Emperor Naruhito pledges to work as symbol of the nation

Emperor Naruhito pledges to work as symbol of the nation

During the special ritual in the palace's Matsu-no-Ma state room, an nearly exclusively male audience saw Naruhito, 59, take possession of royal regalia and seals, including a sacred sword, that offers ceremonial proof of his ascension. Emperor Hirohito, the father of Akihito, renounced his divinity as part of Japan's surrender in World War II - and the 1947 Constitution identified the Emperor as "the Symbol of the State and the Unity of the People". All the items used in the ceremony were duplicates, as the real objects are kept in shrines around the country and are never seen.

Japan had several female emperors in the premodern period but that practice ended with the enactment of the Imperial House Law in 1889, which stipulated males-only succession. Traditionally, new eras begin when the current emperor passes away, but Akihito made a decision to give up the throne, making way for his son's coronation.

As global threats mount and Japan's position as an economic superpower is threatened, Naruhito said he was "determined to carve out Japan's bright future full of peace and hope".

Unlike the previous morning inheritance ceremony, female members of the Imperial Family were permitted to attend. President Donald Trump's message said America and Japan will renew the bonds of friendship in the new era.

The following is an English translation by the Imperial Household Agency of Japanese Emperor Naruhito's speech on Wednesday at his accession ceremony.

Crown Prince Naruhito will this morning accede the Chrysanthemum Throne after his father Akihito abdicated yesterday, in an event which hasn't occurred in the country for more than 200 years.

Emperor Naruhito has a passion for water conservation.

Naruhito, at a succession ceremony Wednesday, pledged to emulate his father in seeking peace and staying close to the people.

Naruhito is the 126th Emperor of Japan, the latest in an unbroken line that stretches back 14 centuries.

Entrepreneurs have sold everything from "Reiwa" bottles of sake to $10 cans of air from the "Heisei" era of Akihito's reign. After the ratification of Japan's post-WWII constitution, the position became largely symbolic and offers no political power.

She has struggled with palace life, including being subjected to enormous pressure to produce a male heir, and has suffered stress-induced "adjustment disorder" for much of their marriage.

He has suggested the royal family should modernise, and vowed when he married Masako - who left behind a promising diplomatic career - to protect her "at any cost".

"People saw a human side of a man defending his wife and I think people admired him a great deal for that", said Jeff Kingston, Asian studies director at Temple University's Japan Campus.

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