Making waves! Japan’s emperor greets well-wishers from Imperial Palace balcony as 65,000-strong crowd flocks for first glimpse of new leader
- Japan’s Emperor Naruhito, 59, ascended Chrysanthemum Throne on Wednesday after father abdicated
- Father Akihito, 85, was not present to avoid avoid concerns about interference with the serving emperor
- Speaking from Imperial Palace balcony, he expressed his hope that Japan would pursue world peace
Japan’s Emperor Naruhito greeted the public for the first time since his succession – as more than 65,000 people queued up in the hopes of catching a glimpse of him.
Naruhito ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne on Wednesday, a day after his 85-year-old father, Akihito, abdicated.
From a balcony overlooking the Imperial Palace grounds in Tokyo, Naruhito thanked tens of thousands of well wishers for congratulating him.
‘I am deeply grateful and pleased that I am receiving celebration from you all today,’ said Naruhito, wearing a formal suit and standing next to his wife, Empress Masako.
Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako greeted the public for the first time since his succession from the balcony of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo today
He greeted well wishers waving hundreds of Japanese flags alongside his wife Empress Masako and other members of the royal family
Naruhito’s father, Akihito, and his wife Michiko, were not present to avoid concerns about interference with the serving emperor. Pictured: Princess Tomohito, Princess Kako, Princess Mako and Princess Kiko
In this aerial shot, thousands of well wishers can be seen queuing for the chance to catch a glimpse of the new emperor
Emperor Naruhito was joined on the balcony of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo by Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino
The area in front of the balcony was filled with a sea of Japanese flags and cellphones as people scrambled to take a picture of their new emperor
During his speech, Naruhito said: ‘I wish for your health and happiness, and sincerely hope that our country pursues world peace hand in hand with other countries and will develop further’
‘I wish for your health and happiness, and sincerely hope that our country pursues world peace hand in hand with other countries and will develop further.’
As he waved from the balcony, where he was accompanied by other members of his royal family, the spectators cheered, took photos and waved Japanese flags.
Akihito, who became the emperor emeritus, and his wife Michiko, were not present to avoid concerns about interference with the serving emperor.
Naruhito was scheduled to make balcony appearances several more times through the evening to greet many more people still waiting in long queues outside the palace. An estimated 65,000 people reportedly came to celebrate.
Pictured: crowds queuing up outside the Imperial Palace in Tokyo to catch a glimpse of the new emperor
An estimated 65,000 people reportedly came to celebrate. Pictured: people wait in line to see Japan’s new Emperor
Naruhito was scheduled to make balcony appearances several more times through the evening to greet many more people still waiting in long queues outside the palace
People walk towards the Imperial Palace as they are led by Imperial Guard officers ahead of the emperor’s speech
People wave Japanese national flags and try to take photos of the new emperor in Tokyo earlier today
Here, a group of Imperial Guard officers stand in front of the gate at the palace earlier today
The 59-year-old emperor is a historian who studied at Oxford. He is the first emperor born after the Second World War and one who has studied overseas.
Naruhito, at his May 1 succession ceremony, pledged to emulate his father in seeking peace and staying close to the people.
Akihito took the throne in 1989 and devoted his career to making amends for a war fought in his father’s name while bringing the aloof monarchy closer to the people. His era was the first in Japan’s modern history without war.
The nation celebrated the imperial succession prompted by retirement rather than death amid the lack of discussion about the significance of maintaining the social upper-class bound by its male-only succession rules and other paternalistic traditions.
Naruhito’s wife, Harvard-educated former diplomat Masako, is still recovering from her stress-induced mental conditions that she developed about 15 years ago after facing pressure to produce a male heir soon after giving birth to their daughter Aiko, now 17.
Emperors under Japan’s postwar constitution are given only a symbolic status without political power.
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