Sumo’s top wrestlers took part in an annual one-day exhibition for thousands of spectators within the Yasukuni Shrine’s precincts in Tokyo.
Japanese bathers pray for the healthy new year while dipping in a cold water tub with blocks of ice at a park adjacent to Teppozu Inari Shinto Shrine during a winter ritual in Tokyo, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. About 100 people gathered for the mid-winter event to pray for their healthy new year and displayed their perseverance.
Those involved in the performance bring their own hand-made fireworks, made from bamboo packed with black powder and tightly wrapped in woven rice stalks. Participants wear fireproof outfits to withstand the half-minute barrage of gunpowder raining down from the handheld cannons.
The event, known as “tezutsu hanabi,” was held as part of Toyohashi city’s annual Gion Festival.
More than 3,000 of the trees were planted along Washington D.C.’s tidal basin in 1912, a gift from Japan. Since then Washingtonians have celebrated the annual blooming of the pink blossoms with a parade, and even a beauty pageant.
Emperor Akihito is making the first visit by a Japanese emperor since World War II to the Philippines, which suffered under Japan’s harsh military occupation during the war but now relies on Tokyo as an ally, trading partner and source of aid and investment.
Akihito was apprehensive when he first visited the Philippines as crown prince in 1962, fearing anti-Japanese feelings were still strong, but his anxiety vanished in the smiles of the Philippine president and Filipinos who welcomed him, according to the emperor’s press secretary, Hatsuhisa Takashima.
A selection of Filipinos’ views on Akihito’s visit:
“I think if the Japanese are offering an apology for what they did, it is better to be friends because we can no longer bring back the past. I am happy about what the emperor said because they have accepted their mistake, but maybe they should help the remaining victims of the war to ease their pain.” — Joel Abedo, 51, security guard.
The day in photos around the world.