Japan has started the new Reiwa era with the new Emperor, Naruhito, BBC reported. In his first address to the nation on May 1st, he has pledged to fulfil his role as a “symbol of the state and unity”.
The 59-year-old Emperor Naruhito officially began his reign on Wednesday in a short but symbolic ceremony at the Imperial Palace. Japan and the whole world became the witnesses of the unique event in the history of Japanese monarchy, an abdication. On April 30, Emperor Akihito has fulfil the ceremony of abdication and made the way to his son, Crown Prince Naruhito to the imperial throne.
Naruhito succeeds his father, 85-year-old Akihito, who abdicated citing his age and failing health. According to the monarchy’s history, Akihito is the first Japanese emperor to stand down since 1817. Akihito, who will now be known as Emperor Emeritus.
Wednesday morning’s ceremony was Naruhito’s first official duty in his new role. He was presented with the Imperial regalia of a sword and jewel, each in a box and wrapped in cloth. Only adult male royals participated in the ceremony. Even his wife Empress Masako and their 17-year-old daughter Princess Aiko were not allowed to take part.
Naruhito, a new Japan’s Emperor, pledges to be a symbol of unity
The first speech of Emperor Naruhito touched the issues of unity and solemnity. In his first address, Emperor Naruhito paid tribute to his predecessor while pledging to show the same devotion to Japanese people. “[Akihito] showed profound compassion through his own bearing,” a new Emperor said and added that he ‘filled with a sense of solemnity’ as he succeeds his 85-year-old father.
“I swear that I will reflect deeply on the course followed by the Emperor Emeritus … and fulfil my responsibility as the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people of Japan.”
Emperor Naruhito technically became emperor at the stroke of midnight when his father’s reign came to an end – marking the start of the new Reiwa era.
But on Wednesday morning his place was formalised as he symbolically took possession of the sacred imperial regalia – a sword and a gem – that have been passed down through the generations.