National

In pictures: Japan's new emperor

Staff Report

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.

Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko greet their baby, Prince Hiro, upon their return from a one-month-long Iran, Ethiopia, India and Nepal tour at the Togu Palace in Tokyo on Dec. 9, 1960.
Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko greet their baby, Prince Naruhito, upon their return from a one-month-long Iran, Ethiopia, India and Nepal tour at the Togu Palace in Tokyo on Dec. 9, 1960. | JIJI / VIA AFP-JIJI
Prince Hiro plays tennis with his father Crown Prince Akihito in Tokyo on March 5, 1973.
Prince Naruhito plays tennis with his father Crown Prince Akihito in Tokyo on March 5, 1973. | AFP-JIJI
Emperor Hirohito, Crown Prince Akihito and his grandson Prince Hiro (later Crown Prince Naruhito) stroll through the Imperial Palace on Nov. 22, 1987. They went on to become three generations of emperors through the eras of Showa, Heisei and now Reiwa.
Emperor Hirohito, Crown Prince Akihito and his grandson Prince Naruhito stroll through the Imperial Palace on Nov. 22, 1987. They went on to become three generations of emperors through the eras of Showa, Heisei and now Reiwa. | KYODO
Crown Prince Naruhito and his bride, Masako Owada, dress in full traditional imperial wedding costumes at the Imperial Palace on Jun. 2, 1993.
Crown Prince Naruhito and his bride, Masako Owada, dress in full traditional imperial wedding costumes at the Imperial Palace on Jun. 2, 1993. | AFP-JIJI
Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako show off their daughter, Princess Aiko, at Togu Palace in Tokyo on Nov. 11, 2002.
Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako show off their daughter, Princess Aiko, at Togu Palace in Tokyo on Nov. 11, 2002. | AFP-JIJI
Crown Prince Naruhito views a cenote (sinkhole) in Celestun, Mexico, on March 19, 2006.
Crown Prince Naruhito views a cenote (sinkhole) in Celestun, Mexico, on March 19, 2006. | AP
Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako greet well-wishers gathered at the palace to celebrate the emperor
Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako greet well-wishers gathered at the palace to celebrate the emperor’s 77th birthday on Dec. 23, 2010. | REUTERS
Crown Prince Naruhito plays the viola during a concert of Gakushuin University alumni in Tokyo on July 7, 2013.
Crown Prince Naruhito plays the viola during a concert of Gakushuin University alumni in Tokyo on July 7, 2013. | AP
A huge banner and screen celebrating Reiwa, Japan
A huge banner and screen celebrating Reiwa, Japan’s new imperial era, are displayed Wednesday on the first day of Emperor Naruhito’s accession to the throne in a Tokyo business district. | REUTERS

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