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  #121  
Old 09-01-2021, 10:28 PM
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On August 30th, the Imperial Household Agency reported renovations for Akasaka Imperial Residence are expected to be completed in 2022 (Reiwa 4). The FY4 budget request includes 98 million yen for interior repair costs. The residence will be renamed "Sento Imperial Residence" when Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko move in.

Source: Sankei

Emperor Emeritus set to be oldest Japanese monarch | NHK WORLD-JAPAN News
Quote:
[...]

The former Emperor Akihito, 87, was born 32,031 days ago on Thursday. That is how many days old his father, the late Emperor Showa was, on the day he passed.

[...]

The Imperial Household Agency says the Emperor Emeritus has recently been expressing concern over the spread of the new coronavirus and the difficulty many people in Japan face as a result.

[...]

Agency officials say no celebrations will be held in praise of the longevity of the Emperor Emeritus.
A pair of socks from the Shosoin Repository was shown to the press on August 27. Silk from Empress Emerita Michiko's sericulture was used to restore the pair of socks worn by a flute performer at the Todaiji Daibutsu opening party in 752.
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  #122  
Old 10-06-2021, 09:31 PM
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On October 6th, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko visited the former Akasaka Imperial Residence to inspect renovations. The work should be completed next May or June. The couple lived at the residence for 33 years until 1993.

Photos: Asahi, Sankei, AP Images
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  #123  
Old 10-19-2021, 05:28 PM
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Empress Emerita Michiko turns 87 on October 20.

IHA statement (Google translation)

Photos and video were taken on October 4 at the retired couple's Takanawa residence (aka Sento Imperial Palace).

Photos: Asahi, Mainichi

Ex-Empress Michiko turns 87, sad to see Princess Mako leave family - Kyodo News
Quote:
Former Empress Michiko has said she will miss her first grandchild Princess Mako, who is set to leave the imperial household upon marriage slated for next week, the Imperial Household Agency said on the occasion of her 87th birthday Wednesday.

The former empress has also expressed her thoughts about areas that were devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan and the subsequent Fukushima nuclear crisis as this year marked the 10th anniversary of the disaster.

Meanwhile, she has indicated her sympathy for the people who were affected by heavy rain that lashed wide areas of Japan this summer and triggered a fatal mudslide in Atami, southwest of Tokyo.

[...]

Although the former empress successfully underwent surgeries for cataracts and breast cancer in 2019, she has often had a mild fever in the afternoons since May last year.

While she has also complained of stiffness in her fingers, possibly an effect of hormonal treatment following her breast cancer surgery, she has been able to play the piano in recent days, according to the agency.

The former empress maintains her daily routine of reading aloud a book in the morning after breakfast with former Emperor Akihito, who stepped down from the Chrysanthemum Throne on April 30, 2019.

[...]
Empress Emerita Michiko marks 87th birthday | NHK WORLD-JAPAN News
Quote:
[...]

She and her husband, Emperor Emeritus Akihito, have been living at a temporary residence in Tokyo since March last year. They have refrained from going out or accepting guests amid the coronavirus pandemic.

[...]

The couple is reportedly relieved to hear about progress in the recovery of the 2011 disaster in northeastern Japan.

One of the pleasant reports was from Futaba Town, which co-hosts the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. They heard good news about its first rice planting on an experimental basis since the nuclear accident 10 years ago.

The agency says the Empress Emerita often talked with her husband about this summer's Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. They reportedly appeared to be pleased with the remarkable development of sports for people with disabilities, for which they had provided continuous support.

[...]

The couple adores Princess Mako, one of their granddaughters who is expected to leave the Imperial family when she gets married on October 26. The Empress Emerita reportedly appears to be sad to part from the Princess.

All ceremonial events for the Empress Emerita's birthday have been cancelled amid the pandemic.
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  #124  
Old 10-19-2021, 09:37 PM
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I am sure it must be hard to see their eldest granddaughter leave (and even more so amidst the controversy); and I wouldn't be surprised if especially the empress does understand her position somewhat as she was a commoner herself and is very much aware of the difference and restrictions that come with an imperial life - even though she herself might have made a different decision.

I hope they have a very warm goodbye visit from Mako later this week. The empress' declining health will most likely make their goodbye a little harder.
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  #125  
Old 11-21-2021, 01:02 AM
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Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko are undergoing regular health checkups this month at the Imperial Household Hospital. Their visit on the November 19 was the 3rd examination. According to aides, there is no major change in physical condition and the checkups are going well.

Next month, Princess Aiko comes of age and will visit her grandparents on December 5. It will be their first in-person meeting in 1 year and 8 months since Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko moved from the Imperial residence in March 2020.

Video: news24.jp

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  #126  
Old 12-22-2021, 01:07 PM
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Emperor Emeritus Akihito turns 88 on December 23

Imperial Household Agency press release and birthday schedule where the retired Imperial couple will receive greetings from their staff, IHA officials, Emperor Naruhito, Empress Masako, Crown Prince Akishino, representatives of former royalty and relatives, and government officials. The birthday press release mentions delight at Aiko's coming of age/growth and silently watching over Mako, hoping for her happiness.

2 videos and photo collections were released, March 31 (scrolling the garden) and December 7 (inside Takanawa Imperial residence).

Photos: Asahi, Mainichi

Japan's former Emperor Akihito turns 88 - Kyodo News
Quote:
[...]

The former emperor is happy to see Princess Aiko, the only child of his eldest son Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, growing up, as she turned 20 on Dec. 1, becoming an adult member of the imperial family.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the former emperor has refrained from going outside except to conduct research on goby fish at a biology research institute inside the Imperial Palace twice a week, and to visit the Imperial Household Hospital, the Imperial Household Agency said.

His daily routine includes taking morning walks with his wife, after which he reads aloud from Torahiko Terada's short story collection "Kaki no Tane" (Persimmon seeds) and browses newspapers.

He contemplates the state of society and people as he is briefed by his attendants on the COVID-19 situation and natural disasters, according to the agency.

At times on his evening walks, he exchanges greetings with residents of the apartment building across the street. After dinner, he talks with his attendants while looking through photo albums of his visits abroad.

[...]

While the former emperor had gotten forgetful with age, he checks with his wife, who smiles and reassures him, when his memory becomes blurry.

With the Olympics and Paralympics held in Tokyo for the first time in 57 years, the former emperor fondly recalled that he had watched many of the events of the previous Tokyo Games in 1964, and expressed joy at the progress of sports for the disabled.

[...]
The Kikuyou Cultural Association produced a retrospective on Emperor Emeritus Akihito and the Heisei Era:

Celebrating the 88th Birthday of His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus Looking Back on the Heisei Era | Japanese Government Internet TV (English version)

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  #127  
Old 12-23-2021, 07:02 AM
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Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako were seen arriving for today's birthday celebration:


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  #128  
Old 12-23-2021, 06:43 PM
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Crown Prince Akishino included in AP Images

Akihito turns 88, longest-living among Japanese emperors | The Asahi Shimbun
Quote:
[...]

Of the successive Japanese emperors, for whom reliable records exist, he is the first to celebrate "beiju," which is how the celebratory 88th birthday is called in Japan.

[...]

He also speaks with his aids every day, on topics including what is in the news domestically and abroad such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

He sometimes tells stories to younger officials of his recollections of such momentous experiences as attending the coronation of Britain’s Elizabeth II in 1953.

He is well-known for his research on goby fishes. He published a total of 36 scientific papers, mainly on the goby, between 1963, when he was 29, and May 2021, when he was 87.

Academics who have jointly conducted research with Akihito commented, saying that they hope Akihito celebrates his beiju in good health and wish him well in the future.

Tetsuji Nakabo, 72, an honorary professor at Kyoto University, says, “Emperor Emeritus Akihito is respected as an ichthyologist in academia, too.”

He first met Akihito almost 40 years ago and they have conducted research together for a long time.

Nakabo says that Akihito was normally quiet in their early days of studying together as he is now. However, he adds, “(Akihito was) so sharp, almost scary, as far as his research was concerned. Superficial knowledge didn’t satisfy him. Therefore, preparation was essential for when I saw him."

Nakabo also says that Akihito formulates hypotheses based on his knowledge and experiences, and researches using his own personal observations, not relying entirely on books and documents. He says it’s an approach that all researchers should emulate.

[...]

Takashi Gojobori, 70, distinguished professor at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, has conducted research with Akihito on the taxonomy of the goby using DNA analysis.

They have jointly published three papers on this topic and are conducting further research with the aim of writing a fourth at the moment.

What Gojobori vividly remembers is how well Michiko supported Akihito while he dedicated himself to his research. She used to say thank-you to Akihito’s co-researchers including Gojobori and served them homemade sweets when they were taking a break.

Although he hasn’t met them since the COVID-19 outbreak began, he says, “I look forward to seeing them again and doing research (with Akihito). I would like to continue studying various topics with Emperor Emeritus Akihito in the future, too.”

TBS/JNN video includes motorcade of Emperor Naruhito, Empress Masako, and Crown Prince Akishino
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  #129  
Old 12-23-2021, 07:00 PM
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The "88" must be a carryover from China? I've never heard of 8 being considered so lucky in Japan...
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  #130  
Old 12-30-2021, 12:42 PM
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Quote:

However, he adds, “(Akihito was) so sharp, almost scary, as far as his research was concerned. Superficial knowledge didn’t satisfy him. Therefore, preparation was essential for when I saw him."

Nakabo also says that Akihito formulates hypotheses based on his knowledge and experiences, and researches using his own personal observations, not relying entirely on books and documents.

[...]

What Gojobori vividly remembers is how well Michiko supported Akihito while he dedicated himself to his research. She used to say thank-you to Akihito’s co-researchers including Gojobori and served them homemade sweets when they were taking a break.

Fascinating how the couple's behavior when it came to Akihito's research seems to have mirrored their style of management when it came to the monarchy and imperial family.

The emperor emeritus is fortunate that he has been able to remain covid-safe but nevertheless keep active physically, intellectually, and socially, and it is nice that he is still keeping up with current events as well as passing on his memories to younger generations of aides. It must be a lovely bonus for his aides to hear firsthand accounts of historical events like the 1953 British coronation and 1964 Olympics (and I appreciate his pleasure at progress in sports for disabled athletes).

It is also strong of him to be open about living with age-related memory loss.

I noticed that after the reports and rumors of their being firmly opposed to Mako's choice of husband, both the emeritus and emerita mentioned her kindly in their birthday statements. Or would saying anything less have fed more rumors?

It is impressive to think that HM has outlived all of his predecessors for a millennium and a half.
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