Exclusive report from Siti Salwa Shaari
TOKYO, Oct 22 -- Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah were among the 185 heads of state and foreign dignitaries who witnessed the enthronement ceremony of Japan’s Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace here today.
Al-Sultan Abdullah, who donned Army No. 1 Dress, and Tunku Azizah, who was dressed in a pink baju kurung, were accompanied by Malaysian Ambassador to Japan Datuk Kennedy Jawan to the historic ceremony that marks the accession of a new emperor of the Land of the Rising Sun.
The presence of the Malaysian King and Queen was at the invitation of the Japanese government.
Naruhito, 59, succeeded the throne from his father, Emperor Akihito, on May 1, after the latter abdicated due to health reasons, becoming the first emperor to do so.
Naruhito’s ascension to the throne will begin a new era in Japan known as ‘Reiwa’ which means ‘harmony and order’, effectively drawing the curtain on Akihito’s era since 1989 known as ‘Heisei’ (achieving peace).
The most-awaited ceremony, which began at 1 pm local time (12-noon Malaysian time), took place only 30 minutes in the most prestige and elegant hall known as Seiden Matsu-no-Ma (State Room) at the Imperial Palace.
To begin the ceremony, Naruhito, dressed in a dark orange ‘gosokutai’ robe only emperors wear, and the ‘ryuei-no-onkanmuri' crown, took his place on the Emperor’s Throne, while Empress Masako, dressed in elaborate five-layer silk court kimono took her place on the August Seat of the Empress.
With only drums and gongs sounding, the deep purple silk curtains of the throne were then drawn back to reveal the royal couple standing within.
Naruhito then proclaimed his enthronement, followed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivering a congratulatory speech before exclaiming “Banzai!” (Long Live the Emperor) three times with the firing of a 21-gun salute.
The ceremony ended when the curtains of the throne were closed and the royal couple moved out of the 'Seiden Matsu-no-Ma'.