Crowds and pomp as Japan’s new emperor to be enthroned Oct. 22

Emperor Naruhito  Photo by 江戸村のとくぞう, Wikipedia Common
Emperor Naruhito Photo by 江戸村のとくぞう, Wikipedia Common

Crowds and pomp as Japan’s new emperor to be enthroned Oct. 22

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Okinawa

Japan’s new emperor will be enthroned Oct. 22, a day declared a national holiday. Most public offices will be closed and some public transportation will be on a weekend/holiday schedule.

In May, Emperor Naruhito succeeded the throne of out-going Emperor Akihito as the 126th Emperor of Japan, which was the initiation of the new imperial era, Reiwa.

On Oct. 22, the new emperor will proclaim the imperial succession domestically and internationally by inviting heads of state and distinguished guests during Sokuirei Seiden-no-gi, or enthronement ceremony.

Around 2,600 guests, including envoys from 195 countries, representatives of political, academic and other fields, are expected to attend the ceremony, according to the webpage of Government of Japan. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao is expected to attend the event at the Imperial Palace.

The enthronement ceremony will take place in the most prestigious room of the palace known as the “Matsu-no-ma,” or Hall of Pine, at 1 p.m.

According to webpage of Government of Japan, the ceremony goes as follows:

After Heads of Three Branches, imperial family members, Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako in traditional formal attire have entered the hall, the new emperor and empress ascend onto high stages of “Takamikura,” or the emperor’s throne, and “Michodai,” or the empress’ throne, respectively.

To start, curtains on the thrones are closed but at the beginning of the ceremony, at the sound of a gong, the new emperor and empress are presented to the audience. After the participants salute them, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will approach the emperor’s throne. The new emperor will then give his imperial statement, addressing Abe and the public. Abe, in return, makes his congratulatory statement to the new emperor.

Abe will lead the crowd in three cheers of “banzai” to congratulate the new emperor’s enthronement. Japanese Self-Defense Forces will then fire a 21-gun salute. This solemn ceremony is followed by a procession and receptions.

The newly enthroned emperor and his empress will parade the 3-mile route from the Imperial Palace to the Akasaka Castle to greet the masses gathered along the way. In the previous parade for the Heisei Emperor in 1990, a total of 44 cars took the same route, while about 120,000 people along the street celebrated the emperor.

The enthronement ceremony and parade are usually broadcast live on television and offer a glimpse into the traditions of the Land of the Rising Sun. Make plans if you’re in Tokyo for extra people and also to witness something that only comes around every few decades or so.

Enthronement and parade
– a rare opportunity

1. Sokuirei Seiden-no-gi
Ceremony of  Enthronement
- Oct. 22, 1 – 1:30 p.m.
- Matsu-no-ma Hall in the Imperial Palace

2. Shukuga Onretsu-no-gi
- Nov. 10, 3 – 3:30 p.m.
- From Imperial Palace to Akasaka Castle
* Originally scheduled for Oct. 22, but was postponed due to Typhoon Hagibis damage recovery.

3. Kyoen-no-gi
- Oct. 22, 7:20 p.m.; 25, noon; 29, 3 p.m. and 31, 3 p.m.
- Imperial Palace

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