Emperor Naruhito ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne on Wednesday, as the new imperial era — known as Reiwa — began following his father’s abdication the previous day after three decades as emperor.
The 59-year-old new emperor is expected to follow the footsteps of his father, who is now known as Emperor Emeritus Akihito, vowing to maintain close ties to the Japanese people as a “symbol of the state.”
The new emperor and his wife, Empress Masako, are expected to inject a new level of worldly flavor into the monarchy, with the emperor having studied at England’s prestigious Oxford University for three years and the empress being an Oxford- and Harvard-educated former diplomat.
Unlike two of his predecessors, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Emperor Hirohito, who is posthumously known as Emperor Showa, the new emperor has no firsthand recollection of World War II — a fact he often refers to when asked about his views on the subject.
He is also the first monarch raised by his own parents, as Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko, the first commoner to marry an imperial, chose to raise their children instead of leaving them in the hands of palace staff.