Japanese Emperor Akihito Attends Last Harvest Festival
Tokyo, Nov. 23 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Emperor Akihito on Friday attended his last Niiname-sai harvest festival at the Imperial Palace before his abdication slated for the end of April 2019.
In Niiname-sai, the most important annual ritual ceremony held at the palace, the Emperor offers new crops as thanks to gods and then eats some of the offered crops himself, in order to pray for the well-being of the country and its people.
The ceremony has evening and late-night parts, which last two hours from 6 p.m. (9 a.m. GMT) and 11 p.m., respectively. On Friday, Emperor Akihito attended the first part, while the other one was attended by the chief ritualist.
The Imperial Household Agency shortened the time the Emperor attends at the late-night part from 2009 to reduce his burden. The time of his attendance at the evening part was also trimmed from 2012.
The Emperor stopped attending the late-night part in 2014 after he turned 80. His father, Emperor Hirohito, posthumously called Emperor Showa, stopped attending the late-night part at 69.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]