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

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On July 18th, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko visited Tokyo Photographic Art Museum in Meguro Ward to see the works of Takeyoshi Tanuma, who was the first photographer to receive the Order of Culture in 2019.

The couple were acquainted with Tanuma, who was selected as a Person of Cultural Merit in 2003, and his photography of children in Tokyo after the war and his work in more than 130 countries and regions. Tanuma passed away in June 2022 at age 93.

The Emeritus couple spent an hour at the museum, viewing the progress of a photojournalist.

Photos/Sources: FNN, FNN2, TBS

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After a pandemic hiatus, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko will resume their usual summer retreat at Nasu Imperial Villa in Tochigi Prefecture. They will stay 5 days from July 24 to 28.

Source: FNN
On July 19th, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko visited the special exhibition "Henri Matisse: The Path to Color" at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in Ueno, Tokyo. They arrived around 5:15pm and stayed about 70 minutes.

Photo: Sankei
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On July 31st, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko visited Shibusawa Memorial Museum in Kita, Tokyo. Industrialist Eiichi Shibusawa is known as the "father of Japanese capitalism."

His granddaughter, essayist Junko Samejima, died on January 19 at age 100. An exhibition features her illustrations, photos, writings and memories about Shibusawa as a grandfather. Junko Samejima was acquainted with the Empress Emerita. The Emeritus couple arrived around 10:30am and stayed about an hour.

In 2017, they visited related places in Saitama Prefecture, where Eiichi Shibusawa was born.

Sources: NTV, TBS
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On August 7th, Empress Emerita Michiko visited the "Bologna International Picture Book Original Art Exhibition" at the Itabashi Museum of Art in Itabashi, Tokyo. The exhibition introduces 79 works that were selected at the international "Picture Book Illustration Contest" held in Bologna, Italy in March this year.

Empress Emerita Michiko has long been involved in children's literature and this is her 7th visit to the museum.

Photos/soucres: FNN, NTV, TBS
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After a pandemic hiatus, the Emeritus couple will stay at Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture August 22-29. They will travel by Shinkansen and plan to visit Ohinata Settlement, which was settled by people who withdrew from former Manchuria, on August 23.

Sources: NTV, TBS


On August 16th, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko visited the special exhibition "Gaudí and the Sagrada Família" at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. They arrived around 5:30pm after closing and stayed for about an hour.

Sources: NTV, TBS
On August 21st, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko visited the special exhibition "Ancient Mexico: Maya, Aztec, and Teotihuacan" at Tokyo National Museum in Ueno, Tokyo. They arrived after 10am and stayed about an hour.

Source: TBS

On August 22nd, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko left Akasaka Estate around 11:30am and took the Shinkansen from Tokyo station to Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture. They arrived at Karuizawa station before 1pm.

Photo: shinmai.co.jp, FNN
On August 23rd, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko visited Ohinata settlement in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture for about 50 minutes. 764 villagers went to Manchuria from 1938 to 1940 with 375 people dying in China after WWII. The remaining people returned to Japan, settling in Ohinata in February 1947. Emperor Showa visited that October during a post-war tour.

The Emeritus couple arrived around 10am, stopping at a monument inscribed with a poem Emperor Showa composed during his visit, and then explored the cabbage fields at the foot of Mount Asama. The couple have visited Ohinata many times since they were Crown Prince and Princess.

Photos: AP Images, Jiji, Sankei
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On August 26th, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko visited "Karuizawa-kai Tennis Courts" in Nagano Prefecture. They met on that tennis court 66 years ago in 1957 and married 2 years later. The couple arrived around 11am and stayed about 30 minutes.

Photos: Jiji
On August 29th, the Emeritus couple arrived at Karuizawa Station in Nagano after 3pm and returned to Tokyo.

Photos/sources: FNN, Shinmai, nbs-tv.co.jp, Jiji

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On September 12th, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko visited the special exhibition "LIGHT: Works from the Tate Collection" at the National Art Center, Tokyo. They arrived after 10am and stayed about an hour.

Sources: NTV, TBS
On September 18th, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko visited the special exhibition "100 Years after the Great Kanto Earthquake" at Hibiya Library and Museum in Chiyoda, Tokyo.

After an hour at the museum, they visited the nearby stone monument honoring former Philippine President Elpidio Quirino, who pardoned all Japanese war criminals after the war.

Source: NTV
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On September 20th, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko attended the musical "Ikiru" at the New National Theatre in Shibuya, Tokyo. They arrived before 2pm and watched the second act, leaving before 4pm.

Source/video: TBS

On September 28th, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko visited Showa Memorial Park in Tachikawa, Tokyo in the morning. They walked around, appreciating the flowers, and enjoyed a bus ride. The park opened in 1983 as part of commemorative projects for the 50th anniversary of Emperor Showa's reign. The Emeritus couple stayed about an hour and left around 12:30pm.

Photo/video: FNN, TBS
Empress Emerita Michiko turns 89 on October 20

Birthday photos and video were taken on October 6 at Akasaka Estate

Photos: Sankei, Mainichi, Jiji, NTV

Recent Portraits of Her Majesty the Empress Emerita on the occasion of Her Majesty's Birthday (2023) - The Imperial Household Agency

Imperial Household Agency statement: https://www.kunaicho.go.jp/joko/press/r051020.html

- various trips after Covid-19 was downgraded: Kyoto and Nara in May, summer retreats in Nasu and Nagano, many museum visits in Tokyo
- no major changes in daily life: reading, walks
- physical condition declines
- a little weight loss
- she had a cold in December and took relatively long to recover
- recurring fever in afternoon continues (it's been 3+ years)
- BNP level, an indicator for heart failure, continues to exceed normal levels
- deep vein thrombosis (peripheral type) below the right knee from August year is under control with exercise and fluid intake
- Michiko needs breaks during walks. Emperor Emeritus Akihito often asks if she's ok

Birthday celebrations will be similar to last year with slight increase in number of people. However, the Emeritus couple will have a celebratory dinner by themselves. No group meal with Emperor, Akishino or Sayako's families.

Michiko will receive greetings from Imperial family, Emeritus household, IHA staff, Imperial Police, former Imperial family, relatives, etc.

Birthday schedule: https://www.kunaicho.go.jp/joko/press/051020gonittei-1.pdf
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God bless her. She's one of my top 3 favourite Royals.
On October 20th, the Emperor's family visited Akasaka Estate to greet Empress Emerita Michiko on her 89th birthday.

10:50am: Princess Aiko arrived, staying ~30 min
11:05am: Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako arrived, staying ~50 min

tv-asahi reports it's been about 10 months since January 2 New Year's general public greetings that Princess Aiko met the Emeritus couple in person.

Photos: Jiji, Sankei, FNN, AP Images, Nikkansports
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On November 27th, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko visited the "Integrating Technology & Art through Photography : Tokyo Polytechnic University 100th Anniversary Exhibition" at Tokyo Photographic Art Museum in Meguro, Tokyo. They arrived after 10am and spent about an hour at the museum.

When the Imperial Palace did not have a studio some 70 years ago, then-Crown Prince Akihito had his portrait taken at the Tokyo Polytechnic University ahead of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. In addition, the Emeritus couple's wedding announcement photo was also taken at the university's studio. November 27 marks the 65th anniversary of the couple's engagement announcement.

Photos/video: FNN, FNN2
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Emperor Emeritus Akihito turns 90 on December 23

Birthday photos and video were taken with Empress Emerita Michiko at Akasaka Estate on December 7.

Photos: Imperial Household Agency, Asahi, NTV, Nikkansports, Mainichi (mixed with old photos)

Emperor Naruhito, Empress Masako and Princess Aiko visited Sento Imperial residence in Akasaka Estate for birthday greetings. Princess Aiko arrived around 10:50am, staying for ~30 minutes and the Imperial couple arrived around 11:10am and stayed ~40 minutes.

Photos: Nikkansports, FNN, Sankei, AP Images

Birthday press statement: https://www.kunaicho.go.jp/joko/press/r051223.html

- quiet, peaceful life with Michiko
- keeps up with current events, domestic and international
- concern about increasing natural disasters, Great East Japan Earthquake recovery
- reflections on Okinawa, war, peace
- as Imperial family members resume traveling abroad, the Emeritus couple remember their own overseas visits
- Emeritus couple has refrained from court rituals but this year, Akihito privately observed part of the Niinamesai Festival until midnight
- continues goby fish research
- health is relatively stable

Emperor Emeritus Turns 90, to Celebrate at Home in Tokyo; Monitors Current Events With Concern About War and Peace - The Japan News
The Emperor Emeritus turned 90 on Saturday. He lives a quiet life with the Empress Emerita, 89.

According to the Imperial Household Agency, the Emperor Emeritus reads morning and evening editions of newspapers and watches news on TV to keep up with what is going on at home and abroad, paying attention to people’s lives.


The Emperor Emeritus also cares about abnormal weather around the world and was concerned about damage from torrential rains this summer, an increase in the number of heatstroke patients due to record-high temperatures and the impact on agricultural products.


He also cares about the activities of his son the Emperor — now in his fifth year on the throne — and the Empress as well as Crown Prince Akishino, and Crown Princess Kiko and other members of the Imperial family. He seems to be enjoying seeing the growth of his grandson Hisahito, 17, who will reach the legal age of adulthood, 18, in September next year.

As for his physical condition, since he was diagnosed with right heart failure in July last year, the level of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) in his blood, a common diagnostic index of heart failure, has been slightly high and a small amount of pleural effusion has also been observed. He has been treated nonsurgically with drug therapy and restriction of water intake, and his condition continues to be relatively stable.

Japan's former Emperor Akihito turns 90, continues to reflect on war - Kyodo News
Japan's former Emperor Akihito turned 90 on Saturday, after having spent another peaceful year with his wife, former Empress Michiko while continuing to reflect on war and peace and those impacted by natural disasters, the Imperial Household Agency said.

Keeping current with the latest news through newspapers and television, the former emperor, who stepped down from the Chrysanthemum Throne in 2019, has also expressed concern over the extensive damage caused by heavy rains and the record-breaking heat in Japan this summer.


In conversations with his wife, the former emperor often discusses visiting a leprosy sanatorium in Okinawa, life in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, where he took refuge as a boy during the war, and the development of a district in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, for Japanese people to resettle after returning from the northeast Chinese region formerly known as Manchuria after the war, the agency said.

He is particularly concerned about the situation in Fukushima Prefecture, where some former residents still face difficulties returning home due to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, which suffered core meltdowns following a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in 2011.


As part of his daily routine, the former emperor makes time to converse with his aides after dinner and has recently taken up playing Othello and shogi.

His condition has remained relatively stable since receiving treatment for a heart failure diagnosis in July last year, and he continues to pursue his life's work on goby fish research.

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On January 22nd, Emperor Emeritus Akihito entered the Imperial Palace after 10am to conduct research on fish at the palace's biology research institute.

Photos: FNN
On April 25th, Empress Emerita Michiko visited a special exhibition on Empress Shoken at Meiji Jingu museum in Shibuya, Tokyo. She supported the restoration of the formal dress "Taireifuku," which took 5 years to complete. Empress Emerita Michiko previously viewed the dress in 2020 at Meiji Jingu museum during restoration and again in 2023 at Daishoji Temple in Kyoto. She visited the museum for about an hour.

Photo/video: FNN, TBS

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On May 4th, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko privately attended a concert commemorating the 100th Anniversary of composer Ikuma Dan's birth at Kioi Hall in Chiyoda, Tokyo.

Videos: NTV, TBS

Japan Emperor Emeritus, Empress Emerita Visit Nikko | Nippon.com
[....] The couple visited Nikko Tamozawa Imperial Villa Memorial Park, which includes an Imperial residence where the Emperor Emeritus stayed for a year from July 1944.

They also stopped at the University of Tokyo's Nikko Botanical Garden, where a classroom was set up to allow the then Crown Prince to attend classes with his classmates.

During their trip through Friday, the couple is also scheduled to visit the Okunikko area, where the Emperor Emeritus stayed at the end of the war. But their schedule may change depending on their health condition and the weather. [...]

So lovely to see the two of them!
Empress Emerita Michiko tested positive for Covid-19 on June 3rd.

She developed a cough from the morning of June 2 and throat discomfort in the morning of June 3, which prompted a PCR test. Her symptoms are considered very mild, so she will not be hospitalized and recuperate at Sento Imperial residence in Akasaka Estate. Emperor Emeritus Akihito has tested negative.

Sources: Sankei, Asahi


Another photo of Emeritus couple on May 31, returning to Tokyo.

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Empress Emerita Michiko tested negative for Covid-19 on June 10 and will gradually resume her normal life. Her mild symptoms included cough and fever. The Emeritus couple lived in separate rooms during her recovery and kept in contact via intercom. Emperor Emeritus Akihito also received regular updates on his wife's condition from a personal physician. He remains negative for Covid-19 and in good health.

Sources: Asahi, Sankei, TV-Asahi

FNN reported no staff member close to the couple has tested positive.
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