Banners waved in the breeze, beaconing the era of “Reiwa” or “beautiful harmony” to celebrate the rise of a new emperor.
Japan welcomes the Reiwa imperial era Wednesday with the rise of its new emperor, Naruhito, 59, following the abdication of former Emperor Akihito who announced the end a 30-year-long reign Tuesday
Banners waved in the breeze, beaconing the era of “Reiwa” or “beautiful harmony” during an unprecedented 10-day holiday, an extension of the annual spring holiday: Golden Week.
In the first stage of Naruhito's accession ceremony, imperial chamberlains placed the state and privy seals, along with cases containing two of Japan’s “Three Sacred Treasures” — a sword, a jewel, and a mirror — on desks in front of the new emperor as proof of his rightful succession.
The ceremony was observed by a small group including adult male royalty and representatives of the three branches of the government, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet.
Given the backgrounds of Naruhito and his wife, Masako, a 55-year-old former diplomat, which include extended experience studying and living overseas, hopes are high that they may be more international in their outlook and closer to the lives of many Japanese.
The former Crown Prince is the first emperor born post-World War II after ascending the Chrysanthemum Throne which he considered a very “solemn” occasion.
Emperor Akihito, 85, and Empress Michiko stepped down Tuesday after three decades as the nation’s top royals in a brief, simple ceremony, with Akihito thanking the people of Japan and saying he prayed for peace.
As the first emperor to rise to power after World War II, Akihito’s dynasty was dedicated to healing, peace, and progress for Japan.
Akihito, 85, was the first monarch to take the Chrysanthemum Throne under a post-war constitution that defines the emperor as a symbol of the people without political power. His abdication is the first in two centuries.
His father, Hirohito, under whose name Japanese troops fought during World War II, was considered a living deity even after Japan's defeat in 1945, when he renounced his divinity.