Tokyo, Nov. 8 (Jiji Press)–Japanese Crown Prince Akishino’s rise to first in line to the throne was proclaimed in ceremonies at Tokyo’s Imperial Palace on Sunday, the last in a series of rites linked to Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement in May last year.
The Emperor proclaimed his 54-year-old younger brother’s ascent at the palace’s “Matsu-no-Ma” state room in the core rite of the “Rikkoshi-no-Rei” ceremonies.
“Today, I…proclaim to those at home and abroad that Prince Akishino is Crown Prince,” said the Emperor, dressed in the “Korozen-no-Goho” traditional costume.
In response, the Crown Prince, clad in the “Ouni-no-ho” costume, said, “I will discharge my duties solemnly bearing in mind my responsibilities as Crown Prince.”
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga delivered a congratulatory message.
The “Rikkoshi-Senmei-no-Gi” core proclamation rite was attended by 46 people, including Empress Masako, Crown Princess Kiko and government officials.
In a separate rite at the palace’s “Houou-no-Ma” room, Emperor Naruhito handed Crown Prince Akishino the “Tsubokirigyoken” sword for the Crown Prince.
After the event, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess visited the three sanctuaries of the palace and reported that the Rikkoshi-Senmei-no-Gi rite took place.
In the Matsu-no-Ma room in the afternoon, the Crown Prince met with Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako in the “Choken-no-Gi” rite and expressed his gratitude for the proclamation ceremonies.
The Emperor said in response, “It is my hope that you will meet the expectations of the people and successfully fulfill the duties as Crown Prince, fully drawing on what you have cultivated.”
The Empress said, “I hope that you will continue to fulfill your duties in good health.”
The Rikkoshi-no-Rei ceremonies were slated for April 19 but were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of attendees at the Rikkoshi-Senmei-no-Gi rite was reduced by about 300 from initial plans to prevent the spread of the virus. Those other than Emperor Naruhito, Empress Masako, Crown Prince Akishino, Crown Princess Kiko and Suga wore face masks.
The “Kyuchu-Kyoen-no-Gi” celebratory banquets were canceled. There is no opportunity for well-wishers to sign books of celebration.
Visits by the Crown Prince and Crown Princess to places such as Ise Jingu, a Shinto shrine complex in Mie Prefecture, central Japan, will be postponed for the time being.