Tokyo: Emperor Naruhito of Japan on Wednesday formally ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne in a 10-minute ritual, a day after his father abdicated from the world’s oldest monarchy. Naruhito became Japan’s new emperor at the stroke of midnight ushering in a new imperial era of Reiwa, meaning “beautiful harmony”, which will last throughout Naruhito’s reign.

The solemn ceremony took place in the Imperial Palace’s Room of Pine where Naruhito (59) received the items relinquished by his father Akihito namely a sword, a jewel, the seal of the state and the personal imperial seal of Akihito. The only woman who was allowed to attend the ceremony was the only female member of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet.

The ceremony was joined by his wife Masako and other royals. Notably, in a first, Naruhito addressed the nation as its 126th emperor and to follow it up is scheduled to make a public appearance in Japan on Saturday. On October 22, Naruhito along with Masako will appear in elaborate traditional robes for a ceremony in the palace. This will take place before they parade through the streets of the capital where they would be greeted by a host of world leaders and royals.

“When I think about the important responsibility I have assumed, I am filled with a sense of solemnity,” said Naruhito. He noted that his father was compassionate and devoted to praying for peace and sharing both joys and sorrows of the people. Naruhito strongly stated that he will ‘reflect deeply’ on the path trodden by Akihito and past emperors. Naruhito vowed to “act according to the Constitution” and emulate his father by fulfilling his role as the symbol of the state.

(With agency inputs)