Japanese royals: Emperor Naruhito makes history at accession ceremony - best photos

Japanese emperors do not wear a crown so these items, along with a mirror, act as a symbol of imperial power.

"He showed profound compassion through his own bearing".

In his letter to Emperor Naruhito, PM Lee congratulated the monarch and said relations between Singapore and Japan are excellent, underpinned by many common interests, frequent high-level exchanges, robust economic links, and close people-to-people ties.

Looking back on the 30-year reign of the Emperor Emeritus, I see how he always desired peace in the world and happiness for the people of the nation, and that he faithfully carried out his duties, sharing the joys and sorrows of the people at all times with a strong spirit.

The Emperor and Empress during the ceremony.

Now that Japan has a new emperor, Naruhito, its imperial family will be left with just three heirs to the throne - one of whom is 83 - a situation likely to renew debate on the monarchy's males-only succession.

This ceremony, which began at 11.10 am, saw Naruhito meet representatives of the people for the first time in his new role.


The rite limits imperial family members who are allowed to participate to adult males who are in line of succession to the Chrysanthemum Throne.

"That's why I wanted to come in person", added Okuno, resplendent in a striped kimono, who came some 600 kilometres (370 miles) from the town of Himeji to experience the moment. They also supported his choice to attend Oxford University, where he researched the history of the Thames River transportation systems. Naruhito criticized palace officials in 2004, though subtly, for denying Masako's personality and career and pushing her into a corner.

Masako, who reportedly suffers from a stress disorder, had admitted in December that she felt "insecure" about becoming empress but pledged to do her best to serve the people of Japan. On Wednesday, Crown Prince Naruhito ascended to the throne for the start of the Reiwa Era. However, Japan's current law restricts females from inheriting the throne.

The couple's only child, Princess Aiko, was born in 2001.

The monarchy is an institution beloved of the Japanese people, and an integral part of their national identity. Naruhito is free of influence from Japan's imperial worship that was fanned by the wartime militarist government that had deified the emperor as a living god until his grandfather renounced that status after Japan's 1945 war defeat.

Then, Japan ruled the world economically in the middle of a technology-fuelled boom that caused soaring land prices and sparked wild cost comparisons: the Imperial Palace grounds were said to be worth more than all of Canada. Palace watchers say he might focus on global issues, including disaster prevention, water conservation and climate change, which could appeal to younger Japanese.

Akihito will now be known as "Joko", which means "grand emperor", and by the English title "Emperor Emeritus", while his wife Michiko will be "Empress Emerita".


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