Abdication of Emperor Akihito

On 30th April, the Ceremony of the Abdication of HM Empero Akihito at the Seiden (State Hall) was held.
Upon abdication, HM Emperor Akihito becomes Emperor Emeritus and HM Empress Michiko becomes Empress Emerita.

Addresses by His Majesty the Emperor

Text from Imperial Household Agency

Today, I am concluding my duties as the Emperor.

I would like to offer my deep gratitude to the words just spoken by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on behalf of the people of Japan.

Since ascending the throne 30 years ago, I have performed my duties as the Emperor with a deep sense of trust in and respect for the people, and I consider myself most fortunate to have been able to do so. I sincerely thank the people who accepted and supported me in my role as the symbol of the State.

I sincerely wish, together with the Empress, that the Reiwa era, which begins tomorrow, will be a stable and fruitful one, and I pray, with all my heart, for peace and happiness for all the people in Japan and around the world.

Photo from Mainichi

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The 30th Anniversary of Emperor Akihito’s Accession to the Throne Part2

On 24th February, the Commemoration Ceremony of The 30th Anniversary of His Majesty the Emperor’s Accession to the Throne held by the government took place at National Theatre in Tokyo.

The Song “the Sound of the Singing Voice” was performed by Mr Daichi Miura at the Ceremony. This song was written by His Majesty and composed by Her Majesty.

Emperor reflects on Japan’s past, future and his ‘endlessly long’ quest to pin down role after 30 years on throne

Text from The Japan Times

Emperor Akihito said Sunday he has dedicated the past 30 years of his reign to an “endlessly long” quest to fathom out his role as the symbol of the state, expressing hopes that his successors will pick up where he left off and update the idea as they adapt to the changing times.

Looking back on the past 30 years of the Heisei Era, the Emperor also suggested Japan’s days as a complacent island country are coming to an end, noting that globalization is placing pressure on the nation to adopt a more outward-looking posture and to “sincerely” approach relations with other countries. Heisei means “achieving peace.”

The Emperor was speaking at a government-sponsored event at the National Theatre in Tokyo held to commemorate the 30th anniversary of his enthronement. It also coincided with preparations for his coming abdication.

“Ever since I ascended the throne, I have spent my days praying for the peace of the country and the happiness of its people, as well as contemplating how I should behave as a symbol,” the Emperor said.

After the war, the Emperor was defined by the Constitution as “the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people,” and stripped of any political power. Under the prewar Constitution, he was deified and defined as Japan’s head of state with whom all sovereignty resided.

“The journey to figure out the idea of a symbolic emperor, as defined by the Constitution, has been endlessly long, and I hope my successors in the next eras to come will keep exploring an ideal form of this symbolic role and build on the version from this departing era,” he said.

The Emperor also commended Heisei for being the “first period in modern history where Japan did not experience war,” but at the same noted it was fraught with “unexpected challenges” such as climate change, natural disasters and a rapidly graying population. The changing landscape of society, he said, begs the question of how Japan should respond.

“As an island country, Japan has enjoyed relative advantage in cultivating its own unique culture, but amid growing moves toward globalization, I think it is being expected to open itself more to the outside, use its wisdom and power to establish its own position and sincerely work on building relationships with other countries.”

Emperor Akihito is scheduled to relinquish the throne on April 30, paving the way for his son, Crown Prince Naruhito, to take over the following day. The abdication will be the first in about 200 years because Imperial successions in modern history have been preceded by an emperor’s death.

The Emperor hinted at his desire to step down early during a rare, nationally televised video message in the summer of 2016 in which he said his advanced age was interfering with his ability to carry out public duties “with my whole being.”

Addressing the crowd, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, for his part, said the Emperor has fulfilled his role as a symbol of the state and the people by aligning himself closely with the public, citing the numerous trips he and Empress Michiko have taken over the years to areas ravaged by natural calamities, and giving evacuees “courage and hope.” Abe also said their official visits to 35 countries over the past 30 years contributed to “deepening Japan’s friendship with other nations.”

The ceremony, attended by about 1,100 people ? ranging from lawmakers, bureaucrats, ambassadors, business executives and NGO representatives ? was punctuated by musical performances to rev up the celebratory mood.

Pop singer and dancer Daichi Miura was tapped to perform “Utagoe no Hibiki” (“Resonance of the Singing Voice”), a song written by the Emperor and composed by the Empress after their first-ever visit to Okinawa in 1975, when they were the Crown Prince and Crown Princess. Miura is an Okinawa native.

Sunday also saw the government’s first use of facial recognition technology at a state-organized event to reduce waiting times and improve security.

An official said the government plans to use the system ? which it claims can identify human faces with an accuracy of more than 99 percent ? for large-scale Imperial events in the future, such as the enthronement ceremony in October.

The Japanese Communist Party, however, boycotted the ceremony. Keiji Kokuta, the Diet affairs chief for the JCP, told reporters Wednesday it was going to do so on the grounds that government-organized event amounted to “using the Emperor for political purposes.”

At his regular press briefing Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government is “fully prepared” for the abdication.

In fact, as part of the preparations, Abe took the highly unusual step Friday of visiting the Crown Prince at the Togu Palace for a face-to-face “explanation,” as a government official put it. Although Suga declined to disclose the details of their conversation, speculation is rife that Abe was briefing the Crown Prince on Japan’s state of affairs at home and abroad to better prepare him for his new role.

“I think it’s a matter of fact the prime minister would want to explain the situation abroad to the Crown Prince because he will be swamped with diplomatic duties the moment he becomes the Emperor,” a senior government official said on condition of anonymity.

U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to visit Japan in late May, possibly becoming the first foreign leader to be granted an audience with the new Emperor.

Photo from Asahi1 and 2

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The 30th Anniversary of Emperor Akihito’s Accession to the Throne Part 1

On 24th February, the ceremonies to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of HM Emperor Akihito’s Accession to the Throne.

HM Emperor Akihito ascend the throne on 7th January 1989 due to the death of Emperor Showa.

On the morning, the members of Imperial Family gathered at Imperial Palace to celebrate Their Majesties.

Photo from Asahi1 and 2

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Crown Prince Naruhito turns 59

On 23rd February, HIH Crown Prince Naruhito marked the 59th birthday.

On 21st February, HIH Crown Prince Naruhito attended the Press Conference on the occasion of his birthday took place at Crown Prince Residence.

Crown Prince Naruhito turns 59

Text from NHK WORLD

Japan’s Crown Prince Naruhito marks his 59th birthday on Saturday. He will ascend to the throne on May 1st, one day after his father, Emperor Akihito, abdicates.

The Crown Prince held a news conference ahead of his birthday at his residence in central Tokyo. He said that he feels solemnity when thinking of the path he will soon be embarking upon, but said he will continue to improve himself with the deeds of previous Emperors in mind.

The Crown Prince added that as the symbol of the state, he will carry out his duties as Emperor by trying to keep the Japanese people in his heart, while praying for them and feeling sadness with them when there are times of sorrow, as the current Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have always done.

The Crown Prince also touched on water conservation issues that he has long been involved with.

He says he will pray for the stability and continuous growth of people’s everyday lives while drawing on the knowledge he has acquired by focusing on the importance of disaster prevention and damage mitigation.

The Crown Prince also referred to Crown Princess Masako who has been recuperating from an illness. He said he believes his wife will continue to make efforts each and every day to aim for a full recovery.

He also added that it might not be possible for her to quickly acquire the strength to carry out all of her duties as Empress.

Emperor Akihito’s abdication will end the current “Heisei” era under Japan’s traditional calendar.

When reporters asked the Crown Prince what he thought of the “Heisei” era, he replied that during the current era Japanese have earned a worthy international reputation, and made many achievements on the global stage.

He said that he is particularly happy to see an increasing number of young Japanese, including teenagers, stand out.

He thinks Japan, a country that has enjoyed more than seven decades of peace following the war, now provides a platform for younger generations to cherish their dreams and unleash their talents as future leaders.

Imperial Household Agency released the photos of HIH Crown Prince Naruhito experienced the Guide running of the blind track and field athlete, Ms. Misato Michishita last year.

Photo from Asahi

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International Orchid Festival

On 15th February, HIH Princess Tsuguko of Takamado attended the opening ceremony of Japan Grand Prix International Orchid Festival 2019 took place at Tokyo Dome.

Photo from Sankei

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Book Reports Contest

On 8th February, HIH Crown Prince Naruhito and HIH Crown Princess Masako attended the commendation ceremony of the 64th National Contest of Book Reports for Youth took place in Tokyo.

Photo from Sankei

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Photograph by Ambassadors

On 5th February, HIH Princess Hisako of Takamado visited the exhibition of the photos taken by the ambassadors in Japan took place in Kanagawa Prefecture. HIH Princess Hisako is the Honorary President of the photo exhibition.

Photo from Sankei

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Chancellor of Germany

On 5th February, HM Emperor Akihito met with HE Dr Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany at Imperial Residence.

Photo from Sankei

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Flower Exhibition

On 1st February, HIH Princess Nobuko of Mikasa and HIH Princess Hisako of Takamado visited the 68th Kanto Tokai Flower Exhibition took place in Tokyo.

Photo from Sankei

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Amir of Qatar

On 30th January, HM Emperor Akihito met with HH Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar at Imperial Residence.

On that day, HIH Crown Prince Naruhito met with His Highness at The Peninsula Tokyo.

Photo from Sankei

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