Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako wave lanterns to well-wishers during a national celebration to mark his enthronement at the entrance of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo Saturday. Photo: Pool via AP
national

Tens of thousands attend event for emperor's enthronement

25 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

Emperor Naruhito thanked tens of thousands of well-wishers who gathered outside the palace Saturday to congratulate his enthronement at a ceremony organized by conservative political and business groups.

Naruhito and Empress Masako greeted well-wishers from the Nijubashi bridge overlooking the crowd who shouted cheers of Banzai, or long live, for the emperor in unison, while waving Japanese "rising sun" flags.

wellwiss.jpg
Well-wishers wave Japanese flags as Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako make an appearance during an enthronement celebration event on Saturday night for Emperor Naruhito. Photo: REUTERS/Issei Kato

The royal couple held paper lanterns and moved them up and down in harmony with the Banzai cheers.

Naruhito, who has pledged to stay close to the people, expressed his sympathy to the victims and residents hit by deadly storms last month.

"I deeply appreciate that so many of you gathered despite the cold weather today to celebrate my enthronement," said Naruhito, standing next to his Harvard-educated wife, also a former diplomat.

arashi.jpg
Arashi perform a song composed for the celebration event to mark the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito. Photo: Pool via Reuters

The celebration featured music and dance performances, including the song "Ray of Water" performed by the hugely popular Japanese male pop group Arashi and dedicated to the emperor, who is known for his studies of water.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to make Naruhito's imperial era one "filled with peace and hope for everyone to blossom."

Abe's key ultra-conservative supporter, Nippon Kaigi, or Japan Conference, was among the organizers Saturday. The group is pushing to restore a deified emperor, and to preserve a male-only succession and a patriarchal system.

Naruhito said the devastation caused by Typhoon Hagibis and a severe rainstorm in October "has pained my heart," and expressed hope for a speedy reconstruction in the affected areas.

The typhoon and the rainstorm in central and northern Japan left more than 100 people dead and about 100,000 homes flooded or damaged.

Naruhito ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1 following the abdication of his father, Akihito. He proclaimed his enthronement at in an ancient-style palace ceremony on Oct. 22.

Saturday's celebration comes on the eve of a royal parade that had been postponed due to the damage from the storms.

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


25 Comments
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Banzai, and well wishes!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

.

Hope this is the last of the show.

It's getting a little tired.

.

.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

It didn't see tens of thousands as reported by mass media. Many are too scared to speak out what is spoken in the homes. No more monarchy, simply put "can't afford it"

1 ( +9 / -8 )

No one cares!!!

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

They suffer in silence, as many do.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Harvard-educated wife, also a former diplomat

Sorry I don't get why was this necessary to be added. I don't see them putting out everyone's past accomplishments.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Why is the emperor attending an event organized by rightwing political groups like Nippon Kaigi?

Depressing.

3 ( +12 / -9 )

Counting...not 10s of thousands.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Where are the ordinary folk, the young people?

It seems not much has really changed since the dark days...

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

shouted cheers of Banzai, or long live, for the emperor in unison, while waving Japanese "rising sun" flags.

May I gather then, the "rising sun" flag is the flag that supporters of the emperor system use? (and not colonization?)

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

If I hold a paper lamp, am I an empress/ emperor ?

suddenly 100s becomes 10s of thousands those paper lamps are magic.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

they had to bring Arashi for that number though....

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

After watching some highlights on the news last night, one couldn't help get the feeling this was all a choreographed pantomine for the faithful.

The "crowning" moment was in a sea of penguins, a cacophony of banzais cried forth while the royal hignesses bobbed ever so gently a couple of lanterns up & down.

Nippon Kaigi and their acolytes must be really chuffed.

And on another note - how many celebrations are necessary? Already we've seen the formal ceremony, the seemingly endless parties with an array of world visitors et al.

All of this while miraculously the plight of 100,000s of people whose lives have been devestated by disaster these past weeks, has all but disappeared from the screens and scrolls.

Nothing like a trip down Fantasy Lane to scrub memories clean.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

rgcivilian1Today  07:16 am JST

“It didn't see tens of thousands as reported by mass media.”

CrickyToday  08:06 am JST

“Counting...not 10s of thousands.”

“suddenly 100s becomes 10s of thousands those paper lamps are magic.”

I guess you two were there and counted the audience? According to news reports there were two segments, afternoon and evening. For the evening part, there were about 470,000 applications and about 30,000 people got a place. And the combined attendance of the two segments was about 60,000 people.

Browny1, “All of this while miraculously the plight of 100,000s of people whose lives have been devestated by disaster these past weeks, has all but disappeared from the screens and scrolls.”

Maybe you need to put more effort into what programs you watch and what bees you select to read. I’ve been seeing, sometime quite in depth, coverage on a daily basis.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Educator - thanks for your commment.

Yes - of course coverage of the recent disasters is still out there, but it certainly has become quiet.

One can argue that is expected as "life goes on" and any other of a myriad of newsworthy items crop up everyday.

But imo, without hesitation the national broadcaster has been very selective and careful to lay the pomp & pageantry stories at the expense of Japan in suffering.

We can easily understand why. Who'd want to attract criticism for such an incredibly expensive extravaganza as the enthronement going on at the same time as such hardship. I mean image is critical here, not the least for the royals as well as Political Inc.

And today as the "Parade" of the decade(s) take place, Abe and his cohorts will bask in the glory, an act of purification if you like of all negative news, scandals, mishaps etc for the public to absorb.

I like the Emperor and Masako, both decent people with genuine concerns, but sorry - I have no time for the malarkey of Royalness, in this country or any other including my home country.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Goodness we have emperor is so long as we keep the system, there will not be serious ethnical and religious divisions in Japan.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Nippon Kaigi, playing a role, captured it all,

Then we have the a so called a popular musically inconsequential boy band .

One of many, laying waste to any form of a description to a recognisable form of contemporary pop culture.

Where is the cultural significant meaning? Please tell me this nation is not lost in Arashi, Johnny & Associates talent agency meaninglessly Tarento nonentity, musical mediocrity.

Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, ascended the imperial throne, involving elaborate outfits, a veiled throne, and three sacred treasures. Only to be crooned at by Arashi?​ Thousands of years of cultural tradition and Japan end up with Arashi?

What about Hikaru Utada, Shiina Ringo or Miwa Yoshida and Masato Nakamura? ......

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Educator60, first thank you for the reply. Finally someone. To answer your question, yes I was there as an official counter for both events and the data collected was not in the 10's of thousands, not even close to the 400 you mentioned by a long shot. Please look at your feeds again. A special photo lens is used to make the appearances seem like tens of thousands as well as the angle. A real life scenario gives a more accurate picture.

Sorry buddy, but that is how it went. Had it not been for the local talent shows, attendance would have been more bleak. We polled various attendees those able to get seated those who were left out and the majority of them depending on age were there quite simply for the shows, when asked about the actual main festivities, though it took time to pry them out was not as high or supportive. One hand I support an emperor and empress, part of cultural history and to see it continue and be a part of it is memorable. However on the other hand I feel for the pockets when I have to support it in taxes to the state, but better that than nothing. It is impressive though. Again thank you for the reply.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The rate has dropped but more than 70% of Japanese support the monarch system.

470,000 applicants for 60,000 places chosen by lottery. 60,000 is 6 x 10,000.

The emperor and empress will drive today in an open top car costing ¥80 million in a motorcade of 50 vehicles followed by the crown prince and princess and PM Abe.

26,000 police on duty.

Personally I'm not a supporter of the monarch system.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Watching the coverage on NHK, the interviewer gushing stuff about "What a wonderful start to the Reiwa era".

The start of the Reiwa era was marked by a super typhoon, widespread flooding, landslides, houses destroyed and dozens dead.

Hate to think what an unauspicious start would look like. An asteroid strike?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Mrs. Noakes was howling with laughter at this bizarre event last night. What on earth was it? Some kind of ultra-nationalist night rally crossed with a low-brow pop concert for very dull people? Who was the old man screaming Banzai for about 15 minutes?

The Imperial couple looked stunned and cold. They are prisoners in a gilded cage, for sure. I'd go bananas if I had to smile through that for 3 hours. Good luck to them both, they're going to need it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Browny and rgcivilian, You’re welcome.

Browny, “Yes - of course coverage of the recent disasters is still out there, but it certainly has become quiet. One can argue that is expected as "life goes on" and any other of a myriad of newsworthy items crop up everyday.”

Yes, regardless of whatever happens life does goes on for the world and there is new news everyday. But as I indicated earlier, the news I’ve watched has not been particularly “quiet.”

rgcivilian1, “yes I was there as an official counter for both events and the data collected was not in the 10's of thousands, not even close to the 400 you mentioned by a long shot.”

You should send your data to the BBC, they are saying tens of thousands attended the event. Where can we see your official count, other than as an anonymous post on this site? I have no idea what you are referring to by “400” as I never mentioned that figure in any context.

“Please look at your feeds again. A special photo lens is used to make the appearances seem like tens of thousands as well as the angle. A real life scenario gives a more accurate picture”

I wasn’t looking at any feeds and would certainly never base my idea as to the number of attendees on a photo or even video which could only show one section of a group.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't mind the traditional stuff but this was weirdly Western. Cars, and dresses and brass bands. If they are going to make a Reiwa song, let's have gagaku style, not some jolly march played on trumpets and cornets. It was like something the UK monarchy would do, and they are not a glowing example to copy.

I like the couple and pity them, what with everything people project onto them.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

welcome to the 21st century

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Long live the Emperor and Empress.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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