Happy New Year! Japan’s imperial family wear face masks as they greet cheering crowds outside Tokyo Palace during their first appearance in 2023
- The Japanese imperial family welcomed crowds to Tokyo for the first time since 2020
- The Kaiser had not made a public New Year’s appearance because of a pandemic
- He was accompanied by Empress Masako, Princess Aiko, and other family members
The Japanese imperial family has ushered in the new year publicly for the first time since before the Covid pandemic – albeit with caution.
Emperor Naruhito, 62, last greeted crowds on New Year’s Day in January 2020, just weeks before the world was thrown into lockdown as the coronavirus took hold.
But after two years of private celebrations, the imperial family made the symbolic decision to appear publicly at a grand New Year’s gathering on Monday, as they waved to well-wishers outside the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
Her appearance comes after the family posed for New Year’s portraits at the palace.
Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako appeared at the Japanese Imperial Palace in Tokyo on New Year’s Day 2023 to greet well-wishers. Empress Masako looked elegant in a white wrap dress adorned with a pearl necklace, pearl earrings and a brooch
Although the family signaled optimism for Japan with their greeting, they remained cautious and set an example by wearing face coverings when waving.
Naruhito, accompanied by Empress Masako, was scheduled to make six brief appearances throughout the day on a glass-roofed palace balcony to express his wish for happiness for all.
The Empress, 59, looked elegant as ever in a white, long-sleeved, silk-effect wrap dress, with her hair styled to perfection in a clean, low updo. She wore a pearl necklace and pearl earrings.
Former Empress Michiko, former Emperor Akihito, Emperor Naruhito, Empress Masako and Princess Aiko waved the well-wishers for the New Year’s greetings
Princess Tsuguko of Takamado, Princess Hisako of Takamado, Princess Hanako of Hitachi, and Prince Hitachi attend New Year’s Greetings
Crown Prince Fumihito of Akishino, Crown Princess Kiko of Akishino, Princess Kako of Akishino, Princess Yuriko of Mikasa, Princess Nobuko of Mikasa, and Princess Akiko of Mikasa wave to the crowd
The Imperial Family, who gathered to greet well-wishers, all wore face masks as Covid restrictions remained in place
Crowds gathered and waved Japanese flags in front of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo as the imperial family appeared to greet them
The couple were joined by their daughter Aiko and Naruhito’s parents, former Emperor Akihito and former Empress Michiko, among other relatives.
Princess Aiko wore a high-necked, powder-blue, long-sleeved dress with buttoned cuffs and a brooch on her left side.
Meanwhile, Princess Akiko also opted for powder blue in a long-sleeved, laser-cut-out effect dress and accessorized with simple pearl earrings and a pearl necklace around her neck.
The imperial family has been cautious about their invitations, allowing 1,500 people into the palace in the Japanese capital to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
In 2020, before the pandemic started to hit Japan, a total of nearly 70,000 well-wishers came to see Naruhito’s New Year’s address. The palace canceled the event in 2021 and 2022 to prevent infection.
The royal couple were joined by their daughter Aiko and Naruhito’s parents, former Emperor Akihito and former Empress Michiko, among other relatives
“I am very pleased that after three years I can celebrate the new year with you,” he said.
“As we stand at the beginning of this year, I wish happiness to the people of our country and the world.”
In 2022, the royal couple gradually resumed their public appearances.