Proclamation of Crown Prince: April 2020


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April 15: Imperial messengers are sent to Ise Jingu in Mie Prefecture.

April 19
Rikkoshi-Senmei-no-gi: 11am ceremony to proclaim that Prince Fumihito has become the Crown Prince. There will be ~350 guests.

Choken-no-gi: 4:30pm First Audience ceremony with Emperor and Empress.

Prince Fumihito will worship at the Imperial Palace Sanctuaries.

April 21: 2 buffet-style banquets for ~750 guests.

April 23: Crown Prince and Crown Princess Akishino visit Ise Jingu in Mie Prefecture.

April 27: Crown Prince and Crown Princess Akishino visit Emperor Jimmu's mausoleum in Kashihara, Nara.

May 8: Crown Prince and Crown Princess Akishino visit Emperor Showa's mausoleum in Hachioji, Tokyo.

Sources: Sankei, Sankei 2

Japan streamlines celebration for crown prince's ascension to next in line | The Japan Times
 
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The government is considering cancelling the 2 banquets on April 21 over coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns.

Source: Mainichi
 
I wonder what the original reasons were for streamlining the celebration as it doesn't appear that the participation by the Empress would be onerous. Perhaps the Imperial Family's earlier remarks about cutting costs and the media coverage of the expense of the abdication and enthronement encouraged the government to streamline the events overall?

Given the cancellations in the Imperial Household and in public life that have taken place by now, I also wonder why this celebration and the state visit to Great Britain have not been postponed.
 
Yes, cutting costs and it's simply inappropriate to replicate everything from decades ago. Looks excessive nowadays.

I'm expecting the UK state visit to be postponed... to next year if the China state visit is rescheduled to this autumn. Just waiting for UK or Japan to announce officially.

As for the Crown Prince proclamation, if it's not cancelled... my guess would be
- severely limited attendance at proclamation ceremony - maybe Imperial family, top IHA officials and top ministers only. No need for 300+ guests.
- cancel 2 feasts
- mausoleum visits may still happen. The Japanese are still moving about and if the retired Imperial couple is allowed to travel to Hayama Imperial Villa and the Imperial Stock Farm, then the Akishino couple should be able to visit the mausoleums.

Japan eyes scaling down crown prince's April ascension rituals - Kyodo News
 
The 2 banquets, planned for April 21, are cancelled.

Court banquets for crown prince elevation to be canceled over virus - Kyodo News

About 50 people will be invited to the Rikkoshi-Senmei-no-gi ceremony on April 19. Reduced from ~350.

Source: Sankei

Japanese Crown Prince's banquet canceled | NHK WORLD-JAPAN News
[...]

The proclamation ceremony will be held at the Matsu-no-Ma State Room at 11:00 a.m. It's expected to take about 15 minutes.

At 4:30 p.m., the Emperor and Empress will meet the Crown Prince for the first time after the proclamation [...] This is expected to take about half an hour.

The number of guests at the proclamation ceremony has been pared down from roughly 350 to around 50, and the doors of the State Room will be kept open during the ceremonies for ventilation.
 
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On March 30th, the IHA announced there will be no motorcade for Crown Prince Akishino on April 19 to prevent crowds from gathering.

The Proclamation in February 1991 had a procession of police sidecars and motorbikes escorting Crown Prince Naruhito to and from the Imperial Palace.

Source: Sankei

I'm surprised the government/IHA has not postponed the ceremony yet... Japan and Tokyo's coronavirus infections have increased recently, Tokyo Governor Koike has hinted at lockdown, and some are urging the Prime Minister to declare a state of emergency.

If the ceremony goes ahead, I sincerely hope the Hitachi couple and Princess Yuriko do NOT attend. Since the government tends to follow Heisei's precedent, there's a high possibility family members will be squashed to one side.

Getty Image
 
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On March 30th, the IHA announced there will be no motorcade for Crown Prince Akishino on April 19 to prevent crowds from gathering.

The Proclamation in February 1991 had a procession of police sidecars and motorbikes escorting Crown Prince Naruhito to and from the Imperial Palace.

Source: Sankei

I'm surprised the government/IHA has not postponed the ceremony yet... Japan and Tokyo's coronavirus infections have increased recently, Tokyo Governor Koike has hinted at lockdown, and some are urging the Prime Minister to declare a state of emergency.

If the ceremony goes ahead, I sincerely hope the Hitachi couple and Princess Yuriko do NOT attend. Since the government tends to follow Heisei's precedent, there's a high possibility family members will be squashed to one side.

Getty Image

I wonder if they are hoping that with Japan being relatively unscathed so far, any measures will only be in a place for a short time. Or, on the other hand, could they be worried that if the situation is exacerbated there might not be the opportunity to hold any traditional ceremonies in the foreseeable future, if only because the public would disapprove of the spending?
 
That's true. The ceremony is nearly 3 weeks away and already scaled down, perhaps the government is waiting to see results of the current measures. Rescheduling is a headache but many events will be rescheduled anyway...

news24.jp reports Ise Jingu and mausoleum visits will be postponed.

ETA: However, given so many cancellations and postponements expected or already announced, it's super strange the Proclamation hasn't been postponed. (Well, I've been under stay-at-home orders for 3 weeks so a gathering of ~50 people is huge and worrisome.)
 
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On April 9th, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga reports the government is considering postponing the April 19 Rikkoshi no Rei ceremony (Proclamation of the Crown Prince) due to the coronavirus state of emergency and increasing infections in Tokyo.

Source: Jiji

I expect the Rikkoshi-no-Rei ceremony (Proclamation of the Crown Prince) will be postponed.
If Emperor Naruhito cannot receive ambassador credentials with ~10 people in the Matsu-no-Ma state room, how can the Rikkoshi-no-Rei go ahead with 50 attendees?
 
On April 9th, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga reports the government is considering postponing the April 19 Rikkoshi no Rei ceremony (Proclamation of the Crown Prince) due to the coronavirus state of emergency and increasing infections in Tokyo.

Source: Jiji

I expect the Rikkoshi-no-Rei ceremony (Proclamation of the Crown Prince) will be postponed.
If Emperor Naruhito cannot receive ambassador credentials with ~10 people in the Matsu-no-Ma state room, how can the Rikkoshi-no-Rei go ahead with 50 attendees?

I do think it makes sense to postpone the proclamation. It really is not an essential event, and can safely be deferred to safer times.
 
I do think it makes sense to postpone the proclamation. It really is not an essential event, and can safely be deferred to safer times.

I realize it was a reach, but when it first was announced that the proclamation would be scaled down rather than postponed I wondered if the rumor that the Prime Minister believes it will somehow assist him in shutting down discussion of female branches/succession in the Liberal Democratic Party was a factor. Of course, any discussion now seems far away - I highly doubt Princess Mako and Kei Komuro will press the issue of marriage in the near future, especially with New York (including Kei's university) being in lockdown.

In a similar vein, I wondered if the postponement of the Olympics was at work in the Government's reluctance to postpone this ceremony. Now that the Prime Minister cannot count on the Games as a boost for his administration, did he want to preserve as many other events of national importance as he could?


On April 9th, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga reports the government is considering postponing the April 19 Rikkoshi no Rei ceremony (Proclamation of the Crown Prince) due to the coronavirus state of emergency and increasing infections in Tokyo.

Source: Jiji

I expect the Rikkoshi-no-Rei ceremony (Proclamation of the Crown Prince) will be postponed.
If Emperor Naruhito cannot receive ambassador credentials with ~10 people in the Matsu-no-Ma state room, how can the Rikkoshi-no-Rei go ahead with 50 attendees?

Thanks for keeping us informed - it looks as if all of your predictions thus far have been accurate. Out of curiosity, would it be possible to hold the ceremony without attendees or with a tiny number?
 
On April 10th, the government officially postponed the Rikkoshi-no-Rei ceremony (Proclamation of the Crown Prince).

Govt. to postpone Crown Prince's ceremonies | NHK WORLD-JAPAN News
Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide said on Friday that Prime Minister Abe Shinzo had instructed the government to arrange the postponement, following the declaration of the state of emergency over the coronavirus. Suga said the ceremonies committee will set a new schedule for the events.
On April 9th, Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko visited the Imperial Palace to rehearse the ceremony.
Source: news.tbs.co.jp

Screenshots:
akishino_rehearsal.jpg

kiko_rehearsal.jpg

I realize it was a reach, but when it first was announced that the proclamation would be scaled down rather than postponed I wondered if the rumor that the Prime Minister believes it will somehow assist him in shutting down discussion of female branches/succession in the Liberal Democratic Party was a factor. Of course, any discussion now seems far away - I highly doubt Princess Mako and Kei Komuro will press the issue of marriage in the near future, especially with New York (including Kei's university) being in lockdown.

In a similar vein, I wondered if the postponement of the Olympics was at work in the Government's reluctance to postpone this ceremony. Now that the Prime Minister cannot count on the Games as a boost for his administration, did he want to preserve as many other events of national importance as he could?
The government was supposed to start discussions on stable succession after the enthronement and then postponed to after the Proclamation ceremony. PM Abe and the LDP wanted to cement Prince Akishino's 1st-in-line status officially. I recall their expert panel (probably carefully selected to support male-only inheritance) or preliminary discussions would exclude female succession and female-led Imperial branches anyway.

Thanks for keeping us informed - it looks as if all of your predictions thus far have been accurate. Out of curiosity, would it be possible to hold the ceremony without attendees or with a tiny number?
You're welcome. :flowers:

If the ceremony had gone ahead, I'd guess < 10 people. Emperor Naruhito, Crown Prince Akishino, Prime Minister, IHA Grand Steward, 1 person from upper and lower legislative houses, 1 chief justice, 1 governor to represent all prefectures, and 1 foreign ambassador for the diplomatic corps.
 
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On April 14th, a government official reported the Rikkoshi-no-Rei ceremony (Proclamation of the Crown Prince) will be held by end of year. Probably around autumn.

Source: Kyodo
 
Japan mulls holding crown prince proclamation events in November - Kyodo News
The Japanese government is considering holding ceremonies to celebrate Crown Prince Fumihito's ascent to first in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne possibly in mid-November, an official said Monday.

The "Rikkoshi no rei" ceremonies, originally scheduled for April, have been postponed due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

[...]

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the government will make a final decision on a possible autumn staging of the ceremonies after assessing the spread of infections following the recent four-day holiday weekend this month.

If the government concludes it is possible to adopt the new schedule, it will convene a panel to determine the specific date, the official said.

It is expected that preparations for the proclamation ceremonies will take at least a month after the scheduling is confirmed.

Two events -- the "Rikkoshi Senmei no gi" ceremony to proclaim Crown Prince Fumihito's new status and the "Choken no gi" ceremony in which he will meet with the emperor and empress following the proclamation -- had been planned for April 19.

[...]

Since mid-August, the number of new cases of the coronavirus has been on a downward trend in Japan and the government has gradually relaxed a range of restrictions.

[...]
 
The Crown Prince proclamation ceremony "Rikkoshi-no-rei" is scheduled for November 8 and limited to about 50 attendees. The court banquets are cancelled.

Japan to hold crown prince proclamation ceremonies on Nov. 8 - The Mainichi

I wondered if they would remain scaled down despite the delay. Personally, I am glad they are continuing to be cautious. But perhaps the scaled-down ceremony will set a precedent for future crown prince proclamations anyway, which would be in line with other cost-cutting measures.
 
One can't help noting the irony involved in the scaled down Rikkoshi-no-rei for the Crown Prince. He publicly (talk about breaking precedent) objected to the costs of his brother's enthronement ceremony, and now is having his own very, very low profile and presumably less expensive ceremony.
 
One can't help noting the irony involved in the scaled down Rikkoshi-no-rei for the Crown Prince. He publicly (talk about breaking precedent) objected to the costs of his brother's enthronement ceremony, and now is having his own very, very low profile and presumably less expensive ceremony.

The irony is certainly not lost!
 
Sad that the government did not change the Constitution to make it possible for Pss Aiko to become the CPss and Empress one day. Japan is just like the UK and other Royal Houses a Constitutional Monarchy. The laws are made by the Government not the Emperor. So female members should be able to be Empress in her own right.
 
Some decisions for the "Rikkoshi no Rei"

- Emperor Naruhito sends messengers to Ise Jingu on November 5
- Except the Emperor, Empress, and Crown Prince couple, other attendees will wear masks on November 8
- No ceremonial convoy between Akasaka Estate and Imperial Palace
- No congratulatory book signings at Imperial Palace
- Crown Prince couple's visits to Ise Jingu and mausoleums will be decided later

Sources: Sankei, Jiji

On October 23rd, Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko visited the Imperial Palace to rehearse the "Rikkoshi no Rei" ceremonies.

rehearsal_20201023.jpeg
 
Sankei Imperial Weekly 665 reported Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko rehearsed the Rikkoshi no Rei ceremony on October 23 and 27.

On October 30th, the Crown Prince couple visited the Imperial Palace for another rehearsal, this time with traditional clothing and attendants. There will be 2 more rehearsals.
 
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On November 2nd, Emperor Naruhito, Empress Masako, Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko visited the Imperial Palace to rehearse the Choken-no-Gi (First Audience) ceremony.

AP Images
 
Emperor Naruhito, Empress Masako, Crown Prince Akishino, and Crown Princess Kiko attended another rehearsal at the Imperial Palace on November 4.

AP Images

On November 5th, Emperor Naruhito attended the "Chokushi-Hakken-no-gi" ceremony at the Imperial Palace to dispatch messengers to Ise Jingu and the mausoleums of Emperor Jimmu and Emperor Showa to make offerings and report the "Rikkoshi no Rei" will take place.

Photos: Asahi, Sankei Imperial Weekly

Japan Holds 1st Ritual Related to "Rikkoshi-no-Rei" | Nippon.com
... The "Chokushi-Hakken-no-Gi" ritual, the first ceremony related to the Rikkoshi-no-Rei rites, was held at the "Take-no-Ma" audience room of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

According to the Imperial Household Agency, Emperor Naruhito, dressed in white, entered the room and handed via Nobutake Odano, his grand chamberlain, to the envoys documents to make the report...
 
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One can't help noting the irony involved in the scaled down Rikkoshi-no-rei for the Crown Prince. He publicly (talk about breaking precedent) objected to the costs of his brother's enthronement ceremony, and now is having his own very, very low profile and presumably less expensive ceremony.

The irony is certainly not lost!

It is a strong possibility in my opinion that he did so at the behest of his father, who was still the reigning emperor at the time, in exactly the same way that he broke precedent to criticize his brother's remarks about the treatment of Masako in the 2000s and to advocate for reintroducing abdication in the early 2010s. We can now be reasonably certain that on both occasions he was expressing the views of his father.

And his objections to costs were centered on state funding of religious ceremonial (in regards to the Daijosai) which some read as having nationalist overtones. I don't think that is at issue with the Rikkoshi-no-Rei, is it?

Sad that the government did not change the Constitution to make it possible for Pss Aiko to become the CPss and Empress one day. Japan is just like the UK and other Royal Houses a Constitutional Monarchy. The laws are made by the Government not the Emperor. So female members should be able to be Empress in her own right.

If the government had wanted Aiko to be eligible to become Crown Princess they would not have needed to change the Constitution, only the Imperial House Law. The Constitution says only that the monarchy is hereditary and says nothing about the gender of emperors.

THE CONSTITUTION OF JAPAN
 
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Timeline for November 8

After 9am: Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will worship at the Three Palace Sanctuaries and report the Rikkoshi-no-Rei will take place.

11am: Rikkoshi-Senmei-no-gi ceremony to proclaim that Prince Fumihito has become the Crown Prince. ~15 minutes

Afterwards, Emperor Naruhito will give the Crown Prince's sword Tsubokirigyoken to Crown Prince Akishino in the 鳳凰の間 (Phoenix room?)

12:30pm: Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko will worship at the Three Palace Sanctuaries

4:30pm: Choken-no-gi (First Audience ceremony) to greet Emperor and Empress. ~30 minutes. After congratulatory messages, the couples will exchange (?) sake cups but will not drink due to coronavirus measures. There's some anticipation we will hear Masako speak for the first time in 17 years. Her voice was last heard in April 2003.

Morning and worship events: Emperor and Crown Prince wear sokutai in specific colors reflecting their positions. Empress and Crown Princess wear kouchiki, nagabakama (formal version of hakama) and osuberakashi hairstyle. Attendees wear morning dress or long dress. IHA staff wear traditional clothes.

Afternoon audience: white tie

The Crown Prince's standard, attached to his vehicle, will be revealed on the 8th.

Sources: NHK, Sankei, FNN

Live streaming options

https://www.gov-online.go.jp/sp/rikkoushinorei/index.html
 
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:previous:

Thank you for the information and links!

Afterwards, Emperor Naruhito will give the Crown Prince's sword Tsubokirigyoken to Crown Prince Akishino in the 鳳凰の間 (Phoenix room?)

Are there any articles about the history of this sword?

4:30pm: Choken-no-gi (First Audience ceremony) to greet Emperor and Empress. ~30 minutes. After congratulatory messages, the couples will exchange (?) sake cups but will not drink due to coronavirus measures. There's some anticipation we will hear Masako speak for the first time in 17 years. Her voice was last heard in April 2003.

I didn't realize it had been such a long time. :ohmy: I suppose the family only waves silently to the crod when traveling to their summer homes.

The Crown Prince's standard, attached to his vehicle, will be revealed on the 8th.

What does this mean? Is he to be granted a new emblem in consequence of the proclamation?
 
:previous:

Thank you for the information and links!

Are there any articles about the history of this sword?

I didn't realize it had been such a long time. :ohmy: I suppose the family only waves silently to the crod when traveling to their summer homes.

What does this mean? Is he to be granted a new emblem in consequence of the proclamation?
You're very welcome! :flowers:

Like the other sacred treasures, solid information is lacking. A Mainichi article states the 壺切御剣 (Tsubokiri Mitsurugi or Tsubokiri no Gyoken) sword is traditionally inherited by the Kotashi (crown prince).

Heian era Emperor Uda gave a sword to his son the Crown Prince (later Emperor Daigo) in 893 and it was presented by kampaku (first secretary & regent) Fujiwara no Mototsune. This became an established ritual to designate the successor during the latter half of the Heian era. However the sword's whereabouts became unknown and a substitute sword was created for each new crown prince.

Managed by the IHA and designated a historical item for succession, the sword is exempt from inheritance and gift taxes. Whatever sword Crown Prince Akihito inherited in November 1952 was passed to Crown Prince Naruhito in February 1991 and now goes to Crown Prince Akishino.

Emperor Naruhito passed another crown prince-specific sword 行平御剣 (Yukihira Mitsurugi / Yukihira Gyoken) to his brother in September 2019 which was carried behind Fumihito during the enthronement ceremonies.

Kyoto University digital archive has a drawing of the (Tsubokiri Mitsurugi / Tsubokiri no Gyoken) sword from 17-18th century kuge (court noble) Kajuji family documents.

FNN describes the sword including handle is 1m long with the sword part 80cm, lacquered handle, embedded stones such as lapis lazuli, and silver decoration.

17 years... yea, it's been a long time. If Masako does speak on camera, then maybe a public speech or press conference will happen sooner than later.

I assume it's a new emblem/flag for the crown prince position. fnn.jp video at 1:49 shows Naruhito's Crown Prince emblem/flag (I think).

ETA: Emperor Naruhito entered the Imperial Palace after 8am. Empress Masako arrived earlier at 7am to change clothes and hairstyle.
 
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Thank you for the very informative post!

Everyone looks quite nice, although I would have preferred the entire imperial family to be in traditional court dress.
 
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Will the rest of the events be broadcast as well?

I hope to see translations of the statements that were read aloud from the English versions of the papers or from the IHA.

You're very welcome! :flowers:

Like the other sacred treasures, solid information is lacking. A Mainichi article states the 壺切御剣 (Tsubokiri Mitsurugi or Tsubokiri no Gyoken) sword is traditionally inherited by the Kotashi (crown prince).

Heian era Emperor Uda gave a sword to his son the Crown Prince (later Emperor Daigo) in 893 and it was presented by kampaku (first secretary & regent) Fujiwara no Mototsune. This became an established ritual to designate the successor during the latter half of the Heian era.

Interesting that the ritual survived the transition to automatic succession (I am thinking of the way most of the European monarchies have disposed of ceremonies to proclaim the heir, even if they have all retained accession ceremonies for the monarchs, whose positions are likewise automatic...).

It is impressive that it is traceable to over a millennium ago.

However the sword's whereabouts became unknown and a substitute sword was created for each new crown prince.

I like the pragmatic mindset of the historical courtiers.

I assume it's a new emblem/flag for the crown prince position. fnn.jp video at 1:49 shows Naruhito's Crown Prince emblem/flag (I think).

Thanks. I see, so it is just the chrysanthemum framed by borders for differentiation (?). I wonder if Fumihito's will be identical.
 
Will the rest of the events be broadcast as well?

I hope to see translations of the statements that were read aloud from the English versions of the papers or from the IHA.
I didn't see any live links for the next ceremonies but I expect videos will be released later for the Three Palace Sanctuaries worship and Choken-no-Gi. Last year, we got footage of various worship rituals for enthronement and Choken-no-Gi videos are usually provided.

Photo galleries (updated): Asahi, Mainichi, Sankei

Prince Hisahito saw his parents off around 9:15am and the Crown Prince couple arrived at the Imperial Palace 15 minutes later.

Imperial family screenshot.

rikkoshi_jif.jpg

Kyodo translated a few bits. I'm hopeful the IHA will eventually provide an English translation of Crown Prince Akishino's statement.

Japan crown prince formally declared 1st in line to throne - Kyodo News
[...] "I will carry out my duties by deeply acknowledging my responsibilities as crown prince," the 54-year-old prince, dressed in an orange robe, said in front of the emperor and Empress Masako.

[...]

In a congratulatory message called "yogoto," Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the crown prince has supported his brother and his father, while also taking up duties together with the crown princess.

"The (Japanese) people have revered the crown prince and the crown princess after seeing how they have shown kindness in their interactions with people, so it is a pleasure to see the Rikkoshi no rei being held."
Crown Prince Akishino’s Rise to 1st in Line to Throne Proclaimed | Nippon.com
... In response, Crown Prince Akishino, dressed in the “Ouni-no-ho” traditional costume, said he will fulfill his duties.

[...]

The core “Rikkoshi-Senmei-no-Gi” proclamation rite was attended by 46 people, including Empress Masako, Crown Princess Kiko and government officials. Emperor Naruhito was dressed in the “Korozen-no-Goho” costume.
 
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