The First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, last Monday joined a list of special guests to witness the formal proclamation of the ascension of Japan’s Emperor Naruhito to the throne.
Mrs Akufo-Addo, who represented Ghana at the event, was among dignitaries invited from around the world to witness the event, held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
During the solemn and elaborate ceremony, Emperor Naruhito, 59, who officially began his reign last May after the abdication of his father, Emperor Akihito, formally proclaimed his ascension to the throne.
The First Lady was accompanied by Ghana’s Ambassador to Japan, Ambassador Okyere.
The ceremony was attended by about 2,000 dignitaries from some 180 countries, including the United Kingdom’s Prince Charles, who represented his mother, Queen Elizabeth II; the United States’ Transportation Secretary, Elaine Chao; the President of Cote d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, and the President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, and his wife.
It was a royal affair, as queens, princesses and princes, including Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Queen Maxima of The Netherlands, Queen Letizia of Spain and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, all graced the occasion, dressed in full royal regalia.
Emperor Naruhito, after the ceremony, hosted a tea party for the foreign royalty, while the Japanese Prime Minister, Mr Shinzo Abe, hosted all the guests to a banquet in the evening.
The ceremony began with a series of traditional rituals in the Imperial Palace.
The process was formalised with the Sokui no Rei (Ceremony of Accession), which saw Emperor Naruhito stand in front of a 6.5 metre-high Takamikura throne from where he made a proclamation.
Conducted largely in silence, the ceremony was held in the presence of an ancient sword and jewel — sacred treasures which act as symbols of imperial power.
Clad in full royal regalia, the Emperor wore a golden-brown Sokutai robe, a royal outfit exclusive for only special occasions, complemented with a Kanmuri headdress, the symbol of responsibility, and held a wooden sceptre, known as the Shaku.
Standing throughout the proclamation, the Emperor declared:
“Having previously succeeded to the throne in accordance with the constitution of Japan and the Special Measures Law on the Imperial House Law..., I now proclaim my enthronement to those at home and abroad.
"I swear that I will act according to the constitution and fulfil my responsibility as the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people," after which he ascended the throne.
His wife, Empress Masako, who was also in a royal dress, sat on a smaller version of the Emperor’s throne.
A celebration parade was, however, postponed, out of respect for victims and families of Typhoon Hagibis which affected Tokyo last week, leaving about 80 people dead.
Mr Abe said: “We the people look up to His Majesty the Emperor as the symbol of Japan and the unity of its people with a renewed spirit.
“We will put our best efforts into creating an era when new culture will flourish peacefully, hopeful that a proud Japan realises a bright future with the people living in harmony together.”
Emperor Naruhito officially began his reign on May 1, 2019 after Emperor Akihito abdicated due to poor health, becoming the first monarch to abdicate in more than 200 years.
Usually, the celebratory enthronement can only take place after at least a year of mourning. However, because Emperor Akihito had stepped down, the ascension of Emperor Naruhito was considered a celebration.
The last time an enthronement ceremony took place was in 1990, when the then Emperor Akihito formally ascended the throne.
Source: Daily Graphic
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