The monarchy is an institution beloved of the Japanese people, and an integral part of their national identity.
Japan’s 59-year-old Prince Naruhito officially succeeded his father Akihito as Emperor, the 126th incumbent of the Chrysanthemum Throne, the world’s oldest surviving hereditary monarchy.
Akihito, 85, who became Emperor in 1989, had declared in a rare speech in 2016 that he feared his age and poor health would make it difficult for him to carry out his royal duties. In June 2017, Japan’s Parliament passed a law to allow the Emperor to abdicate, and on December 1 that year, it was announced that the country would have a new Emperor on May 1, 2019. On Tuesday, Akihito became the first Emperor to step down in 200 years.
The Imperial Throne…
Legend has it that Japan’s ruling dynasty was founded by the Emperor Jimmu, whose accession is traditionally dated to 660 BC. The Japanese Emperor is revered in the Shinto religion, in which the royal family is believed to have divine descent.
…And Imperial Era
The monarchy is an institution beloved of the Japanese people, and an integral part of their national identity. The reign of each Emperor is given a name, or gengo, which is used with the Western calendar to mark years. With the end of the reign of Akihito, the ‘Heisei’ era ended, and with the ascension of Naruhito to the Chrysanthemum Throne, the new ‘Reiwa’ era has begun in Japan. Reiwa is made of the characters Rei — that can mean either ‘commands’ or ‘order’, or ‘auspicious’ or ‘good’ — and Wa, meaning ‘harmony’, which is used in the word ‘hei-wa’, or ‘peace’.
(Adapted by The Indian Express)