This week, in an elaborate ceremony, Emperor Naruhito proclaimed his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, formally marking the beginning of his reign.
Remember, this son of heaven was once a boy who was photographed doing a famous pose from the 1960s manga Osomatsu-kun:
The last time the ceremony happened was in 1990. This time, this blast from the past was streamed live on the Internet in high definition video for the world to watch. To be honest, I know nothing about imperial rituals in Japan, so I link to a BBC article that provides a pretty basic visual explanation.
Among the dignitaries invited to Tokyo to witness to event was Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, who loves to take trips abroad while leaving her hometown’s political crisis to rot away. For some reason, TV Tokyo’s live stream decided to focus its camera at Ms. Lam. What point was TV Tokyo trying to make?
There are people glued to the Internet in Hong Kong at all hours of the day, and these people were quick to notice that at one point, Ms. Lam was allegedly fidgeting on her phone before the enthronement ceremony began. Ever the opportunist on publishing anti-China articles, the Sankei Shimbun reported on this the following day:
The October 23 edition of Ming Pao published a photo of Ms. Lam, who was seated amongst other dignitaries, looking at her phone, and wrote that some people thought that she was challenging the boundaries of diplomatic protocol. On the other hand, the enthronement ceremony’s attendees were permitted to bring in their mobile phones. Further, the Office of the Chief Executive said that Ms. Lam was seen using her phone before the ceremony began. Indeed, on the images circulating online, there are clearly empty seats around Ms. Lam, and it appears that this was before the ceremony began.
(This will probably be the only time I will link to Sankei Shimbun on this blog.)
Personally, I’m more intrigued at the karmic metaphor of the ring of empty seats around Ms. Lam. Breach of diplomatic protocol or not, Ms. Lam has operated with a most malicious ignorance of international relations—deciding to introduce a reckless extradition bill at around the G20 summit, dragging China deeper into its trade conflict with Mr. Trump, and now attempting to play judicial hardball with a separatist Taiwanese president. At home, as the Financial Times revealed today, people are literally counting down the days until Beijing replaces her. Few things are certain in life, but one is 100 percent guaranteed to leave the Chief Executive job despised and discredited. Ms. Lam, it seems, will not be the exception to the rule.
So surely one could spare some slack for the most hated person in the world, and allow her to mindlessly scrolling on her phone once in a while.
In other news, a rainbow appeared during the enthronement ceremony. Perhaps Emperor Naruhito did descend from heaven at some point in his life.