The new era name may have been released Monday for the forthcoming reign of the emperor-in-waiting, but Emperor Akihito is still set to attend a series of ceremonies through this month in preparation for his abdication on April 30.
In modern Japan an era name, or gengō, is used for the length of an emperor’s reign. The new era, named Reiwa, will begin May 1, when Crown Prince Naruhito, 59, ascends the throne to succeed his 85-year-old father.
The Heisei Era began in 1989 following the death of Emperor Akihito’s father, Emperor Hirohito, who is known posthumously as Emperor Showa.
The Emperor will deliver his last speech in an abdication ceremony to be held at the Imperial Palace on April 30.
Before that, on April 10, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary at the Imperial Palace.
On April 18 the Imperial Couple will also ceremonially report the Emperor’s abdication to his ancestors during a visit to the Grand Shrines of Ise, an ancient complex of Shinto shrines in Mie Prefecture.
The two will also visit the mausoleum of Emperor Hirohito, located in the western suburbs of Tokyo, on April 23 for the same purpose.
On May 1, the new Emperor will inherit traditional regalia such as the Sacred Sword and Curved Jewels in the Kenji to Shokei no Gi ceremony, as proof of ascension to the throne.
Later in the day he will meet representatives of the public for the first time after his ascension, in the Sokui go Choken no Gi rite.