ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailMenu BurgerPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon SearchSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Japan's Reiwa era

Japan's new emperor takes the throne

Country awaits Naruhito's vision for Reiwa era

Japan's new Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako take over royal duties from the retired Akihito and Michiko.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Crown Prince Naruhito ascended to Japan's Chrysanthemum Throne at midnight Wednesday, marking the beginning of the new Reiwa era.

The new emperor succeeded his father, Akihito, who became the first emperor to abdicate since 1817. Akihito now holds the title of joko and has retired from public duties along with his wife, now Jokogo Michiko.

Emperor Naruhito will attend a handover ceremony in the morning to receive a jewel and a sword, two of Japan's "Three Sacred Treasures" passed through the Imperial family for generations. He will also make his first remarks as emperor to the leaders of the executive, legislative and judicial branches.

When Akihito ascended to the throne in January 1989 he said that he "wanted to work with the people to protect the constitution and fulfill duties accordingly." True to his word, he actively interacted with the public during his reign, known as Heisei. Now the country waits to hear Emperor Naruhito's vision for Reiwa.

Wednesday also marks the start of the new emperor's public duties, such as swearing in key aides. A separate ceremony to celebrate his accession is planned for October, to be attended by dignitaries from around the world.

Crown Prince Akishino, the emperor's younger brother, is now first in line for the throne. He is followed by his son, Prince Hisahito; and his uncle, Prince Hitachi. Under the special one-time law that allowed his abdication, the former emperor cannot retake the throne.

"Reiwa" was taken from the Manyoshu, the oldest existing anthology of Japanese poetry, which used language describing plum blossoms in the spring.

The new era's name signifies the culture born when people bring their hearts together in a beautiful manner, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Get Unlimited access

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends October 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media