Emperor Emeritus Akihito turns 89 on December 23.
Birthday photos and video were taken on December 8 at Akasaka Estate.
Statement from IHA
- moved back Akasaka estate and the residence of 33 years before Imperial residence
- continues gobi research, visiting Imperial Palace's biology research institute on Monday and Friday mornings
- participates as much as possible at bimonthly online meeting of the Fish Taxonomy Research Society
- reading, watching sumo, and walking with Empress Emerita on estate and Akasaka State Guest House
- takes cello lessons
- watches TV programs about history, culture, nature, etc. of Japan and internationally
- memories of Queen Elizabeth II
- due to pandemic, only visited exhibitions on Okinawa and Prince Mikasa
- cataract and glaucoma surgeries went well
- medication, restricting fluid intake, and limited exercising to manage heart failure diagnosis
- increased weight since June
- observes court rituals privately
- continues to hold moments of silence on Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombing, 2011 and 1995 earthquake, and end of WWII anniversaries, and Okinawa memorial day
- gets schedule and Imperial family updates at 9am daily
Birthday celebrations will be scaled-down due to pandemic. Emperor Naruhito, Empress Masako, and Crown Prince Akishino couple will visit for birthday greetings, representing the Imperial family greetings per schedule
Japan's former Emperor Akihito turns 89 - Kyodo News
Emperor Emeritus turns 89 - The Japan News
Japan's former Emperor Akihito turned 89 on Friday, after having spent most of the year peacefully with his wife, former Empress Michiko, while pursuing his life's work on goby fish research, the Imperial Household Agency said.
His condition has improved since receiving treatment for a heart failure diagnosis in July. His daily routine includes taking morning and evening walks with his wife at what is now called the Emperor Emeritus' Residence in the Akasaka Estate.
Outside of visits to the hospital and the Imperial Palace, the coronavirus pandemic has limited the former emperor's outings this year to two special exhibits on the 50th anniversary of Okinawa's reversion to Japan from U.S. rule in June, and an exhibit for the late Prince Mikasa in December.
Keeping up to date with the latest news through newspapers and television, the former emperor continues to read aloud from books, recently re-reading a textbook on the Japanese language that he and the former empress studied in the fifth grade.
After dinner, he sometimes reminiscences with his attendants about places he has visited in Japan and abroad while looking through the records from those times, according to the agency.
He has reflected on memories of past trips to Britain, expressing gratitude for the friendship he had built with the late Queen Elizabeth II since her coronation in 1953, the agency said.
Physically, the Emperor Emeritus was diagnosed with right heart failure in July and his condition has gotten better through nonsurgical treatment such as drug therapy, restriction of water intake and limits on physical activity. He is said to be in good condition after undergoing cataract and glaucoma surgery in September. The Emperor Emeritus is now getting more exercise and covers a longer distance in his walks.
To pursue his studies of goby fish, his life’s work, the Emperor Emeritus visits the Biological Laboratory on the Imperial Palace grounds twice a week. One of his research themes is to shed light on the differences in habitat environments for two different species of Gobiidae living in different areas. Whenever possible, he also attends an online meeting of a fish taxonomy research group that is held every other month.