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Hirohito’s Body Moved In Preparation For Funeral

January 19, 1989

TOKYO (AP) _ The body of Emperor Hirohito was moved from his residence today to a makeshift mortuary where it will remain until his funeral next month.

An eight-car motorcade carrying the coffin, newly ascended Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, the head of the Imperial Household Agency and several imperial chamberlains wound slowly through the wooded palace grounds.

The coffin will remain in a specially converted room at the main Imperial Palace until Hirohito’s funeral Feb. 24, which is expected to be attended by representatives of more than 100 countries.

About 800 employees of the agency and palace police force lined part of the route and bowed or saluted as the black hearse passed, its windows draped in white cloth. Many of them wore black armbands in mourning for Hirohito, who died Jan. 7 of cancer at age 87.

Hirohito’s wife, Empress Dowager Nagako, who has been suffering from a hip injury and is confined to a wheelchair, did not attend the rite.

The coffin was placed in the main palace’s Pine Room, whose walls and floor were covered in white cloth. A white tent was set up with a separate inner sanctuary to hold the coffin, which had a Japanese screen and protective sword at its head and was surrounded by lanterns and chrysanthemum displays.

Akihito and other members of the imperial family made offerings of some of the late emperor’s favorite foods as musicians played court music, the household agency said.

Hourly offerings of rice, salt and water are to be made for three days starting Friday, the agency said.

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