Half a year after taking office, Japan's new Emperor Naruhito has announced his enthronement to around 2,000 dignitaries from around the world. In a ceremony of ancient traditions in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, the emperor ascended the chrysanthemum throne.
Naruhito had already been appointed Tenno on 1 May. The 59-year-old becomes head of the oldest hereditary monarchy in the world. According to historians, it is 1,500 years old, and Naruhito is her 126th emperor. Previously, his father had abdicated Akihito, an unusual move for the Japanese monarchy.
Naruhito was enthroned in a 30-minute ceremony called Sokuirei Seiden no gi. The monarch - clad in a brown-and-orange robe, placed on a 6.5-meter-tall, covered throne - vowed to fulfill his responsibility as a symbol of the state and unity of the Japanese people in accordance with the constitution. At the end, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called "Banzai!" Three times. (Long live the Emperor).
Federal President Steinmeier and Prince Charles as guests
A few hours earlier, the enthronement had begun with a visit from the Emperor to the holy shrines of the palace. In pouring rain Naruhito - here dressed in a white robe - made a pilgrimage to the shrines Kashikodokoro, the Koreiden and the Shinden. He was accompanied by court officials, who wore two of the throne insignia: a sword and crooked jewels, which the legend says the imperial house was obtained from the sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami. Nobody is allowed to see these insignia, not even the emperor. The throne insignia are veiled, their content is considered too sacred to the human eye.
These ceremonies are considered to be highlights of the succession rituals that began in May. They were also prosecuted by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the British heir apparent Prince Charles.
An originally planned parade of the imperial couple in an open car through the capital, however, will not happen. The ride was delayed from 10 days to 10 November, out of consideration for the victims of Typhoon Hagibis. Then follows a final, religious ceremony in which Naruhito thanks his sun goddess for the new rice and offers her rice and sake. After that, the 59-year-old is finally included in the series of the emperor.