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  #121  
Old 02-15-2018, 10:32 PM
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On February 16th, Empress Michiko visited "Momiji House", a medical facility for children with disabilities or serious illness in Setagaya, Tokyo. She watched children exercise and spoke with the families. The National Center for Child Health and Development established "Momiji House" in 2016 and it's also one of the few child hospices in Japan. [Nikkei]

Photos: Sankei, Asahi (includes the Imperial couple's visit to Helen & Douglas House in 2007), Getty Images

ETA: Momiji House is modeled after Helen & Douglas House in Oxford, England. [Mainichi]
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  #122  
Old 02-19-2018, 06:33 AM
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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko left Tokyo today, February 19, for a stay at Hayama Imperial Villa in Hayama, south of Tokyo, and posed for some photos at the beach:


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  #123  
Old 02-20-2018, 12:55 AM
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Imperial couple praise Japanese athletes' efforts in Pyeongchang: The Asahi Shimbun
Quote:
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko beamed with pride when asked about the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics as they took a stroll near the Hayama Imperial Villa, where they are enjoying a rest.

“(Team Japan) is achieving gratifying results,” said a smiling Akihito in praise of Japanese Olympians’ achievements, which include a current medal count of two gold and 10 overall.

[...]

Among locals who gathered to greet them, a 20-year-old female student of a university in Saitama Prefecture showed a photo to the couple.

Michiko looked affectionately at the picture of the student giving the emperor a bunch of flowers at the same place 17 years ago, saying, “You’ve really grown up.”

[...]

“I am grateful that I was able to convey my gratitude to the couple for accepting my daffodils,” said the student.

The couple are scheduled to return to Tokyo on Feb. 22.
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  #124  
Old 02-26-2018, 01:21 PM
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On February 26th, Emperor Akihito met with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.
Photos: Asahi, Getty Image

Emperor Akihito and Olympics Mark End of Bachelet's Visit to Japan
Quote:
[...]

The meeting with the Japanese head of State, who will abdicate the thrown in 2019, was the conclusion of bilateral events held over the past few months to commemorate the 120th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

[...]

The meeting between President Bachelet and Emperor Akihito focused on the excellent atmosphere of cooperation between the two countries, considering that bilateral trade exceeded eight billion dollars in 2017 and will continue to grow after the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11).

[...]
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  #125  
Old 02-28-2018, 06:24 AM
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Emperor Akihito held an attestation ceremony for Teru Fukui, the new Minister in charge of Okinawa and Northern Territories affairs, at the Imperial Palace on February 27:



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  #126  
Old 03-04-2018, 11:35 PM
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Emperor to make possibly final trip to Okinawa in late March - The Mainichi
Quote:
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will make a three-day visit to Okinawa from March 27 to commemorate victims of World War II, in what could be their final trip to the prefecture, the site of a major WWII battle, before the emperor's abdication, the Imperial Household Agency said Monday.

The imperial couple will stay in Naha, the capital of the southern island prefecture, and travel to Japan's westernmost island of Yonaguni for the first time, according to the agency.

[...]

The two are expected to fly to Okinawa and visit the National War Dead Peace Mausoleum in the city of Itoman on the main island on March 27 to pay tribute to the war dead.

The couple will make a day trip the next day to Yonaguni Island to visit a stone monument marking Japan's westernmost point and see "Yonaguni uma," a horse breed native to Japan.

On the final day, they will travel to the city of Tomigusuku on the main island to visit Okinawa Karate Kaikan, a facility dedicated to the karate martial art, which is said to have its roots in Okinawa, before flying back to Tokyo.

[...]
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  #127  
Old 03-07-2018, 02:09 AM
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On March 7th, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attended the 70th anniversary ceremony of the municipal fire-fighting system at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Sumida, Tokyo. The Fire and Disaster Management Agency hosted the event, attended by 5,000 people including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The Imperial couple attend milestone ceremonies.

Photos: Getty Images, Sankei

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  #128  
Old 03-10-2018, 06:49 AM
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Today, March 10, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attended a charity concert in Tokyo that was held in support of the reconstruction of areas affected by the earthquake-tsunami disaster in northeastern Japan in 2011:


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  #129  
Old 03-10-2018, 11:13 PM
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Asahi gallery includes the performers. The Imperial couple spoke with Fukushima Prefecture's Iwaki High School Chorus after the concert, thanking them for the wonderful music.
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  #130  
Old 03-13-2018, 07:08 AM
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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko received the President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena and his wife for a meeting at the Imperial Palace today, March 13. The President is on a six-day official visit to Japan.


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  #131  
Old 03-13-2018, 07:41 PM
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Emperor Akihito expressed thanks for support following the 2011 earthquake. Sri Lanka donated 80 million yen and 3 million tea bags. He also mentioned the 1951 Treaty of San Francisco where the delegation from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) defended a free Japan and refused war reparations that would harm Japan's economy. Then Ceylonese Finance Minister J.R. Jayawardene quoted the words of Buddha, saying, "Hatred ceases not by hatred, but by love."

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena expressed his appreciation for Japan's support in hospital and school construction. [Asahi, Sankei]

On March 13th, the IHA announced the Emperor's Cup and Empress's Cup will be awarded to winners and teams of disabled sports for the first time. Vice Grand Steward Yasuhiko Nishimura will deliver the trophies to the Disabled Sports Association on the 23rd. [Asahi]

The competitions:
- Japan Wheelchair Basketball Championships
- Japan Women's Wheelchair Basketball
- International Wheelchair Tennis
- National Wheelchair Race

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will visit Hokkaido in early August for the 150th anniversary of Hokkaido's Renaming. Originally called Ezo or Ezochi, the Meiji government renamed the island in 1869. Their Majesties will attend the ceremony in Sapporo on August 5th; they will also visit Rishiri Island for the first time. [Mainichi]
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  #132  
Old 03-14-2018, 10:50 AM
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On March 12 Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko received the recipients of the Iryo Koro-sho (Medicine Achievement Awards) at the Imperial Palace:



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  #133  
Old 03-15-2018, 07:43 AM
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Today, March 15, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko were seen visiting the Takanawa Royal House, where they will live after the Emperor's abdication in 2019:



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  #134  
Old 03-16-2018, 03:03 AM
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The Imperial couple reconfirmed design plans during the 45 minute visit. Originally the IHA intended to add a laboratory for Emperor Akihito and an exercise room. Those plans were cancelled as their Majesties wanted to keep renovation cost to the minimum necessary.
Photos: Sankei

Earlier in the day, Emperor Akihito received Kuwaiti Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanim.

KUNA : Japanese Emperor lauds significant ties with Kuwait - Parliamentary - 15/03/2018 (includes photo gallery)
Quote:
[…]

Japanese Emperor Akihito lauded Thursday the significant and historic ties linking Kuwait and Japan, adding that he greatly admires and respects the leader of Kuwait His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for his regional and global reputation.

Emperor Akihito's praise came during his reception of visiting Kuwaiti Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanim.

The Emperor thanked Kuwait and its people for their contributions to the relief aid efforts after the Tsunami, which hit Japan in 2011.

[…]

On his part, Speaker Al-Ghanim conveyed greetings from His Highness the Amir to Emperor Akihito, saying that both nations were eager to develop ties furthermore.

Speaker Al-Ghanim expressed Kuwait's gratitude towards the unwavering Japanese stance during the Iraqi invasion of 1990 and the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, affirming that relations continue to become stronger as both countries are looking into new means to boost bilateral ties.

[…]
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  #135  
Old 03-19-2018, 12:20 PM
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On March 19th, the IHA announced Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko donated a mirror to Kashihara Shrine in Nara Prefecture. Their Majesties thought of a donation during their visit to the shrine in April 2016. The bronze mirror is 24 cm in diameter and features traditional patterns on the back; the cord is made of Koshimaru silk cultivated by the Empress.

In the past, Emperor Meiji donated a sword; Empress Shoken donated a mirror to Kashihara Shrine which is the site where Japan’s first emperor, Emperor Jimmu, is said to have acceded the throne in 660 BC.

Photos of mirror and case: Asahi
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  #136  
Old 03-20-2018, 12:57 PM
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The IHA announced Empress Michiko will not attend the spring equinox rituals at the Imperial Palace on the 21st due to foot pain. The Empress experienced strong pains in her legs since January. While it's not a serious problem for daily activities, the intermittent pain continues. She will likely stop attending the spring and autumn equinox rituals.

Sources: Asahi, Mainichi

ETA: IHA press release (translation)
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  #137  
Old 03-23-2018, 05:44 PM
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On March 22nd, the IHA revealed Emperor Akihito contributed 4 pages to a publication on fishes. The book features 1400 kinds of fish and writings from 47 researchers.
Photo: Asahi

On March 23rd, Empress Michiko visited an exhibition on Czech writer Karel Capek at the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Tokyo.
Photos: Getty Images
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  #138  
Old 03-28-2018, 01:43 AM
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More from Day 1 (March 27): They visited Okinawa Peace Memorial Park and then met elementary and junior high school reporters at their hotel in Naha.

Photos: Getty Images, Asahi


On March 28th, the Imperial couple visited Yonagunijima island for the first time. They viewed Yonaguni horses, one of eight horse breeds native to Japan and critically endangered.

Photos: Sankei
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  #139  
Old 03-29-2018, 01:50 PM
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Later on March 28th, the Emperor and Empress watched a 300 year old traditional dance and visited a monument at in western Yonagunijima island where Taiwan is sometimes visible.
Photos: Asahi, Getty Images

On March 29th, the Imperial couple toured Okinawa karate hall in Tomigusuku and watched a karate demonstration.
Photos: Asahi, Getty Images

Emperor returns from 3-day visit to Okinawa to mourn war dead - The Mainichi
Quote:
[…]

The imperial couple visited the National War Dead Peace Mausoleum in the city of Itoman on the main island Tuesday and traveled for the first time to Japan's westernmost island of Yonaguni on Wednesday.

On the final day, they traveled to the city of Tomigusuku on the main island to visit Okinawa Karate Kaikan, a facility dedicated to the karate martial art, which is said to have its roots in Okinawa.

[…]

Tokumasa Miyagi, the 76-year-old chairman of a surviving families' association in Okinawa, said, "Whenever they come to Okinawa, they come here first. We saw once again that they have been thinking about Okinawa so much."

[…]

On Yonaguni Island, the emperor and empress visited a stone marking the nation's westernmost point and saw "Yonaguni uma," a horse breed native to Japan.

They also saw a karate exhibit and demonstration at the facility in Tomigusuku and the emperor offered words of encouragement, saying, "I hope you will continue to promote karate."

[…]


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  #140  
Old 04-01-2018, 11:41 PM
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On April 2nd, the Imperial couple strolled outside the Imperial Palace for about 10 minutes in the morning, enjoying the cherry blossoms.

Photos: Asahi, Getty Images

ETA: Imperial couple take informal stroll to enjoy sakura by palace:The Asahi Shimbun
Quote:
[...] Walking out from the Kitahanebashimon gate at the north of the palace and crossing a bridge to a walkway by a public road along the moat, the “incognito” imperial couple soon attracted attention as they ventured out at around 7:10 a.m.

The pair usually take walks inside the palace grounds, but they rarely make it outside. The stroll was about 10 minutes long.

[...]

The pair waved and smiled at a number of onlookers gathering near the Inuimon gate, then returned to the palace.
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