Monarchy Current Affairs - 2020

King Maha Vajiralongkorn officially crowned Rama X of Thailand

Thailand officially crowned its new King Maha Vajiralongkorn with Great Crown of Victory’ (one of five Royal Regalia i.e. symbols of kingship). He received a symbolic nine-tiered umbrella conferring him as ‘King Rama X of Thailand’. This coronation ceremony marks first ascension of a new monarch in past seven decades.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn

  • He became crown prince and official heir to throne in 1972.
  • He has been on throne since 2016, but according to Thai tradition he cannot be considered a divine representative on Earth nor main patron of Buddhism until he is consecrated (declared sacred). For this three day coronation ceremony began in Bangkok on 4 May 2019.
  • He is now titled Rama X, (or 10th monarch of the Chakri dynasty).
  • Chakri dynasty, has been reigning since 1782. The last coronation was held for king’s father Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1950.
  • He recently married to his royal consort who would now be new Queen Suthida. This is kings forth marriage.

About Thailand

  • Thailand has a constitutional monarchy, but royal family is highly respected by Thais and holds considerable power. The country also has strict laws, known as ‘lese majeste’, which bans public criticism of monarchy. It thus shields royal family from public view and scrutiny.

Current Developments

  • Thailand is being run by an arch-royalist junta since 2014 military coup.
  • Even after general election held on 24 March 2019 (first since 2014 army coup) a new government is yet to be declared.
  • Although monarchy takes primacy in country but it is supported by the army.

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Naruhito becomes Japan’s New Emperor marking beginning of Reiwa Era

Naruhito became Japan’s new Emperor after historic abdication of his father Akihito. Emperor Naruhito’s ascending of Chrysanthemum Throne marked beginning of “Reiwa” era in Japan which takes effect from May 1, 2019.

 

Naruhito (59-year old) became Japan’s new Emperor after historic abdication (first in more than 200 years) of his father Akihito.

He is nation’s 126th emperor in world’s oldest hereditary monarchy (from 5th century).

Akihito (now 85 years old), took throne in 1989. He devoted his career correcting for a war fought in his father’s name. He even brought the aloof monarchy closer to people. He is first emperor in Japan’s modern history whose era did not have a war.

Japan has witnessed a large amount of changes from 1989 (when it last ushered in new era). Its major recent concern is battling sluggish growth, chronically low inflation coupled with ageing population. With population in continuous decline, Japan will soon become world’s first “ultra-aged” society, with 28% of people over 65 years of age.

 Reiwa

  • Stepping down of Emperor Akihito brings his “Heisei” era to an end and beginning of new “Reiwa” era with Naruhito’s accession.
  • The term “Reiwa” means “Beautiful Harmony”. It is derived from “Manyoshu”, an anthology of Japanese poems dating back 1,200 years that symbolises Japan’s profound public culture and long tradition.
  • It is the first time that the era name (also known as “gengo”) has been taken from a Japanese document, and not from Chinese classics, which is a break from more than 1,300 years old practice.
  • In a highly digitalized and globalized society while most Japanese prefer Western calendar over Japanese system, the era name is still widely used in government and business documents. Most elders often use it to identify their generations.

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