesterday, in an event which hasn't occurred in the country for more than 200 years.

Japan's new Emperor Naruhito makes history at accession ceremony On Wednesday, Japan's Emperor Naruhito made history with his accession ceremony following his father Emperor Akihito's abdication of the throne.

The sun came out for a morning ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo as Naruhito became the 126th Emperor of Japan, the latest in an unbroken line that stretches back 14 centuries.

The ritual, off-limits to all royal women, saw 59-year-old Naruhito accept the regalia relinquished by his father a day earlier: a sacred sword and jewel as well as the seal of the state and the imperial seal.

Emperor Naruhito has a passion for water conservation.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in also sent salutations, urging Naruhito to remember "pain from the war" and contribute to peace like his father. Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated the new emperor, saying the two countries should work towards a bright future for bilateral ties.

President Donald Trump sent congratulations, offering "heartfelt appreciation" to the outgoing imperial couple and stressing the "close relationship" between the U.S. and Japan.

Trump's message said America and Japan will renew the bonds of friendship in the new era.

Japan's ties with its Asian neighbours have always been plagued by bitter wartime memories, and while relations with Beijing have improved lately, those with Seoul are frosty.

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In the all-male ceremony, the new emperor was given the Imperial regalia of sword and jewel as proof that the throne had been passed from father to son.

"When I think about the important responsibility I have assumed, I am filled with a sense of solemnity".

He said he will keep in mind his father's devotion to peace and stay close to the people.

When parliament in 2017 enacted a special law to allow Akihito to abdicate - itself a controversial move for conservatives - lawmakers also adopted a non-binding resolution asking the government to consider how to ensure stable succession.

Naruhito was educated at Oxford University, while his wife, Masako, is a former diplomat with a degree from Harvard.

The emperor under Japan's constitution is a symbol without political power.

Though Masako struggled with a stress-related illness described by palace officials as an "adjustment disorder" that kept her largely out of the public eye for years, her public appearances have recently increased.

On Tuesday, Akihito, 85, became the first Japanese monarch to relinquish the throne in 202 years, voluntarily stepping down due to health concerns after a three-decade reign.