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  #281  
Old 12-21-2018, 04:58 AM
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Empress Michiko attended the Kiriku Handbell Ensemble Christmas Concert in Tokyo yesterday, December 20:


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  #282  
Old 12-22-2018, 02:25 AM
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On December 21st, the IHA announced Emperor Akihito will not renew his driver's license when it expires in January. The emperor acquired his license at 20 years old in March 1954. His first car was a Prince model from Prince Motor Company (merged with Nissan in 1966), purchased in June of that year. He has owned domestic cars for 64 years and currently drives a 1991 Honda Integra. The emperor only drives within the Imperial Palace grounds to tennis matches or East Gardens for walks. His driving record is spotless, no accidents or violations in 64 years.

Emperor Akihito last renewed his license in January 2016, receiving senior citizen training and cognitive function tests at the palace. IHA reported he decided then that he would not renew the next time.

Photos of Emperor Akihito driving: Mainichi
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Old 12-22-2018, 01:56 PM
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Very smart of the Emperor, but I'm sure it's also a bit sad.
  #284  
Old 12-22-2018, 02:49 PM
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Emperor Akihito's 85th birthday press conference on December 20 (full English translation)

Press Conference on the occasion of His Majesty's Birthday (2018) - The Imperial Household Agency

December 10th photos and press conference: Mainichi


ETA: Full birthday video (3:33) from Jiji
  #285  
Old 12-22-2018, 03:59 PM
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I am glad to see 'former members' of the family included in the rather tiring birthday schedule. And even the non-adult grandchildren are included at the end of the day to wish their grandfather a happy birthday before their parents and aunt and uncle dine with them.
  #286  
Old 12-23-2018, 01:59 AM
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Hopefully the Imperial couple will get to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries as they wish after the abdication.

Given Masako's condition, I wonder if the birthday schedule will be altered next year. The empress' birthday schedule is packed as well, see Press Conferences on the occasion of Her Majesty's Birthday (Written Answers) (2018) - The Imperial Household Agency

Photos of the Emperor and his family greeting the public on his 85th birthday: Asahi, Getty Images, AP Images, AFPBB

ETA: Luncheon and tea ceremony
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DvJZ2iiUYAEoSnR.jpg
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DvJaX0UV4AELq2m.jpg
http://japan-forward.com/app/uploads...3-1024x762.jpg


  #287  
Old 12-25-2018, 12:42 AM
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The IHA reported Emperor Akihito has cold symptoms but no fever. He refrained from the annual ritual Taisho-Tenno-reisai marking Emperor Taisho's death on December 25th. He will carry out office work in the afternoon as planned.
Sources: Sankei, Kyodo

Actually, both he and the empress were already under the weather on his birthday...

Record number of well-wishers salute emperor on 85th birthday: The Asahi Shimbun
Quote:
The agency said that the emperor has shown signs of a cold, including a sore throat, from a few days ago and that Michiko had a slight fever
Some articles about the 85th birthday press conference and balcony appearances:
Emperor gives emotional last birthday news conference: The Asahi Shimbun
Quote:
[...] Noting that his elder son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will take over as emperor from May 1, Akihito choked up and said, "As I come to the end of my journey as emperor, I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart the many people who accepted and continued to support me."

[...]

Akihito also spent much of the news conference reflecting on peace as he is the last emperor with direct experience of World War II.

Not forgetting that the peace and prosperity enjoyed by Japan after the war was built on the countless lived lost during the conflict and the numerous sacrifices made by the people since then, he said, "I have believed it is important ... to pass on this history accurately to those born after the war."

Reflecting on his reign, he added, "It gives me deep comfort that the Heisei Era is coming to an end, free of war in Japan."

He also spoke about Okinawa, which he has visited on 11 occasions, noting that it "has experienced a long history of hardships."

[...]

Akihito also mentioned the many natural disasters that have occurred during the Heisei Era. Touching upon the many lives lost and damage caused by those disasters, he said, "I have no words to describe the deep sadness I feel when I think of this."

[...]

Akihito also had words for his two sons, Naruhito and Prince Fumihito [...]

"I think that, while carrying on the traditions of the imperial family, they will continue to walk their paths, keeping pace with the ever-changing society," Akihito said.
Emperor offers loving thanks to empress for 60 years of support: The Asahi Shimbun
Quote:
[...] “The empress has always been at my side, understood my thoughts, and supported me in my position and official duties as I performed my duties as the emperor,” Akihito said, calling her his “fellow traveler.”

He also said she also showed “great devotion” toward people related to him and raised their three children with “deep affection.”

Michiko accompanied her husband to the venue on Dec. 20 and waited in a separate room as he gave the news conference [...]

Likening the course of his life to a journey, the emperor said Michiko, who was a commoner before their marriage, “chose to walk this path with me.”

His classmates recalled that since he was growing up, Akihito has restrained himself from expressing emotion as the future emperor.

But the news conference marking his birthday, his last as emperor before his scheduled abdication on April 30, was different. He was often overcome with emotion, particularly when he spoke about his wife's support.

[...]
Over 82,000 visit Imperial Palace to celebrate Emperor's 85th birthday - The Mainichi
Quote:
[...] During his speech, Emperor Akihito expressed his deep concern to people affected by a spate of natural disasters that devastated various regions across the country earlier this year, including those who lost their family members and loved ones.

"My thoughts are with people who are still leading inconvenient lives, and I'm deeply concerned about their well-being," he stated. "I hope the New Year will be a bright, good one for everyone. I extend my best wishes for everyone's good health and happiness."

Kiyohiko Hirashima, 83, a resident of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, in western Japan who joined the event for the first time, commented, "The Emperor's press conference (held prior to his birthday) and his speech today touched my heart. I'm grateful that His Majesty has always been concerned about the public."

A 28-year-old woman from Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, in western Japan said, "I wanted to see His Majesty just for once in my life as someone who was born during the Heisei era." She continued, "He came to Hiroshima out of concern for residents affected by natural disasters and survivors of the atomic bombing. I hope he will spend a relaxing time after abdication."

[...]
  #288  
Old 01-08-2019, 02:21 AM
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On January 8th, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko received Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, and his spouse Jeannette Nyiramongi at the Imperial Palace. The president is on a 2 day official visit to Japan.

During the 20 minute meeting, President Kagame also spoke as the chairperson of the African Union. The emperor asked "What is the biggest problem in Africa as a whole?" The president replied, "It is a matter of conflict, conflicts remain in various places such as South Sudan and Somalia, which is interfering with the development of Africa."

Source: Jiji

AP Images, Getty Images

https://twitter.com/UrugwiroVillage/...98256968404992
  #289  
Old 01-14-2019, 01:38 PM
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On January 14th, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited the special exhibition "Rubens and the Birth of the Baroque" at the National Museum of Western Art in Ueno, Tokyo.

Photos: Asahi, AP Images, Getty Images

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dw9-hpbUYAEu9cc.jpg
  #290  
Old 01-15-2019, 01:57 PM
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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will attend the Grand Sumo New Year Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan on January 20th. The Imperial couple did not attend last year's tournament after a series of sumo scandals.

Source: Jiji
  #291  
Old 01-15-2019, 02:57 PM
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It must be strange for them doing so many things for the last time...
  #292  
Old 01-18-2019, 02:05 PM
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On January 17th, the Imperial couple prayed on the 24th anniversary of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake.
Source: Sankei Imperial Weekly #574

On January 18th, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko received the 14 winners of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Festival Emperor's trophy at the Imperial Palace.

Photos: AP Images, Asahi, Jiji

Related to the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake…

Sister of 1995 Hanshin quake victim thanks Emperor for poem on her sunflowers - The Mainichi
Quote:
"I'm grateful (to His Majesty) for continuing to keep the feelings of disaster victims in his heart," said Itsuka Kikuchi, 39, whose younger sister Haruka Kato, who was 11 at the time, died in the disaster. "I'd like to continue to convey the preciousness of life."

The Emperor's poem on "Haruka no Himawari (Haruka's Sunflowers)" was read during the annual Ceremony of Utakai Hajime (Imperial New Year's Poetry Reading) held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Jan. 16. […]
Empress Michiko's daffodils inspires Hanshin quake survivor to revive flower shop - The Mainichi
Quote:
[…] Empress Michiko dedicated a bouquet of daffodils at the charred remains. It is this kind act that Teruko Morimoto has kept in her mind to spur herself on as she rebuilt her flower shop, consumed in the market blaze.

"I think I've been able to come all the way to this point thanks to Empress Michiko," says Morimoto, 68, smiling at her reopened flower shop, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in December this year. "I will keep making bouquets as long as I live."

[…]

On Jan. 31, two weeks after the disaster that killed 6,434 people, Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress visited the market area to encourage local residents. Empress Michiko placed a bouquet of 17 daffodils at a section of the burnt-down market, placing her palms together to pray for those killed and injured in the earthquake.

Morimoto watched the scene from nearby and she was struck by the purity of the moment. "I want to make bouquets again," she thought, reviving her fading dream of rebuilding her flower shop.

[…]

During the "bubble" economy from the late 1980s to the early 1990s, 10,000-yen bouquets were not uncommon, and young men would buy them before meeting their dates. Plain daffodils did not attract her attention at all back then. "But Empress Michiko's bouquet, and the consideration expressed in those flowers, changed my mind," said Morimoto. Today, as the Heisei era -- which has seen repeated efforts by Their Majesties to encourage disaster victims -- approaches its end, those 17 daffodils are preserved at the Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens in the city's Chuo Ward.

[…]
  #293  
Old 01-20-2019, 07:52 AM
eya eya is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prisma View Post
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will attend the Grand Sumo New Year Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan on January 20th. The Imperial couple did not attend last year's tournament after a series of sumo scandals.

Source: Jiji
Pictures from this event

https://media.gettyimages.com/photos...e-id1085427786
https://media.gettyimages.com/photos...e-id1085427794
https://media.gettyimages.com/photos...e-id1085427792
https://media.gettyimages.com/photos...e-id1085427798
  #295  
Old 01-21-2019, 12:43 AM
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On January 21st, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited the cenotaph for wartime sailors at Kannonzaki Park in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture. During WWII, many private vessels were recruited and over 60,000 Japanese crewmen were killed by Allied Forces.

Photos: AP Images, Getty Images

https://www.jiji.com/news/photos/pho...0029380250.jpg
https://www.jiji.com/news/photos/pho...0029380248.jpg
https://www.jiji.com/news/photos/pho...0029380134.jpg
https://www.jiji.com/news/photos/pho...0029380131.jpg
https://www.asahicom.jp/articles/ima...01986_comm.jpg
Kyodo: https://nordot-res.cloudinary.com/t_...3/origin_1.jpg

Imperial couple visit World War II memorial for civilian sailors - The Mainichi
Quote:
[...] During the war, most civilian vessels were requisitioned by the Japanese military and their crews were forced to transport weapons or conduct maritime surveillance. Few battleships were available to defend them, leaving them vulnerable to attacks by the Allied forces.

[...]

Around 30 percent of the victims were in their teens, they said.

[...]

The emperor recalled the victims at a press conference ahead of his birthday in December 2015, saying, "In those days, Japan lacked command of the air and no battleships were available to escort the transport vessels. It gives me great pain to think of the feelings of those sailors who were forced to engage in such transport operations under those conditions."
ETA: Later on January 21st, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko travelled to Hayama Imperial Villa in Hayama, Kanagawa Prefecture. They greeted well-wishers at the beach and will stay at the villa until the 25th.

Getty Images
, Asahi gallery

https://www.sankei.com/images/news/1...1210040-p1.jpg
https://www.sankei.com/images/news/1...1210040-p2.jpg
https://www.sankei.com/images/news/1...1210040-p3.jpg
https://www.sankei.com/images/news/1...1210040-p4.jpg
https://www.jiji.com/news/photos/pho...0029381790.jpg
https://www.jiji.com/news/photos/pho...0029381769.jpg
https://www.asahicom.jp/articles/ima...03605_comm.jpg
https://www.asahicom.jp/articles/ima...03633_comm.jpg
https://www.asahicom.jp/articles/ima...03743_comm.jpg
  #296  
Old 01-26-2019, 12:31 PM
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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko viewed a photo exhibition at Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi in Tokyo today, January 26:


** ap gallery **
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Old 01-26-2019, 01:50 PM
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Thanks! The photo exhibition commemorates their 60 year marriage. Titled "Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress: Walking 60 years Together," the exhibit features 135 photos provided by news agencies, divided into 9 themes such as engagement/marriage, international exchange, disaster area visits, and private activities. The exhibit runs until the 28th.

Sources: Mainichi, Asahi, Jiji

fnn.jp video

https://twitter.com/MymBu3/status/1089185183159410689
  #298  
Old 01-28-2019, 01:34 AM
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On January 28th, Emperor Akihito opened the 198th Ordinary Diet session at the upper house of the National Diet in Tokyo. The 150-day session is the last of the Heisei era.

Photos: Getty Images, AP Images

https://www.sankei.com/images/news/1...1280028-p1.jpg
https://www.sankei.com/images/news/1...1280028-p2.jpg
https://www.jiji.com/news/photos/pho...0029455536.jpg
https://www.jiji.com/news/photos/pho...0029455541.jpg
https://www.jiji.com/news/photos/pho...0029455377.jpg
  #299  
Old 01-30-2019, 06:52 AM
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Emperor Akihito received Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani at the Imperial Palace today, January 30:


** Pic 1 ** Pic 2 ** ap gallery **
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Old 01-30-2019, 11:55 AM
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Wow, that chair is really not sized for the Emir. That must have been an uncomfortable sit for him.

Nice to see the Emperor looking well.
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