New Year in Japan -- and a hundred thousand people filed through the grounds of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo to see Emperor Hirohito make his traditional annual appearance.
New Year in Japan -- and a hundred thousand people filed through the grounds of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo to see Emperor Hirohito make his traditional annual appearance. Security was extremely heavy.
SYNOPSIS: The gates opened at half past nine in the morning. Already, thousands of people had been waiting for several hours to catch the first glimpse of their Emperor -- one of the world's longest-reigning monarchs.
It was one of the rare occasions on which the public were allowed to cross the normally-forbidden Nijubashi Bridge -- or 'double bridge'.
Security was heavy with a thousand policemen on duty, checking people and hand-luggage before they were allowed across the bridge. However, by the end of the day with more than a hundred thousand people having gone through the checks, no incidents or discoveries were reported.
The crowds, encouraged by groups of ultra-nationalists standing among them, waved little 'rising sun' flags and chanted 'Banzai' -- long live the Emperor.
During the day, the Emperor appeared eight times to wave to the crowds from the security of a glass-enclosed verandah. His public appearance's are rare. Once, the Emperor was revered as a god -- and even today, he is regarded as something of a near-god among traditionalist Japanese. With him on the balcony were the Empress, and their family -- Crown Prince Akihito, Princess Michiko, Prince Hitachi and Princess Hanako.
1977 marks Emperor Hirohito's 51st year on the throne. He succeeded it on December the 25th, 1926, on the death of his father, Emperor Taisho.