Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko Current Events 1: May 2019 -


If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

iceflower

Administrator
Site Team
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
Messages
78,437
Country
Germany
JapanImperialSeal2svg.png



Welcome to part 1 of the thread for the Current Events of Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko!


You can find the old thread here:

** Emperor Akihito & Empress Michiko Current Events Part 4: May 2017 - April 2019 **


Please take a look at the
TRF Community Rules & FAQs!

· Only pictures you have written permission to share can be posted here. You can post links to any pictures.
· No more than 20% of the text of an article can be posted, along with a link to the original article.
· It's a copyright violation to post translations of entire articles.
· We expect our members to treat each other and the royals and persons in these threads with respect.
· Opinions should be backed up by reference to published reports.
· Off topic and empty posts will be deleted without notice.
· Please be careful not to write in capital letters.

:flowers: Happy Posting! :flowers:
 
On May 5th, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko privately visited Tokyo Lawn Tennis Club in Minato, Tokyo. They arrived around 4:20pm and enjoyed an hour with friends.

The retired Imperial couple have a long history with Tokyo Lawn Tennis Club. They played there before and after marriage and visited regularly around Children's Day (May 5) during their reign.

Photos: Asahi, Mainichi
 
Great to see them again. Clear sign that they don't intend to live completely in hiding from now on.

Isn't the tennisclub the place where they first met?
 
No, they met at a tennis court at Karuizawa near Nagano. They developed their relationship further at Tokyo Lawn Tennis Club.

Akihito, Michiko visit Tokyo tennis club, 1st outing after abdication: The Asahi Shimbun
[...] The facility is well known as the venue where they cultivated their romance by playing tennis together before their marriage on April 10, 1959.

More than 100 members of the tennis club welcomed Akihito and Michiko and chatted with them, in turn, according to Kazuo Oda, 83, one of their tennis friends.

[...]

Although Akihito and Michiko did not play tennis this time, Akihito agreed when Oda suggested that he continue playing tennis to stay healthy, he added. [...]
 
I am sure tennis will always have a special place for them :flowers:

I never read about how they met until now. I didn't realize the empress was raised a Catholic and was sent off to Brussels to discourage the relationship. I am sure King Baudouin will hold a special place for the couple, as he helped them remain in contact and later negotiate their marriage.

The 'love on the tennis court' was certainly news. Marriage to a commoner was rare even in Europe for a future ruler in those days. But in even more traditional Japan, it was shocking.
 
I am sure tennis will always have a special place for them :flowers:

I never read about how they met until now. I didn't realize the empress was raised a Catholic and was sent off to Brussels to discourage the relationship. I am sure King Baudouin will hold a special place for the couple, as he helped them remain in contact and later negotiate their marriage.

The 'love on the tennis court' was certainly news. Marriage to a commoner was rare even in Europe for a future ruler in those days. But in even more traditional Japan, it was shocking.

Many were surprised when the Empress Emerita, back then the Empress attended in person the funeral of Queen Fabiola. It wasn't an random occurrence. Both the Emperor and the Empress also attended in person the funeral of King Baudouin after his sudden death in 1993
 
On May 17th, the IHA revealed a little about Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko since the abdication.

The retired Imperial couple are pleased the new emperor and empress successfully completed the many succession ceremonies and rituals. They watched the May 1 and May 4 events on TV at their residence, Fukiage Sento Imperial Palace.

Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko continue to wake up early as before and walk in the morning. They are preparing to move to their temporary home, Takanawa imperial residence.

Empress Emerita Michiko enjoys playing the piano and reading. The couple have been viewing the guestbooks people all over the country signed for their 30-year reign.

They will enjoy a concert in Tokyo on May 24th.

Sources: NHK, Yomiuri
 
Last edited:
On May 17th, the IHA revealed a little about Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko since the abdication.

The retired Imperial couple are pleased the new emperor and empress successfully completed the many succession ceremonies and rituals. They watched the May 1 and May 4 events on TV at their residence, Fukiage Sento Imperial Palace.

Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko continue to wake up early as before and walk in the morning. They are preparing to move to their temporary home, Takanawa imperial residence.

Empress Emerita Michiko enjoys playing the piano and reading. The couple have been viewing the guestbooks people all over the country signed for their 30-year reign.

They will enjoy a concert in Tokyo on May 24th.

Sources: NHK, Yomiuri

It is interesting that the IHA still issues announcements regarding the couple's private activities and the press continues to cover their appearances, which I assume would not be happening without the implicit approval of the IHA and the new emperor.
 
It's natural to be curious about the retired Imperial couple, especially only weeks since the abdication. I didn't expect them to disappear although we'll probably see them less and less as they get older. I wonder if the IHA will release birthday photos or limit photos to milestone birthdays? Also, will they appear in the new year group photo?

Best friend tells of Michiko’s final days as empress, Reiwa reaction: The Asahi Shimbun
[...] “I was pleased to know so many people had such an interest in (the Japanese traditional era name),” Michiko told Chieko Suemori of Hachimantai, Iwate Prefecture, during a mid-April phone call.

Michiko sounded particularly surprised that young people showed interest when the new era name Reiwa was announced on April 1.

Suemori, a 78-year-old editor of picture books, talked to Michiko on the morning of April 17, shortly before Michiko left for Ise Jingu shrine in Mie Prefecture [...]

“I hope I can manage to carry out my duties for two more weeks,” Michiko, 84, told Suemori.

Suemori said she had never seen Michiko show any sign of weakness, but during the call, the then empress told her, "I don't know if I can go on," hinting of her hectic schedule and the effects on her physical strength.

The imperial couple had worked almost without a full day off since August 2016 [...]

[...]

Suemori said she thinks that Michiko also had accumulated “built-up fatigue in her body because she had continuously supported the emperor emeritus.”

Suemori has enjoyed a long relationship with the empress emerita and published a book compiling texts of Michiko’s lectures. Suemori was also the publisher when Michiko translated a collection of poems by famed Japanese poet Michio Mado into English.

[...]

When Suemori talked to Michiko on the phone again in mid-May, close to a month had passed since Akihito’s abdication.

"I want to see you again," Michiko said, sounding cheerful. Suemori was relieved.

Suemori said she hopes from now her best friend will “enjoy reading her favorite books and take it easy.”
 
On May 30th, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko sent condolences via an aide to the family of Satoshi Oyama, a Foreign Ministry official killed in a knife attack in Kawasaki near Tokyo on May 28th. Oyama was a specialist in Burmese and served as interpreter for Their Majesties 4 times between 2013 and 2015 at tea parties and meetings with ambassadors of Myanmar.

Source: Sankei, Jiji

A man attacked a group of students and parents waiting for the school bus on Tuesday morning. 19 were stabbed, 2 fatally (39-year-old Satoshi Oyama and 11-year-old Hanako Kuribayashi).

ETA: Akihito, Michiko give words of sympathy to wife of slain diplomat: The Asahi Shimbun
[...] Imperial Household Agency officials on May 30 explained that the sympathy message was passed on to the widow through Takeo Akiba, the vice foreign minister. Agency officials also said the imperial couple were deeply saddened at the large number of children who were victims in the attack.

[...]

An expert in the Myanmar language, Oyama had served as an interpreter on four separate occasions for Akihito and Michiko when they were still emperor and empress.

According to the Imperial Household Agency, the first time Oyama interpreted for the imperial couple was in December 2013 when the leaders of ASEAN members and their wives were invited for tea at the Imperial Palace.

Oyama also interpreted at a February 2015 luncheon for ambassadors and their spouses in Tokyo; at an audience in April 2015 prior to the departure from Japan of the Myanmar ambassador; as well as another tea in July 2015 at the Imperial Palace for visiting foreign leaders attending a meeting in Tokyo for nations in the Mekong region.

[...]
 
Last edited:
On June 6th, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko reported the abdication to the mausoleum of Emperor Taisho at Musashi Imperial Graveyard in Hachioji, Tokyo.

Their car displayed the retired emperor's Imperial standard for the first time. The flag is similar to the Emperor's except the red is darker.

https://cdn.mainichi.jp/vol1/2019/06/06/20190606k0000m040101000p/9.jpg

Photos: AP Images, Mainichi

Emperor Emeritus visits grandfather's mausoleum | NHK WORLD-JAPAN News
[...] Dressed in formal attire and led by senior Imperial Household Agency officials, the Emperor Emeritus walked slowly to the altar.

He offered a sprig of a sacred tree, bowed deeply and reported that he had abdicated on April 30.

The Empress Emerita also paid her respects.

[...]

The couple traveled in a limousine bearing the flag of the Emperor Emeritus for the first time. The deep red flag features the chrysanthemum emblem. [...]
 
Last edited:
On June 7th, the IHA announced Empress Emerita Michiko will undergo a heart examination at the IHA hospital following a result of a regular check up earlier this week. A blood test found an increase in BNP level. The hormone BNP is a diagnostic index for heart failure. The agency reported the Empress Emerita has experienced noticeable breathlessness during morning walks this year. Results of the heart exam are expected after a week.

There is no change to the retired Imperial couple's schedule for now. They plan to visit the tomb of Prince Katsura on June 9 to mark the 5th anniversary of his passing and visit Kyoto Prefecture June 11-13 to finish abdication rituals.

Source: Sankei

Former Empress Michiko to undergo heart exam - The Mainichi
Former Empress Michiko will undergo a heart exam after a blood test earlier this week showed a higher risk of heart failure, the Imperial Household Agency said Friday.

The 84-year-old former empress has experienced shortness of breath more frequently than before during her morning walks since the beginning of this year. She will undergo further tests at the Imperial Household Hospital, according to the agency.

[...]

The agency said it has carefully monitored her condition while the former empress abstains from intense physical exercise and avoids stressful situations.

[...]
 
Last edited:
I'm so sorry to hear this. Wasn't around 3 or 4 years ago that she was being examined for suspected issues with her heart? It sounds as though it could well be an ongoing issue.
 
:previous: Yes, she experienced frequent of chest pains in 2015 and was diagnosed with myocardial ischemia, a condition where there is insufficient blood flow to some parts of the heart, but no surgery was needed.

Empress Emerita diagnosed with heart disease | NHK WORLD-JAPAN News
[...]

Agency officials say Saturday's test revealed that the Empress Emerita has moderate tricuspid valve regurgitation --- a disorder in which the valve does not close tight enough each time the heart contracts.

The Empress Emerita was also found to have an irregular pulse.

[...]

The Empress Emerita is also scheduled to undergo cataract surgery on June 16 and 23 at a hospital in Tokyo.
Ex-Empress Michiko diagnosed with heart valve abnormalities - Kyodo News+
[...] The 84-year-old former empress [...] will have follow-up observations, with doctors calling for reducing the burden on her heart in daily life. [...]
 
Last edited:
:previous: This is not unexpected news, unfortunately, based on her history. The good news is that the report in Kyodo News indicates that the condition is currently fairly mild, so hopefully, with care, she and the Emperor Emeritus will have many happy years ahead of them.
 
On June 12th, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko reported his abdication at the mausoleums of Emperor Kōmei and Emperor Meiji in Kyoto Prefecture.

Photos: Getty Images, Asahi

Emperor Emeritus visits ancestor's mausoleum | NHK WORLD-JAPAN News
Emperor Emeritus Akihito has visited the mausoleum of his ancestor in Kyoto, together with Empress Emerita Michiko.

Their motorcade arrived on Wednesday morning at a temple located in front of the mausoleum of the Emperor Emeritus' great-great-grandfather, Emperor Komei.

[...]

He offered a sprig from a sacred tree, bowed deeply, and reported that he had abdicated on April 30.

[...]

They are also scheduled to visit the mausoleum of the Emperor Emeritus's great-grandfather, Emperor Meiji, later in the day.

Their visit to the mausoleum of Emperor Meiji will mean that the couple finish all of abdication ceremonies and rituals.
Videos of day 1-2
 
Last edited:
Asahi reports on the daily lives of the retired Imperial couple. Emperor Emeritus Akihito visits the Imperial Palace's biology laboratory to study goby. Empress Emerita Michiko cherishes time spent with friends. They are preparing to move to Takanawa Imperial residence. Each day they spend time organizing their belongings, such as deciding what to keep and what to donate to research institutions, specifically academic books and specimens gifted by heads of state.

ETA: Retired imperial couple visit emperors’ tombs in final duty: The Asahi Shimbun
[...]

LONG-SERVING COUPLE ENJOYING PRIVATE LIFE

The couple are now settling in their private lives, almost six weeks after Akihito's abdication.

[...]

Akihito and Michiko are now engaged in the preparation to move into the temporary residence in the Takanawa district in the capital’s Minato Ward soon.

The couple are also sorting through scientific materials, mainly academic books or packages of samples, which were presented as gifts from leaders of foreign countries. Some will be donated to research institutions and others will be kept on hand, according to an Imperial Household Agency official.

“There are a great number of materials," the official said. "Their workload will be very heavy.”

Akihito has settled into a daily routine including going for a stroll every morning.

He is engaged in the research of goby fish and periodically goes to the biology research center in the compound.

Meanwhile, Michiko also values spending time with her friends.

[...]

With Akihito and Michiko's advanced ages, their health continues to be a concern.

[...]

“We must have them (prepare for moving) in a way their health will not be adversely affected,” the agency official said.
On June 13th, the Emperor Emeritus and Empress Emerita returned to Tokyo from Kyoto Prefecture.

Getty Images
 
Last edited:
On June 14th, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko visited Tokyo Lawn Tennis Club in Minato, Tokyo. They stayed about an hour, enjoying time with friends.

Sources: tv-tokyo.co.jp, Mainichi

ETA: On June 16th, Empress Emerita Michiko had cataract surgery on her right eye at a hospital in Tokyo. She arrived at 10:30am and was discharged around 4:30pm. The left eye surgery is scheduled for June 23rd.

Photo: Mainichi, Kyodo
 
Last edited:
On June 14th, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko visited Tokyo Lawn Tennis Club in Minato, Tokyo. They stayed about an hour, enjoying time with friends.

Sources: tv-tokyo.co.jp, Mainichi

[...]
:previous: AP Images

On June 22nd, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko attended the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra: Akeo Watanabe 100th Birthday Celebration concert at Suntory Hall in Minato, Tokyo.
Source: Sankei

On June 23rd, Empress Emerita Michiko had cataract surgery on her left eye at a hospital in Tokyo.

 
On July 5th, Empress Emerita Michiko attended a charity concert supporting pediatric cancer patients at the Orchard Hall in Shibuya, Tokyo.

Source: Jiji
 
Japan's former emperor suffers bout of cerebral anemia - Kyodo News+
Japan's former Emperor Akihito briefly suffered from cerebral anemia last week, forcing him to postpone his regular health checkup, the Imperial Household Agency said Tuesday.

The 85-year-old has already regained his health since he was seen crouching down to the floor on the evening of Thursday at his residence in Tokyo while having dinner, according to the agency.

Former Empress Michiko called a doctor at that time, the agency said, adding that he could have experienced fatigue from weeklong health checkups that the couple started taking from July 9.

[...]
Details from Jiji:
- the retired Imperial couple had checkups July 9-15, usually afternoons.
- July 11: Emperor Emeritus Akihito had checkups in morning and afternoon. He experienced cerebral anemia that evening and was treated.
- July 12: His afternoon checkup was postponed.
- Empress Emerita Michiko needs additional exams, results will be announced later.
 
I'm sorry to hear this, but not terribly surprised. Both the Emperor Emeritus and Empress Emerita seem to have had a series of health issues since the abdication, which is unfortunate, but also highlights exactly why Akihito had asked for the government to facilitate the abdication to begin with. I'm braced to hear what the results are for the additional exams for Michiko.

Thank you for keeping us updated, Prisma.
 
On July 29th, the retired Imperial couple returned to Tokyo from their retreat at Nasu Imperial Villa.
 
On August 1st, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko enjoyed the 30th Pacific Music Festival (PMF) Orchestra at Suntory Hall in Minato, Tokyo. This year, the orchestra consists of 96 musicians from 26 countries and regions under the direction of conductor Valery Gergiev.

Photos: Sankei, Getty Images
 
Last edited:
Empress Emerita Michiko has been diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, announced by the IHA on August 9th. She will undergo surgery after resting and increasing physical fitness in Karuizawa, Nagano and Kusatsu, Gunma in late August. Surgery likely after September.

The tumor was found in the left breast at a regular medical checkup on July 12th. An MRI revealed suspected malignancy at the University of Tokyo Hospital on July 15th. A biopsy was conducted at the IHA hospital on August 2nd, and breast cancer was diagnosed. According to the agency, there is currently a concern about her overall decline in physical fitness, such as a sudden decrease in weight.

Sources: Sankei, Asahi

Empress Emerita to have surgery for breast cancer | NHK WORLD-JAPAN News

Michiko found to have breast cancer, will undergo surgery: The Asahi Shimbun

Empress Emerita to undergo cancer surgery | NHK WORLD-JAPAN News
Japan's Imperial Household Agency says Empress Emerita Michiko has been diagnosed with a relatively early stage of breast cancer. Agency officials say that it's unlikely that the cancer has spread to other organs.

[...]

An additional test will be conducted to decide the best treatment for her condition.

She is expected to undergo an operation in or after September.

The agency says she has had regular checks on her mammary glands over the past decade or so, and no irregularities were found in the past 12 months.

It also says the Empress Emerita has lost weight since around the abdication of Emperor Emeritus Akihito at the end of April.

[...]

The agency officials say the Empress Emerita has been under stress due to her busy schedule. They say she will have surgery after she regains her strength during the vacation.
I wish Empress Emerita Michiko a smooth recovery! I'm so glad it was caught early.
 
Last edited:
Back
Top Bottom