Emperor Naruhito ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne on Tuesday, proclaiming himself Japan's 126th emperor as the audience shouted "banzai" to wish him a long and prosperous reign. Naruhito pledged at an enthronement ceremony at the Imperial Palace to serve his constitutional duty as a symbol of the state and to stay close to the people, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe congratulated him and led three "banzai" cheers, the AP reports. The cheer traditionally means "ten thousand years" of long life. "I hereby proclaim to inside and outside of the country that I have enthroned," Naruhito said as he stood inside the Imperial Palace.
"I hereby swear that I will act according to the constitution and fulfill my responsibility as the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people of Japan, while always praying for the happiness of the people and the peace of the world as I always stand with the people," the 59-year-old said. The enthronement ceremony is the high point of several succession rituals that began in May when Naruhito inherited the throne after the abdication of Akihito, his father. Naruhito is the 126th emperor in the world's oldest hereditary monarchy that historians say goes back 1,500 years. Despite the time, effort, and cost put into preparations, the ceremony lasted only about 30 minutes. Earlier Tuesday, Naruhito put on a white robe and prayed at "Kashikodokoro" and two other shrines.
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