TOKYO -- Emperor Akihito attended a ceremony called "Taiirei-Tojitsu-Kashikodokoro-Omae-no-gi" at the Three Palace Sanctuaries at the Imperial Palace on the morning of April 30.
At the ceremony, the Emperor reported to the sun goddess Amaterasu-Omikami, said to be the first Imperial ancestress, that another ceremony called "Taiirei-Seiden-no-Gi" will be held in the evening. At the latter ceremony, which is part of acts in matters of state, the Emperor will report his abdication to the public.
Shortly past 10 a.m., Emperor Akihito, clad in traditional attire called "Korozen no Goho," proceeded along the corridor of Kashikodokoro, the middle sanctuary of the Three Palace Sanctuaries and that enshrines Amaterasu-Omikami, led by an official presiding over Imperial rituals. The Emperor, with a solemn countenance, bowed deeply upon entering, and was followed by his chamberlains with one of them holding the hem of his attire.
Kashikodokoro is flanked by Shinden, which enshrines various deities of Japan, and Koreiden, dedicated to the souls of successive past emperors.
According to the Imperial Household Agency, His Majesty bowed respectfully and read out an address called "Otsugebumi." Crown Prince Naruhito, clad in special attire called "Oni no ho," also attended the ceremony.
Empress Michiko, who has a condition affecting the spinal disks in her neck, stayed at the Imperial Residence at the Imperial Palace. Crown Princess Masako was at the Togu Palace in Tokyo's Minato Ward to prepare to attend the Emperor's "Taiirei-Seiden-no-Gi" ceremony in the evening.
A string of ceremonies related to the Emperor's abdication began on March 12. They include Emperor Akihito's visits to the Mausoleum of Emperor Jinmu in Kashihara, Nara Prefecture in western Japan, and Ise Jingu shrine in Ise in the central Japan prefecture of Mie. The "Taiirei-Seiden-no-Gi" ceremony will be the last in the series. The ceremony will start at 5 p.m. at the "Matsu no Ma" room at the Imperial Palace, where the Emperor will make an address, his last as the reigning monarch. About 300 people are scheduled to attend the ceremony, including Imperial Family members, heads of the three branches of government, and members of the Cabinet.
After the ceremony, the Emperor will be greeted by former Imperial Family members and senior officials of the Imperial Household Agency, with his aides including the Grand Chamberlain being the last to greet him at the Imperial Residence.
These ceremonies and events are expected to wrap up at past 7 p.m. on April 30. Emperor Akihito will not attend events related to the enthronement of his son on May 1.
(Japanese original by Nao Yamada, City News Department)