Emperor Naruhito proclaimed Tuesday his enthronement before roughly 2,000 guests from home and more than 180 countries in a major ancient-style ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo that will be steeped in solemnity and tradition.
The 59-year-old monarch in a dark-orange robe only emperors wear on special occasions made the announcement after ascending to the 6.5-meter-high canopied takamikura throne, while Empress Masako, in a layered court kimono, was seated on the adjacent michōdai throne during the ceremony.
The former Crown Prince took over the role on May 1, the day after his father, 85-year-old former – Emperor Akihito abdicated the throne citing health concerns. Japan’s monarchs are expected to serve until death, but parliament passed special legislation to allow Akihito to step down. He was the first emperor to step down in more than 200 years.