Japan’s Empress Masako is elegant as she marks 100th anniversary of Tokyo’s Meiji shrine 

Japan’s Empress Masako is elegant in a face mask and white ensemble as she takes part in a ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine

  • Japan’s Empress Masako, 56, visited the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo on Wednesday 
  • The wife of Emperor Naruhito was sombre in an all-white ensemble
  • The Meiji Shrine was founded in 1920 to honour  Emperor Meiji and his wife

Japan’s Empress Masako was the picture of dignity as she visited a Tokyo shrine today to pay her respects to a much-admired late Emperor.

Masako, 56, took part in a ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the Meiji Shrine, which is dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken.  

Empress Masako, whose husband Emperor Naruhito ascended the throne last year, donned a face mask and a demure ensemble of a white top, full-length skirt and blazer for the outing.

She paid tribute in the main shrine before walking past officials in the complex.

Japan’s Empress Masako looked sombre in an all-white ensemble as she paid a visit to Tokyo’s Meiji shrine today

Masako, 56, took part in a ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the shrine, which is dedicated to the late Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken

Masako, 56, took part in a ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the shrine, which is dedicated to the late Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken

Empress Masako, whose husband Emperor Naruhito ascended the throne last year, donned a face mask and a demure ensemble of a white top, full-length skirt and blazer for the outing

Empress Masako, whose husband Emperor Naruhito ascended the throne last year, donned a face mask and a demure ensemble of a white top, full-length skirt and blazer for the outing

The shrine, which was founded on 1 November 1920 honours Emperor Meiji, who died in 1912 and his wife Empress Shoken. 

The emperor ruled Japan during one of its most tumultuous times, when it transformed from a feudal society closed to foreign countries to a modern, constitutional government and international trading power. 

Japan’s political, social and economic systems were overhauled under what became known as the Meiji Restoration and the emperor became a symbol of this progress.

The shrine was built in an area often visited by Meiji and Shoken, who died in 1914.  

The Empress was the picture of dignity as she left the main shrine after paying her respects

The Empress was the picture of dignity as she left the main shrine after paying her respects

The shrine, which was founded on 1 November 1920 honours Emperor Meiji, who died in 1912 and his wife Empress Shoken. Pictured, Empress Masako visiting the shrine today

The shrine, which was founded on 1 November 1920 honours Emperor Meiji, who died in 1912 and his wife Empress Shoken. Pictured, Empress Masako visiting the shrine today

Empress Masako shares one daughter with her husband Naruhito, who ascended the throne in May 2019 following the abdication of his father, Akihito. Pictured, at the shrine today

Empress Masako shares one daughter with her husband Naruhito, who ascended the throne in May 2019 following the abdication of his father, Akihito. Pictured, at the shrine today

Empress Masako shares one daughter with her husband Naruhito, who ascended the throne in May 2019 following the abdication of his father, Akihito.

The couple have been warmly welcomed by the public.  There are expectations that Naruhito, the first emperor with a college degree who also studied abroad, and his Harvard-educated wife Masako, will internationalise the imperial household.

Naruhito, who studied at Oxford, is a historian, a viola player and an expert on water transport. 

Masako, a former diplomat, has struggled for more than a decade and had largely withdrawn from public appearances until recently. 

She developed ‘adjustment disorder’ after giving birth to the couple’s only child, Princess Aiko, and facing pressure to produce a boy in Japan’s monarchy, which allows only male heirs.

The Empress walked past officials as she entered the main shrine in Tokyo today

The Empress walked past officials as she entered the main shrine in Tokyo today

Empress Masako leaving the main shrine at Meiji Shrine, in Tokyo, earlier today

Empress Masako leaving the main shrine at Meiji Shrine, in Tokyo, earlier today

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