In an unexpected move, Japan’s Emperor Akihito will abdicate this spring.
The 85-year-old emperor has expressed concern over his health affecting his ability to carry out duties. So on April 30th, the Chrysanthemum Throne will pass to Crown Prince Naruhito.
The event is officially termed “the Japanese imperial transition”, the first abdication to happen in over 200 years. It will make way for a new era, which will be officially named later this year.
In Japan, an emperor’s reign is also referred to as an era. Akihito’s reign is known as the Heisei era.
After an emperor’s death, the deceased is given a posthumous name, usually named after their era. Akihito would be known as Emperor Heisei after his death. Since he is abdicating, he will not be known as Heisei. Instead, he will be called “emperor emeritus”. His wife, Empress Michiko, will be “empress emerita”, according to the Imperial Household Agency.
The video shows the current Emperor Akihito at the Imperial Palace in a ceremony officially signaling that he will be stepping down next month.
Emperor Akihito takes the throne after the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito (now known as Emperor Showa).