New Year's Greetings

Their Majesties' New Year Reception

Photo Description
Their Majesties' New Year Reception
(Matsu-no-Ma (State Room),
Imperial Palace)
(Photo: Imperial Household Agency)
Their Majesties' New Year Reception
(Matsu-no-Ma (State Room),
Imperial Palace)
(Photo: Imperial Household Agency)

At the Imperial Palace each year on 1 January, Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress receive New Year greetings from His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince and the rest of the Imperial Family; the Speaker and Vice-Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President and Vice-President of the House of Councillors; Diet members; the Prime Minister; Ministers of State; the Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court; other government officials with Imperial attestation (Ninshokan); Administrative Vice-Ministers of Ministries and Agencies and other leading figures of legislative, executive and judicial organs; prefectural governors and chairpersons of prefectural assemblies; and heads of diplomatic missions to Japan and their spouses. This ceremony is considered a state event.

Visit of the General Public to the Palace for the New Year Greeting

Photo Description
Visit of the General Public to the Palace for the New Year Greeting
(East Plaza, Imperial Palace)
(Photo: Imperial Household Agency)

At the Imperial Palace each year on 2 January, Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress receive New Year Greetings from the people.
Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress appear with the rest of the Imperial Family on the Imperial Palace veranda several times. On this occasion, His Majesty the Emperor addresses the people. The people enter from the main gate of the Palace and offer their good wishes in the East Plaza of the Imperial Palace.

- History -

Visits by the general public to offer congratulations in the New Year Celebration at the Imperial Palace began on 1 January 1948. At the time, the celebration lasted from noon until 4:00 p.m. Visitors entered from the Main Gate and left from the Sakashita-mon Gate after signing the visitors' books installed near the iron bridge inside the Main Gate. Although none of the members of the Imperial Family appeared before the visitors, Emperor Showa did observe the scene of the visits from the roof of the Imperial Household Agency building.

On 1 January 1951, Emperor Showa and Empress Kojun appeared before visitors for the first time, on the balcony above the central entrance to the Imperial Household Agency. From 1953, the day of the greeting was moved to 2 January due to event schedule.

Later, these visits by the general public were temporarily suspended due to construction of the Imperial Palace. Since 1969, this ceremony has been held at the present Imperial Palace.

Number of the General Public Visitors to the Imperial Palace for the New Year Greeting

Years Number of Visitors
1990

Note Cancelled

1991 77,770
1992 80,930
1993 52,700
1994 111,700
1995 71,800
1996 64,700
1997 59,300
1998 68,200
1999 64,200
2000 57,240
Years Number of Visitors
2001 70,870
2002 72,850
2003 77,710
2004 68,100
2005 75,080
2006 50,210
2007 68,830
2008 79,610
2009 75,790
2010 79,290
2011 77,110
2012 70,770

In 1990 the general public visit to the Imperial Palace for the new year greeting was called off because of the demise of the Emperor Showa.