News: Updates

His Majesty Emperor Naruhito’s Accession

The Sainsbury Institute offers its warmest congratulations to Japan on the accession of His Majesty Emperor Naruhito on Wednesday 1st May 2019 and looks forward to continuing to promote the study and understanding of Japan and its place in the world into the new Reiwa era.

If you would like to offer your own congratulations, the Embassy of Japan in the UK has a commemorative guest book set up this week for people to express their well-wishes.

‘Celebrate Reiwa’

The name of the era is taken from two characters used in the preface to poem below. The poem is part of a collection called Man’yōshū (万葉集, ‘Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves’). Thank you to Thomas McCauley for the translation.


mutuki tati
paru no kitaraba
kaku shi koso
mume wo manekitutu
tanosiki opeme

The First Month appears and
With the coming of spring
Beckoned by plum blossom
Will we exhaust ourselves with joy!

If you would like to find out more, please see some selected articles below which may be of interest:

The Life and Reign of Emperor Akihito: In Pictures (The Guardian)

Reactions to Emperor Akihito’s Abdication (NHK)

The key ceremonies in Japan’s Imperial succession (Japan Times)

10-day Golden Week holiday (Japan Times)