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What you need to know about Japan’s enthronement ceremony

19 Oct 2019
 Japan's Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako make their first public appearance after ascending to the throne at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on May 4, 2019. (AFP)
Japan's Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako make their first public appearance after ascending to the throne at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on May 4, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 21 Oct 2019
19 Oct 2019

Staff Writer

Japan’s Enthronement Ceremony will be taking place from the 22nd until the 31st of October in Tokyo to proclaim the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito.

The ceremony will begin with a formal announcement of the accession of the new Emperor. The new Emperor and his Empress Masako will then ride in a custom-made Toyota convertible sedan during a parade to mark his enthronement, reports the Japan Times.

A parade rehearsal has already been held on Oct. 13 as a convoy of 50 cars left the palace at 7 am and made its way from the Imperial Palace to his Tokyo residence, Akasaka Estate in Minato Ward, while security made its arrangements along the way. The route is about 4.6 kilometers and took 30 minutes.

Representatives from over 190 countries and international organizations such as the United Nations and the European Union are expected to attend the ceremony. 

According to the Japan Times, around 2,500 guests are expected to arrive on Oct. 21. Commercial air travelers will be affected as over 140 flights carrying foreign representatives will be landing in the country. 

The anticipated guest list will include the likes of royal dignitaries including the Prince of Wales, Charles, King & Queen of Belgium, Philippe and Mathilde, Crown Prince of Norway, Haakon, and King & Queen of Spain, Felipe VI of Spain and Letizia.

Other guests include some world leaders like UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Japanese Times reported that the US President, Donald Trump, will not be in attendance as he has other diplomatic schedules to follow. Trump has already visited Japan twice this year and was one of the first foreign leaders to meet Emperor Naruhito after he ascended the throne.

South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon will attend the ceremony on behalf of President Moon Jae-in amid the rising tensions between the two countries due to disputes over wartime history and trade policies. 

Attendees of the ceremony are required to dress in certain attire; men should be in either their national attire, a white tie or a morning coat, while women should opt for either their national attire, a long dress or a day dress. 

The Emperor and Empress will host a tea party Oct. 23 at their residence in Akasaka Estate for the overseas royals to express their gratitude.

A series of court banquets will also be held in the following days where diplomatic leaders and royal figures will celebrate the enthronement and offer their congratulations.

In addition to attending the Enthronement Ceremony, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet and hold separate talks with about 50 foreign guests over four days. Abe will speak with about 10 guests a day in a session of talks.

The celebrations will continue until early November as an all-male group Arashi and renowned pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii are expected to perform at a festival celebrating the enthronement of the new Japanese emperor. The event will be held at the Imperial Palace Plaza in central Tokyo on November 10.

Emperor Naruhito ascended the chrysanthemum throne on May 1, right after his father Emperor Emeritus Akihito abdicated the throne, the first Japanese monarch to do so in over 200 years.

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