National

In first palace ritual of his reign, Japan's emperor reports enthronement plans to his ancestors

Kyodo

Emperor Naruhito performed his first formal ritual within the Imperial Palace on Wednesday following his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne last week, ceremonially reporting to his ancestors that he will take part in major enthronement rites this fall.

The emperor read out a statement at the three imperial sanctuaries, reporting that Sokuirei Seiden no Gi, a ceremony to proclaim his enthronement, will be held on Oct. 22, and that Daijokyu no Gi, a main part of the great thanksgiving ceremony known as Daijosai during which offerings are made to ancestors and the deities, on Nov. 14-15.

Empress Masako similarly visited all sanctuaries for the first time since 2002. She has been undergoing treatment for a stress-induced illness and performed a limited number of official duties during her years as crown princess.

Wearing a dark orange robe which is only worn by emperors during important ceremonies, Emperor Naruhito, 59, visited the sanctuaries, including Kashikodokoro, a shrine dedicated to the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu, from whom the imperial family is said to be descended. The robe dates back to the ninth century.

His aides carried a sword and a jewel the emperor inherited from his father, Emperor Emeritus Akihito, as proof of his ascension to the throne, following the 85-year-old’s abdication on April 30.

Empress Masako, 55, wore an elaborate ancient-style kimono and her hair was tied back.

The emperor is scheduled to take part in a slew of other ceremonies and celebrations associated with his enthronement.