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Old 02-07-2012, 12:46 PM
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Here is a nice photo gallery of the empress when she was young and, in particular, of the time of her engagement. It is mostly pics, but there is also one Life Magazine article, published on December 15, 1958, about the engagement of then-Prince Akihito to Michiko: „You have overwhelmed me“.

Some quotes:
Quote:
[Prince Akihito´s] ichthyology tutor, Dr. Kaname Okada, declares, “The prince has received his sex education through me. The behaviour of fish is related to reproduction, and so we discussed it.”
Quote:
The crown prince and Michiko met for the first time on a tennis court. Akihito is an indifferent tennis player and has sometimes had difficulty finding opponents, most Japanese being understandably reluctant to lick His Imperial Highness. On these occasions the prince is likely to round up players by dispatching a chamberlain with a royal command. At the Karuizawa mountain resort north of Tokyo such a summons one day in August 1957 produced Miss Shoda and a 12-year-old boy, who promptly beat the prince and his partner 6-1. “Wonderful!” cried Akihito, eying the accomplished Miss Shoda. “You have overwhelmed me.” From that moment he was in love.
Quote:
Last summer they met again at Karuizawa, but Michiko cut short her stay for a trip abroad. During her absence Akihito asked for his own family´s consent to their marriage. He encountered no opposition. But Michiko´s parents were more difficult to convince. They had no intention of forcing their daughter into a marriage against her will, even with the future emperor, and from Europe Michiko wrote her mother, “I do not believe commoners should be united with the imperial family. I doubt if such a step would have good results. The history of royalty in Europe proves this. If something should go wrong, the crown prince would have to suffer. “ To Akihito himself Michiko wrote, “I hope you will let me be a close friend of yours for a long, long time.”
Quote:
When Akihito was 3 he was taken from his parents and reared by court chamberlains. But this is not for Akihito. “I want to have three children,” he says, “and I want us all to live together.”
Well, the prince knew for sure what he wanted! And he got it...

For me, the article is a bit too small for reading, so I have made a bigger copy of it and put it into this album at photobucket. (When you have opened a page, you can click on it to enlarge it.)
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Old 02-07-2012, 01:17 PM
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Empress Michiko has always had such refined and unassuming beauty - and she continues to have.
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