A New Role As Emperor And Empress

A new role as Emperor and Empress

It's been almost half a year since the Emperor ascended the throne. While Emperor Naruhito has been following in his father's footsteps as a Symbol of the state, he's also been searching for a more modern vision as Emperor.

On May 1, the Emperor took part in the "Kenji-to-Shokei-no-gi" -- a ceremony to inherit the Imperial Regalia from his father, Emperor Emeritus Akihito.

"I sincerely pray for the happiness of the people and the further development of the nation, as well as the peace of the world," the new Emperor said in his first speech.

To celebrate the succession, 140,000 people visited the Imperial Palace. The couple appeared on the palace balcony six times three days later to greet the public.

The couple has embarked on a new period of imperial diplomacy. Both have spent years living overseas, and have a wide range of international experience to draw on in their interactions and activities going forward.

In late May, the US President came to Japan as a state guest. Both the Emperor and Empress were able to talk with the Trumps without translators.

The imperial couple has visited many regions of the country. One destination was Aichi Prefecture, in central Japan. Crowds of people gathered along the roads to welcome the pair. One woman said, "I don't know why but I have tears in my eyes." A young mother said, " Seeing them inspires me to do my best in life, with my child."

The imperial couple went to a facility for people with disabilities in the prefecture, staying beyond their scheduled hours so they could speak with everyone.

On August 15th, the couple attended a government ceremony to mark the 74th anniversary of the end of World War Two. The Emperor expressed his hope for peace.

He said, "Reflecting on our past and bearing in mind the feelings of deep remorse, I earnestly hope that the ravages of war will never again be repeated.

Together with all of our people, I now pay my heartfelt tribute to all those who lost their lives in the war, both on the battlefields and elsewhere, and pray for world peace and for the continuing development of our country."

Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako have continued to travel across the country, as part of their goal in building a strong bond with the Japanese people, from children to elders.