The new Japanese Emperor Naruhito proclaims this Tuesday, October 22, his rise to the throne of chrysanthemum during several sumptuous ceremonies related to Shinto, the first religion of the Japanese.
With our correspondent in Tokyo, Frédéric Charles
In the presence of more than 2,000 guests and representatives of more than a hundred countries, the Emperor of Japan honored tradition on Tuesday. Among the personalities present: Prince Charles of England, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
At a first ceremony held in camera in the imperial palace, Emperor Naruhito informed his ancestors of his enthronement to begin with the sun goddess Amaterasu, who gave birth to the imperial family according to the founding myths of Japan. The "Tenno" was dressed in a white suit with a wide train and a black hat surmounted by a ridge 60 cm high.
Japan is giving itself a new imperial couple open to the outside world, speaking several languages. Empress Masako, an ex-diplomat, spent her youth abroad, she speaks French very well.
A modern imperial couple
But this modern imperial couple, respectful of gender equality - Masako, for example, does not stand back from her husband like the previous empresses - must submit to religious rituals. Because in Shinto , the first religion of the Japanese, the emperor is considered a kind of Japanese pope, an intermediary between men and the hereafter.
The total cost of the ceremonies is estimated at 247 million euros and this provokes criticism within the imperial family. The younger brother of the emperor, Akishino, publicly questioned the use of so much public money for imperial rites.
Especially since these rites, he adds, are related to Shinto. The Japanese Bishops' Conference is also concerned by this violation of the constitutional principles of separation between the state and religion.
►To read too: Shinto, private rituals but a state affair