Abdication of Emperor Akihito: A New Era is Coming1 May 2019
It has been more than two centuries since an emperor in Japan made a decision to abdicate the throne. However, Emperor Akihito decided to break the monotony by abdicating the throne at 85 years old, 30 years after he took it up the title from his late father.
Emperor Akihito’s Life
Tsugunomiya Akihito was born on December 23rd in 1933. He is the son of the former Emperor Hirohito and the Empress Nagako Kuni. He set a record for the emperors in Japan by marrying someone who was not from a royal line, Michiko Shoda in 1959. Together with his wife, they have had 6 children including the recently succeeding Emperor Naruhito. In 2003, he underwent surgery to cure prostate cancer and was successful. One of the biggest roles he played during his reign was to help the Japanese government come up with solutions during the March 2011 earthquake.
The New Emperor Naruhito of Japan
Emperor Naruhito ascended the chrysanthemum throne at 59 years old during a glamorous event ceremony in the imperial palace. He is seen to be a man who keenly pursued education especially in waterways which were part of his doctorate research. This won him a position on the UN’s Advisory Board in line with water and sanitation from the year 2007 to 2015. The emperor has been noted to be a family man particularly when he was by his wife, Empress Masako during her adjustment disorder diagnosis. There are many questions regarding his daughter’s succession since there has never been an Empress on the throne since the monarchy begun after World War II. However, this concern died down when her male cousin was born.
The New Era in Japan
On May 1st, 2019, Japan woke up to a new imperial error whose name means beautiful harmony. This era broke a 1300 years’ mode of getting names of eras from Chinese classics. Many people expect to see the roles the new emperor plays in Japan. In most cases, the emperor roles revolves around ceremonials and public engagements as well as foreign affairs. However, given his political experience and life’s enthusiasm from being born after the World War II, Naruhito might be the kind of emperor that pushes for a lot of change.
The Emperor Nahurito promised to keep in mind the work his predecessors did to help better the lives of the Japanese and maintain peace. It is too early to make conclusions on how the new era in Japan will be but we hope that the era brings some positive change.