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Enthronement ceremony in Japan

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon represented Norway at a ceremony in Tokyo today to mark the enthronement of His Majesty the Emperor Naruhito as successor to His Majesty the Emperor Akihito.


The formal ceremony took place at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Wearing a dark orange robe, Emperor Naruhito entered and took his position on a baldachin throne six-and-a-half metres in height. From the throne, the Emperor delivered a speech proclaiming that the Imperial transition had taken place. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe congratulated the Emperor and his family. Empress Masako observed the ceremony from a throne to the side.

The formal enthronement ceremony is called Sokuirei-Seiden-no-gi. Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi / Reuters / NTB scanpix

Ceremonial officials carried swords and bows while musicians drummed and struck gongs. 


The last time this ceremony took place in Japan was in November 1990, when Emperor Akihito took over upon the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito.

Emperor Akihito abdicated in favour of his eldest son on 30 April of this year. It was the first time in more than 200 years that a sitting emperor had abdicated. The Japanese government determined that today’s ceremony should follow the tradition of 1990.

Emperor Naruhito is the 126th Japanese Emperor. Photo: Issei Kato / Reuters / NTB scanpix

From around the world

Representatives of more than 180 countries were in attendance in Tokyo.
Crown Prince Haakon represented Norway during today’s ceremony. His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf and Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark were also in attendance. Her Majesty The Queen of the United Kingdom was represented by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

Other members of royalty in attendance were the King and Queen of Spain, the King and Queen of the Netherlands, the King and Queen of Belgium, the King and Queen of Jordan, the King and Queen of Bhutan, the King of Cambodia, the King of Tonga, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, the Hereditary Prince of Lichtenstein, the Prince of Monaco, the Sultan of Brunei, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince of Bahrain and the Sultan of Malaysia.

Currently it is evening in Japan, and the Emperor and the Empress are holding a gala banquet in honour of their guests from around the world.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain arrive at the gala banquet. Photo: Pierre Emmanuel Deletree / Reuters / NTB scanpix

World’s oldest

The Japanese Imperial Family represents what is considered the oldest hereditary monarchy in the world, dating back to Emperor Jimmu in 660 BCE. Emperor Naruhito is the 126th Emperor in the order of succession.

Princess Mako arrives at the ceremony. Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi / Reuters / NTB scanpix   

With the abdication of Emperor Akihito, Japan entered a new historical era. Emperor Naruhito’s reign is termed the Reiwa era, which means “beautiful harmony”. Under the Japanese constitution, the Chrysanthemum Throne can only be inherited by men. Because the Emperor and Empress have a daughter, it is the Emperor’s brother, Fumihito, who has become the country’s new Crown Prince.

Japan’s new heir to the throne, Crown Prince Fumihito, arrives at the ceremony. Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi / Reuters / NTB scanpix

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