Explainer: Key Ceremonies In Japan’s Imperial Succession

www.oann.com | 4/26/2019 | Staff
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TOKYO (Reuters) – Emperor Akihito’s abdication on Tuesday, one of several ceremonies marking the transition to his heir Crown Prince Naruhito, will be a brief, relatively simple and rare event.

The last abdication by a Japanese monarch was in 1817.

Naruhito - Emperor - Wednesday - Enthronement - Place

Naruhito will become emperor on Wednesday, but his formal enthronement will take place at a more elaborate ceremony in October, to which foreign dignitaries will be invited.

The ceremony will take place in the Imperial Palace’s “Matsu no ma,” or “Hall of Pine,” known for its polished wood floor and considered the palace’s most prestigious room. About 300 people will attend the event broadcast live on national television.

Chamberlains - State - Privy - Seals - Room

Imperial chamberlains carry the state and privy seals into the room along with two of Japan’s “Three Sacred Treasures” — a sword and a jewel — which together with a mirror are symbols of the throne. They are said to originate in ancient mythology.

The sword, representing one kept at a shrine in central Japan, and the jewel are enclosed in cases. The mirror is kept at Ise Grand Shrine, the holiest Shinto site in Japan.

Prime - Minister - Shinzo - Abe - Abdication

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will announce the abdication followed by Akihito’s final remarks as emperor. Empress Michiko, Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako will attend along with the leaders of both houses of parliament and Supreme Court justices.

This is the first stage of Naruhito’s accession to the throne. Chamberlains put the seals, sword and jewel on desks in front of the new emperor as proof of his rightful succession.

Ceremony - Group - Adult - Male - Royalty

The ceremony is observed by a small group that includes adult male royalty and representatives of the three branches of the government, including Abe and his cabinet. Akihito and Michiko will not be present.

The ceremony is not open to female royalty, but Satsuki Katayama, the only female minister in Abe’s cabinet, will be the first...
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