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Japanese Emperor's abdication ceremonies begin

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The Emperor, in formal court dress traditionally worn by emperors, appeared at a cloister of the Kashikodokoro sanctuary. The building is where the goddess Amaterasu Omikami, the Imperial family's ancestral deity, is worshipped.

[TOKYO] The first in a series of ceremonies related to the Emperor's abdication began Tuesday with the Emperor announcing his April 30 abdication to ancestors and deities.

The ceremony took place at three sanctuary buildings within the Imperial Palace grounds.

The Emperor, in formal court dress traditionally worn by emperors, appeared at 10 am on a cloister of the Kashikodokoro sanctuary. The building is where the goddess Amaterasu Omikami, the Imperial family's ancestral deity, is worshipped. The Emperor walked slowly, holding a shaku ritual scepter in his hands, and went behind a bamboo blind and bowed.

According to the Imperial Household Agency, after bowing, the Emperor read out his statement in classical Japanese to announce that on April 30 he will abdicate the throne he has held for many years.

sentifi.com

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The Emperor then visited and bowed at the other sanctuary buildings: the Koreiden, which enshrines successive emperors and Imperial families; and the Shinden, which enshrines deities. The Empress, suffering from a spinal condition, offered prayers at her residence.

AFP