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  #81  
Old 11-18-2017, 12:57 PM
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On November 18th, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited a lily farm and elementary school in in Okinoerabujima. Students demonstrated making brown sugar using traditional equipment. The Imperial couple also visited the banyan trees planted in Meiji 32 (1899). 80 students sang a folk song before the couple returned to Tokyo. The 3-day trip covered 3,273 kilometers.

Photos: Sankei, Getty Images

English articles:

Emperor, Empress visit lily farm and school to cap three-day tour of remote isles | The Japan Times

Emperor and empress express empathy for volcano victims: The Asahi Shimbun
Quote:
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko met five residents of Kuchinoerabujima island here on Nov. 16 representing all those who lived through a powerful volcano eruption almost 30 months ago.

All 137 residents of the island were confirmed safe, but were ordered to evacuate from their homes after the natural disaster occurred on the morning of May 29, 2015. The evacuation order for the entire island was lifted in October 2016.

Yoshito Hatake, 60, who had urged inhabitants to flee after the eruption, told the imperial couple, “Some of the islanders became unemployed during the evacuation. We will never forget that people across the country supported us.”

[...]

Nina Terada, 36, fled to Yakushima island accompanied by her two daughters, who were 2 and 4 at the time.

Michiko asked Terada, “How did (the disaster) affect your children?”

Terada said, “My eldest daughter wanted to go back to the island (during the evacuation), and now she is happy to be back.”

Michiko responded, “It is good. (Your family) have now all settled down.”

She mentioned that the islanders had managed to flee the island on the day of the eruption, saying she admired them for escaping “within such a short time.”

[...]

About 50 other islanders traveled from Kuchinoerabujima island via boat to gather in front of the meeting venue and welcomed the imperial couple.

On the day of the eruption, the couple sent a message to Kagoshima’s prefectural governor saying, “We hope that all of the islanders will continue to be safe.”
Emperor and Empress visit Yoron Island to observe 'illusory sandbar' | The Japan Times
Quote:
[...]

About 50 Kuchinoerabu islanders, about half the island’s population, welcomed the Imperial Couple at a town facility, displaying a banner reading, “We are hanging tough despite the eruption.”

“I am grateful that you are safe,” the Emperor told them.

The couple later met with five representatives of the volcano-hit island for half an hour.

“I am so happy they did not forget us,” a resident said. Their visit “empowers me.”

[...]
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  #82  
Old 11-19-2017, 06:19 PM
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On November 19th, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited a special exhibit of waka poems at the Japan Calligraphy Museum in Itabashi, Tokyo. The Imperial couple contributed to the 160 works on display.

Photo: Asahi
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  #83  
Old 11-20-2017, 12:02 PM
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On November 20th, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attended the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Local Autonomy Law at the Tokyo International Forum in Chiyoda, Tokyo. The ceremony is held every ten years and was attended by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other officials. Municipalities that contributed to improving local autonomy with excellent measures were honored. Kumamoto city and Nagano Prefecture's Kawakami village were awarded.

Photos: Asahi, Sankei, Getty Images

Later on the 20th, Empress Michiko attended the 70th anniversary ceremony of the Japanese Nursing Association in Minato, Tokyo. The association is a public benefit corporation with 730,000 qualified nurses.

121 people who contributed to the improvement of health care were given awards by the Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare; a letter of appreciation was presented to three former presidents of the association. [Sankei]

Photos: Asahi, Getty Images
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  #84  
Old 11-22-2017, 12:41 AM
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On November 22nd, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited Inokashira Park in Tokyo to mark its 100th anniversary. The land was given to Tokyo in 1913 and established as a park in 1917.

Photos: Asahi, Sankei, Getty Images

ETA: Imperial couple chat to visitors at 100-year-old Inokashira Park: The Asahi Shimbun
Quote:
The couple talked with visitors as they took in the scenery and crossed Bentenbashi bridge that stretches over Bentenike pond.

Michiko praised the park, telling visitors how good it was.

[...]
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  #85  
Old 11-24-2017, 01:06 PM
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On November 24th, Empress Michiko visited the "150th Anniversary of Bethel Institute" photo exhibition at the German Ambassador's residence in Minato, Tokyo. Bethel Institute in Bielefeld, Germany originally opened to treat epileptics in 1867. Currently, it is an advanced and comprehensive hospital for the disabled. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited Bethel Institute during their 1993 visit to Germany.

Photos: Asahi
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  #86  
Old 12-01-2017, 12:22 PM
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On November 30th, Empress Michiko attended the Chieftains concert at Bunkamura Orchard Hall on November 30, 2017 in Tokyo.

Getty Images

On December 1st, Empress Michiko attended a concert of the 'Shichikukai' using traditional Japanese music instruments at the Imperial Palace’s music hall.

Getty Images

Balcony appearances for the Emperor Akihito’s birthday on December 23rd: 10:20, 11, 11:40am

Visit of the General Public to the Palace for His Majesty's Birthday - The Imperial Household Agency
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  #87  
Old 12-04-2017, 05:27 AM
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On December 4 Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attended the award ceremony of the 33rd International Prize for Biology at the Japan Academy Hall in Tokyo:


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  #88  
Old 12-04-2017, 06:40 PM
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Thanks. Dr. Rita Rossi Colwell, distinguished university professor at the University of Maryland College Park, was this year's winner.

Quote:
This year, the field chosen for the prize was “Marine Biology.” Dr. Colwell introduced new approaches for identifying and classifying marine bacteria, and established the taxonomy of vibrios, which include Vibrio cholerae. Based on ecological studies of marine bacteria, she proposed that as a key survival strategy, vibrio cells can enter a state in which they remain viable but cannot be cultured. [...] She has won high acclaim also for her efforts toward cholera prevention in developing countries.
International Prize for biology | Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
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  #89  
Old 12-06-2017, 08:26 AM
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Thanks a lot for the extra information about the prize winner! That's interesting to know!


Today, December 6, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko welcomed the President of Madagascar Hery Rajaonarimampianina and his wife at the Imperial Palace:


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Old 12-06-2017, 08:27 PM
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You're welcome!

Conversation with the Presidential couple of Madagascar included: protecting the natural environment and Prince Akishino's and Princess Mako's private visit in 2007 to study livestock and extinct birds. [Asahi]
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  #91  
Old 12-07-2017, 01:57 AM
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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko also visited the Japan Fine Arts Exhibition at the National Art Centre in Tokyo on December 6:


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Old 12-07-2017, 07:22 PM
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More photos at Getty Images. The 4th Reorganized New NITTEN The Japan Fine Arts Exhibition is divided into 5 categories: Japanese paintings, foreign paintings, sculptures, arts and crafts, and books. Emperor Akihito, a researcher of fish, was pleased to see a painting of a pond and fish. [Jiji]

On December 7th, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attended the reopening of the square in front of JR Tokyo Station. Renovation began in 2014 in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympics Games. Along with the square, the route for newly appointed Ambassadors to the Imperial Palace will be available from the station again. [Jiji]

Getty Images (updated)
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Old 12-08-2017, 12:39 AM
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On December 8th, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited Mitsukoshi Isetan Soleil Ochiai Center which employs people with disabilities in Shinjuku, Tokyo as part of "Week of Disability" (Dec 3-9). They watched and interacted with employees creating ribbons and gift bags used in department stores. The company is part of Mitsukoshi Isetan Holdings and won the newly established "Excellent Employment Company for Persons with Disabilities" award by the Tokyo Metropolitan government this fiscal year. [Sankei]

Photos: Asahi, Getty Images

ETA: English video at Imperial couple visits a firm employing disabled people | Nippon TV NEWS24 JAPAN
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Old 12-15-2017, 02:09 AM
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On December 14th, Empress Michiko attended a charity concert benefitting 2011's earthquake reconstruction assistance at the Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall in Shinjuku, Tokyo. NGO "Association to Help Refugees" organized the concert, which featured performances by French trumpet player Eric Aubier and seven songs including Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake.

Sources: Yomiuri, news.tv-asahi.co.jp

ETA: Getty Images
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Old 12-18-2017, 06:21 PM
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On December 1st, Empress Michiko attended the funeral of her friend Tayo Shima, who passed away at age 80 on November 27th. Ms. Shima was Empress Michiko's junior during university and served as president of the International Board on Books for Young People.
Video: news24.jp

On December 9th, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited Togu Palace to attend CP Masako's 54th birthday dinner.
Photo 1 of Sankei Imperial Weekly #517
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Old 12-21-2017, 07:03 PM
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Leading light: Imperial Palace gate glows for Emperor Akihito: The Asahi Shimbun (includes video and photos)
Quote:
The famed Sakurada-mon Gate of the Imperial Palace basked in a serene glow as it was illuminated for the first time in preparation for Emperor Akihito's 84th birthday on Dec. 23, a public holiday.

The gate, an important cornerstone of the Kokyo Gaien national gardens in front of the palace, and one of those remaining from the old Edo Castle that housed the Tokugawa Shogunate, will be lit up between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. through Jan. 7.

[...]

During that period, the Imperial Household Agency will also illuminate certain parts of the Imperial Palace, including the historic Nijubashi bridge as well as castle keeps that are remnants of the old Edo Castle.
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Old 12-22-2017, 11:59 AM
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On December 22nd, Empress Michiko visited "Beautiful Books Can Change The World: The Universe of Tara Books, India" exhibition at the Itabashi Art Museum. About 300 items including handmade books, original drawings, and picture scrolls over 3 meters long are on display.

As she left the museum, Empress Michiko accepted congratulations for the Emperor's birthday from well-wishers. [Asahi]

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Old 12-22-2017, 06:16 PM
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The pictures taken on December 6, and released on December 22, by the Imperial Household Agency of Japan shows Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko posing for a photograph at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
Also taking a stroll in the garden of the Imperial Residence at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Emperor Akihito celebrated his 84th birthday on December 23


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Old 12-22-2017, 07:55 PM
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Thanks eya!

84th birthday press conference was held on December 20th. Asahi photos

Emperor Akihito turns 84 - News - NHK WORLD - English

Press Conference on the occasion of His Majesty's Birthday (2017) - The Imperial Household Agency
Quote:
From the end of February to the beginning of March this year, the Empress and I visited Viet Nam. While relations between Japan and Viet Nam have rapidly progressed in recent years, and many Vietnamese dignitaries, including two Presidents, have visited Japan, this was our first time to visit Viet Nam. In Viet Nam, we received the gracious welcome of the current President and the First Lady and three other leaders of the country. We were also warmly welcomed by the people of Viet Nam. This allowed me to reflect deeply on the close ties between our two countries. In Hanoi, we had the opportunity to meet some of the Vietnamese families of quite a few former Japanese soldiers who had remained in Viet Nam after the end of World War II and fought alongside the Vietnamese people in their war for independence from France. After the independence of Viet Nam, those former soldiers were advised to return to Japan and forced to leave the country, reluctantly parting with their families, and the families left behind in Viet Nam endured numerous hardships. I was deeply moved to learn that even under those circumstances, warm exchange has continued over the years between those Vietnamese families and a number of Japanese families the former soldiers formed in Japan after their return.

Our stay in Hanoi (..)


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Old 12-22-2017, 11:12 PM
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Balcony appearance for the Emperor's 84th birthday.

Asahi
Getty Images
Mainichi

Emperor thanks citizens for considerations on abdication - The Mainichi
Quote:
[...]

Accompanied by his wife Empress Michiko, the emperor waved to the crowd from behind the windows of the palace Saturday morning.

Some 45,900 people visited the palace, a record since he took the throne in 1989, according to the agency.

While expressing his appreciation for the good wishes, the emperor said, "It pains me to think that there are still people enduring hardships in regions affected by typhoons, torrential rains, the Great East Japan Earthquake (in 2011) and other disasters."

"I pray that the next year will be peaceful for all the people."

[...]
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