The Emperor succeeded to the throne on Wednesday, the first day of the Reiwa era, according to the special measures law on the Imperial House Law.
The Kenji-to-Shokei-no-gi ceremony was held in which the Emperor inherited the Imperial Regalia, or the sacred sword and jewels, and the State Seal and Privy Seal as proof of his accession to the throne, in the Seiden-Matsu-no-Ma state room at the Imperial Palace on Wednesday morning.
Later, the Emperor received an audience of representatives of the people for the Sokui-go-Choken-no-gi ceremony in the same room. There, he made his first address as Emperor, saying, “I will act according to the Constitution and fulfill my responsibility as the symbol of the State … while always turning my thoughts to the people and standing with them.”
The Emperor’s first official duty was carried out at just past 10 a.m. in the Kiku-no-Ma room at the Imperial Palace when he approved the decision by the Cabinet that the two ceremonies associated with his accession to the throne be held as state ceremonies.
The Kenji-to-Shokei-no-gi started at 10:30 a.m. and the Emperor entered the Seiden-Matsu-no-Ma in a most prestigious tailcoat and wearing decorations.
Crown Prince Akishino, who became koshi, the status for the first in line to the Imperial throne, and Prince Hitachi in a wheel chair followed the Emperor. The ceremony was also attended by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the heads of both chambers of the Diet, the chief justice of the Supreme Court and Cabinet members.
After the Emperor stood in position on the dais, four chamberlains brought in the sacred sword, the magatama beads, the State Seal and Privy Seal, which the Emperor uses in matters of state. These were placed on stands before the Emperor.
The ceremony ended in about five minutes as the Emperor left the room with chamberlains who held the sacred sword and jewels. The sword and magatama are expected to be housed at the Emperor’s residence, the Akasaka Imperial Palace. The sacred mirror, another proof of his accession to the throne, is being kept at Kashikodokoro, one of the Kyuchu Sanden three sanctuaries in the Imperial Palace.
Thirteen adults of the Imperial family, including the Empress, Crown Prince Akishino and his wife Crown Princess Kiko, participated in the Sokui-go-Choken-no-gi, which started at 11:12 a.m. Prime Minister Abe, the heads of both chambers of the Diet, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, Cabinet members, prefectural governors and representatives of prefectural assembly members were also among those who attended.
During the ceremony based on the Constitution and the special measures law on the Imperial House Law, the Emperor announced that he has taken over the throne and prayed for “the happiness of the people and the further development of the nation as well as the peace of the world.”
As the representative of the people, Abe gave a speech to express congratulations to the Emperor, the symbol of the state, and said that he will “create an era in which culture is born and grows among people who care for each other in a beautiful manner.”
On Wednesday afternoon, the Emperor attended a ceremony to appoint officials with Imperial attestation for Nobutake Odano as the grand chamberlain and Chikao Kawai as the grand chamberlain for the joko Emperor Emeritus. Both took on their posts Wednesday.
The Emperor and Empress then visited Fukiage Sento Gosho to greet the Emperor Emeritus and jokogo Empress Emerita, and later received the blessing of Imperial family members among others at the Imperial Palace.Speech