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Editorial: Let us celebrate the enthronement ceremony as Imperial tradition

  • October 23, 2019
  • , The Japan News , 7:25 p.m.
  • English Press

The Ceremony of Enthronement in which the Emperor proclaimed his enthronement to those at home and abroad was held at the Seiden State Hall at the Imperial Palace. We would like to offer our congratulations on the celebration of this traditional ceremony, the key event in the series of ceremonies of the Accession to the Throne of the Emperor.

 

The Emperor ascended a dais called the Imperial Throne for the Emperor, known as Takamikura, and pledged: “I shall act according to the Constitution and fulfill my responsibility as the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people of Japan, while always wishing for the happiness of the people and the peace of the world, turning my thoughts to the people and standing by them.”

 

The enthronement ceremony is said to have started more than 1,000 years ago. The Emperor, while carrying on Imperial traditions, is seen as having demonstrated once again his stance of wishing for the happiness of the people in accordance with the Constitution, which contains the principle of the people’s sovereignty.

 

About 2,000 guests, including leaders and representatives from more than 180 countries and international organizations, attended the ceremony. The Imperial Procession by motorcar, initially scheduled to be held on the same day as the ceremony, was postponed until Nov. 10. It was appropriate for the government to have made this decision, taking into account the damage wrought by the recent typhoon.

 

The latest enthronement ceremony was held as a matter of the state, in accordance with provisions of the Imperial House Law. It marked the second enthronement ceremony, following the one held during the Heisei era, to take place under the present Constitution, which stipulates the system of the Emperor as the symbol of the nation.

 

During the enthronement ceremony held for Emperor Showa before World War II, the then prime minister descended to the courtyard and led cheers of banzai while looking up at the Emperor. This time, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his congratulatory tribute and led three cheers of banzai while standing in the same room as the Emperor.

 

It is understandable that the latest ceremony involved the same content as that held during the Heisei era, which made it compatible with the Constitution’s principle of the sovereignty of the people.

 

In the evening, a Court Banquet to celebrate the enthronement was held at the palace, where the Emperor courteously exchanged words with people including honored guests from abroad, expressing his gratitude to them. For the Imperial household, this must have served as a precious occasion of international friendship.

 

The Netherlands, the queen of which did not attend the previous enthronement ceremony during the Heisei era, was this time represented by King Willem-Alexander. The fact that the Emperor Emeritus and the Emperor have deepened their interchange with the royal house of the Netherlands, which was a hostile country to Japan during the war, helped bring about the king’s attendance at the ceremony.

 

The Imperial Throne for the Emperor, the dais used during the enthronement ceremony, and the August Seat of the Empress, which the Empress ascended, are to be put on public view at a later date, together with the attire and properties used during the ceremony. This could serve as an opportunity for the people to come into contact with traditions and culture preserved and handed down through generations by the Imperial household.

 

Nearly half a year has passed since the Emperor acceded to the throne. It is wonderful that both the Emperor and Empress have been steadily carrying out their official duties.

 

The Emperor, who attended the national tree-planting festival in June, told the audience in carefully chosen words that he was “[planting trees] together with you.” Many people likely feel closeness with the Emperor.

 

We would like to live our lives in step with the Emperor, who seeks the image of a symbol befitting the new era.

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