Emperor Naruhito on Monday conducted the first rice planting at the Imperial Palace since he assumed the throne on May 1.
Rice farming at the palace in Tokyo was initiated by Emperor Hirohito — posthumously known as Emperor Showa — who was the grandfather of the present emperor.
The practice was passed on to Emperor Akihito, the father of the current emperor, who now holds the title of emperor emeritus, and has now been inherited by Emperor Naruhito.
The emperor carefully planted rice seedlings so that they will not be blown over by the wind. The rice planting took place in a paddy field near a biology laboratory at the palace.
The emperor planted the mangetsumochi glutinous rice variety and nihomasari, a nonglutinous type. The seedlings were grown from unhulled rice seeds planted by the emperor emeritus last month, before his abdication on April 30.
Emperor Naruhito will continue rice farming activities, including seeding, planting and harvesting like his father did, sources familiar with the matter said.