Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako held a banquet for U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife Melania at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Monday, entertaining them with a full-course French dinner and live orchestra music.
The banquet was part of the program prepared for the Trumps -- the first state guests to visit Japan since the emperor's enthronement on May 1 -- who a day before watched a grand sumo tournament and had dinner at a Japanese charcoal grill restaurant with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie.
For the imperial couple, it was their first hosting of any banquet since they became emperor and empress. A total of 165 guests attended, including the Abes, Crown Prince Fumihito and Crown Princess Kiko.
The venue for the party was Homeiden, the largest room at the palace sized at 915 square meters with walls decorated with light clouds floating across an abstract sunset. Bouquets of roses were on the centerpieces on the tables.
The empress and the first lady both wore light dresses, while their husbands wore tuxedos.
The Trumps feasted on consomme soup a la Royale, turbot meuniere with tomato sauce, rib steak, seasonal salad, Mt. Fuji-shaped ice cream, melon and grapes.
With the couples already having seen each other at the palace earlier in the day before the president held talks with Abe, they appeared relaxed as they chatted with each other.
At the outset of the banquet that was made available to the media, the emperor gave a toast, saying how he and the empress feel "a sense of nostalgia and distinct closeness" to the United States, with the emperor remembering his first longer visit he made to the country in 1985 and the empress spending her childhood in New York.
Trump responded with a speech, speaking about the "cherished bond" between the countries, and touched on the name of the new imperial era which began in early May when Emperor Naruhito ascended the throne.
Trump explained how he learned the era name Reiwa derives from the "Manyoshu," an ancient collection of Japanese poetry, and said he hopes the bilateral alliance is a "rich inheritance, and a gift we must pass on to our children" similar to the "Manyoshu" preserved by the Japanese.
Also among the guests were professional golfer Isao Aoki, who played golf with Trump and Abe on Sunday, as well as Shinya Yamanaka, the Nobel-Prize-winning stem cell researcher.
The imperial household orchestra performed music which included "Over the Rainbow" from the 1939 film classic "The Wizard of Oz."
State guests are usually served a French dinner but the palace also caters to religion, for example offering a halal dinner to Muslim guests. Vegetables used in the dishes come from the imperial stock farm, while wine is brought directly from the palace cellar.
For guests like Trump, who is teetotal, juice may be prepared instead of champagne for a toast, according to the Imperial Household Agency.