(VIDEOS) Her Imperial Highness Crown Princess Masako of Japan Celebrates Her 53rd Birthday.

On Friday, December 9, 2016, Her Imperial Highness Crown Princess Masako of Japan celebrated her 53rd birthday.

In honor of her birthday the Imperial Household Agency released new photos as well as video of the beautiful crown princess with her family, His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan and Her Imperial Highness Princess Aiko of Japan.

The crown princess also released a statement regarding her thoughts about this past year.  Here is what she had to say (rough translation):

japan5“In the past year, there were various things both inside and outside of the country. Floods caused by the Kumamoto earthquake in April, the typhoon  in the summer, and many other natural disasters that occurred abroad. I express my heartfelt condolences to the people who passed away in unhappiness and their bereaved families. Also, I wish to express my condolences for the hardships of the affected people as well as I pray from the bottom of my heart that I can return to life I can relieve as soon as possible. The occurrence of an earthquake of seismic intensity 7 in Kumamoto Prefecture was an unexpected thing, my heart ached from the magnitude of the damage. Also, since the big aftershocks lasted for a long period of time, I think that many people had a hard time thinking.

East Japan great earthquake disaster is also always getting hung up on my mind. In June, I visited Iwate Prefecture with Prince Crown Prince for visit to the reconstruction situation, I realized that the reconstruction is progressing steadily, such as the development of disaster public housing and housing estates progressed . On the other hand, my heart felt painfully as I heard stories about the difficulties continuing from people living in temporary housing now. Furthermore, in such a situation, I knew that Typhoon No. 10 brought about major damage to Iwaizumi Iwaizumi Town and Hokkaido, I thought about the magnitude of the impact the people suffered. Also, in recent years, it seems that there are a lot of large-scale disasters, I feel once again the importance of preparation for daily disasters. I hope that those affected will be able to live peacefully as soon as possible and I would like to keep in mind the restoration of the afflicted areas for a long time with the Crown Prince.

The bright topic of the year was that the Japanese team won great performances at the Rio Olympics and the Paralympics during the summer and that Dr. Yoshinori Osumi was awarded the Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine in autophagy research I will. And the selection of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers, which was established in 1965 as a Nobel Prize in Asia, was chosen as a proof that international contributions by Japanese young people are highly valued from the world, I am very pleased about these things.japan7

However, in Japan, it is becoming apparent that people with disabilities, people who are socially vulnerable, such as children and the elderly, will be sacrificed, which is of concern. Even with looking to the world, issues such as poverty, the increase of refugees, the occurrence of many victims by terrorism, and so on are piled up. I feel that it is important for people to overcome each other’s differences with a broad mind, to gather wisdom together with hands and work together to solve various problems in the current world .

To the Emperor and Empress, I began visiting the Philippine country in January, I also saw how I was fulfilling my duties while carefully working each and every single year, deep emotion We are renewing our philosophy. And, the words of the Emperor in August this year, I have grasped the television broadcast with a solemn thinking, and I take it heavily for your Majesty’s feelings. I am praying to the Emperor from the bottom of my heart that every day I am very busy with my duties and I am treating my physical condition and treating my health forever.

In October, His Highness Prince Makasa Mikasa had passed away. To Mikasa Miya, I am feeling lonely, since I received my highness, Prince Crown Prince, me and Aiko as well as having taken care of me. I am rewarding this opportunity to express my appreciation of gratitude and my respect for my longevity and pray for the souls. Also, overseas, His Majesty the King of Bhumibol of Thailand had passed. I was deeply sorry for the citizens of Thailand because I was devoted to the Thai country for many years and I was deeply appreciated by the people, so it was a shame. About twenty years ago, I invited you to Bokkok, Bangkok which I visited on the way to the Middle Eastern countries that became my first foreign visit after marriage, for me, to host a deep and memorable heart-warming dinner party I remember old times. I sincerely pray for the souls.

Regarding myself, while paying attention to the physical condition this year, starting the ceremony of the Emperor Jinmu 2,600 years in April and striving to fulfill as much duty as possible for the public service inside and outside the East Palace I give up. Among them, I visited Chiba and Iwate Prefecture in June, Nara Prefecture and Kyoto Prefecture in July, Nagano Prefecture in August and Gifu Prefecture in November, welcoming a lot of people with a smile with a warm smile What I received was great encouragement for me. From now on, I would like to continue my efforts to recover while receiving assistance from everyone.

japan6Princess Aiko is surrounded by many friends and lives a fulfilling middle school life, and this year, along with the Crown Prince and I, including the ceremonial ceremonial commemorative ceremony of Jimmu Emperor Yamanashi and “mountain days”, various events and places I also got more to go out. Through such things, I feel that I am learning the awareness and role as an imperial family. I entered autumn, I lost my physical condition, I worry very much to everyone. Indeed, I feel that my physical condition has recovered fairly now, I am working on study while sending important days of my remaining junior high school life carefully. I hope to continue growing more and more while accumulating various experiences from now on. I sincerely thank each of my majesties for rewarding this opportunity to watch over me and Aiko while having a warmest heartfelt than usual. We would like to express our gratitude to the warm feelings offered by the people as well.

We believe that the affected areas including the Tohoku area and Kumamoto are also experiencing severe winter cold. I sincerely hope that those affected by the disaster will be able to spend a calm and daily life with warm support from many people.”

(VIDEO) TIHs Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko of Japan Visit Nagasaki.

According to Kyodo News on December 6, 2016, Their Imperial Highnesses Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko  of Japan accompanied by their son, His Imperial Highness Prince Hisahito, visited Nagasaki to see:

“…relics of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki.  On his first visit to Nagasaki Prince Hisahito offered flowers at the ground zero monument in the Nagasaki Peace Park dedicated to victims of the bombing. The family also went to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture.

Atomic bomb survivor and former Nagasaki University President Hideo Tsuchiyama, 91, told of his experience to the prince, a fourth-grader at Ochanomizu University Elementary School…”

(VIDEO) TIMs Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan Visit the Katsushika Welfare Factory.

On December 6, 2016, Their Imperial Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan visited the Katsushika Welfare Factory in Tokyo, Japan.

During their visit to the factory, which employs individuals with disabilities, the emperor and empress met with workers preparing “…boxes of emergency food for disasters…” according to Kyodo News.

(VIDEO) TIMs Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan Welcome the President of Singapore to Tokyo.

On the morning of Wednesday, November 30, 2016, Their Imperial Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan accompanied by Their Imperial Highnesses Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako of Japan welcomed the President of Singapore, Mr. Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife Ms. Mary Chee Bee Kiang, to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan.

(VIDEO) HIH Princess Mako of Akishino Visits Paraguay.

On Thursday, September 8, 2016, Her Imperial Highness Princess Mako of Akishino arrived at the Residencia Presidencial Mburuvichá Roga in Asunción, Paraguay, to met with the President of Paraguay, Mr. Horacio Cartes.

The purpose of Princess Mako’s visit to lovely Paraguay was to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Japanese immigration to the South American country.

And, that’s it.

For more information about yesterday’s meeting please click here (in Spanish).

(VIDEO) His Imperial Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan Meets with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

On September 1, 2016, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan warmly welcomed His Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan.

According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the crown prince “…arrived in Tokyo late Wednesday on the third leg of his three-nation Asia tour that started in Pakistan on Sunday, followed by a three-day visit to China.”

(VIDEOS) His Imperial Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan Addresses the Nation.

On Monday, August 8, 2016, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan addressed the people — via a pre-recorded video message — of Japan hinting that he would like to abdicate the ancient Chrysanthemum Throne.  Here is what the 82-year-old emperor had to say:

“A major milestone year marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II has passed, and in two years we will be welcoming the 30th year of Heisei.

As I am now more than 80 years old and there are times when I feel various constraints such as in my physical fitness, in the last few years I have started to reflect on my years as the Emperor, and contemplate on my role and my duties as the Emperor in the days to come.
As we are in the midst of a rapidly aging society, I would like to talk to you today about what would be a desirable role of the Emperor in a time when the Emperor, too, becomes advanced in age. While, being in the position of the Emperor, I must refrain from making any specific comments on the existing Imperial system, I would like to tell you what I, as an individual, have been thinking about.

Ever since my accession to the throne, I have carried out the acts of the Emperor in matters of state, and at the same time I have spent my days searching for and contemplating on what is the desirable role of the Emperor, who is designated to be the symbol of the State by the Constitution of Japan. As one who has inherited a long tradition, I have always felt a deep sense of responsibility to protect this tradition. At the same time, in a nation and in a world which are constantly changing, I have continued to think to this day about how the Japanese Imperial Family can put its traditions to good use in the present age and be an active and inherent part of society, responding to the expectations of the people.

It was some years ago, after my two surgeries that I began to feel a decline in my fitness level because of my advancing age, and I started to think about the pending future, how I should conduct myself should it become difficult for me to carry out my heavy duties in the way I have been doing, and what would be best for the country, for the people, and also for the Imperial Family members who will follow after me. I am already 80 years old, and fortunately I am now in good health. However, when I consider that my fitness level is gradually declining, I am worried that it may become difficult for me to carry out my duties as the symbol of the State with my whole being as I have done until now.

I ascended to the throne approximately 28 years ago, and during these years, I have spent my days together with the people of Japan, sharing much of the joys as well as the sorrows that have happened in our country. I have considered that the first and foremost duty of the Emperor is to pray for peace and happiness of all the people. At the same time, I also believe that in some cases it is essential to stand by the people, listen to their voices, and be close to them in their thoughts. In order to carry out the duties of the Emperor as the symbol of the State and as a symbol of the unity of the people, the Emperor needs to seek from the people their understanding on the role of the symbol of the State. I think that likewise, there is need for the Emperor to have a deep awareness of his own role as the Emperor, deep understanding of the people, and willingness to nurture within himself the awareness of being with the people. In this regard, I have felt that my travels to various places throughout Japan, in particular, to remote places and islands, are important acts of the Emperor as the symbol of the State and I have carried them out in that spirit. In my travels throughout the country, which I have made together with the Empress, including the time when I was Crown Prince, I was made aware that wherever I went there were thousands of citizens who love their local community and with quiet dedication continue to support their community. With this awareness I was able to carry out the most important duties of the Emperor, to always think of the people and pray for the people, with deep respect and love for the people. That, I feel, has been a great blessing.

In coping with the aging of the Emperor, I think it is not possible to continue reducing perpetually the Emperor’s acts in matters of state and his duties as the symbol of the State. A Regency may be established to act in the place of the Emperor when the Emperor cannot fulfill his duties for reasons such as he is not yet of age or he is seriously ill. Even in such cases, however, it does not change the fact that the Emperor continues to be the Emperor till the end of his life, even though he is unable to fully carry out his duties as the Emperor.
When the Emperor has ill health and his condition becomes serious, I am concerned that, as we have seen in the past, society comes to a standstill and people’s lives are impacted in various ways. The practice in the Imperial Family has been that the death of the Emperor called for events of heavy mourning, continuing every day for two months, followed by funeral events which continue for one year. These various events occur simultaneously with events related to the new era, placing a very heavy strain on those involved in the events, in particular, the family left behind. It occurs to me from time to time to wonder whether it is possible to prevent such a situation.

As I said in the beginning, under the Constitution, the Emperor does not have powers related to government. Even under such circumstances, it is my hope that by thoroughly reflecting on our country’s long history of emperors, the Imperial Family can continue to be with the people at all times and can work together with the people to build the future of our country, and that the duties of the Emperor as the symbol of the State can continue steadily without a break. With this earnest wish, I have decided to make my thoughts known.
I sincerely hope for your understanding.”

HIM Empress Michiko of Japan Attends a Concert in Tokyo.

 

On Sunday, July 31, 2016, Her Imperial Majesty Empress Michiko of Japan attended a concert in Tokyo, Japan, with special guest performer South Korean tenor, Mr. Bae Jae-chul.

According to AFP News, Mr. Jae-chul “…lost his vocal cords after he underwent a thyroid cancer surgery in 2005 when he was in Germany but has successfully returned to his singing career in three years after his Japanese fan music producer arranged him to restore his vocal cords through a thyroplasty operation by a Kyoto Univ. prof. emeritus and then vocal training conducted by a Japanese specialist.”

(VIDEO) News Regarding Members of the Imperial Family of Japan.

On the morning of Saturday, January 2, 2016, Their Imperial Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan accompanied by TIHs Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako of Japan, TIHs Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko of Japan, TIHs Princess Kako and Princess Mako of Japan, TIHs Prince Hitachi and Princess Hitachi, TIHs Prince Mikasa and Princess Mikasa, and TIHs Princess Tomohito and Princess Akiko of Mikasa appeared on the Chowa-den Hall balcony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo to wish 45,000 Japanese citizens as well as tourists a very Happy New Year.

In his speech to the crowd Emperor Akihito stated “…I am truly pleased to celebrate this New Year with you.  From the start of this New Year, I pray for peace for our nation and for the world…”

 

(VIDEO) TIMs Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan Host New Year Greetings.

On the afternoon of January 1, 2016, Their Imperial Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan accompanied by Their Imperial Highnesses Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, Their Imperial Highnesses Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko along with their two daughters, Princess Mako and Princess Kako, hosted New Year Greetings at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

Guests in attendance during today’s event included the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Shinzo Abe, accompanied by his Cabinet members, the heads of the Diet’s two chambers and the chief justice of the Supreme Court as well as ambassadors including the United States Ambassador to Japan, Ms. Caroline Kennedy.

Earlier in the day, the Imperial Household Agency published Emperor Akihito’s New Year reflections:

“As last year was the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, it was a year in which many of us spent much time thinking about the war. In welcoming the new year, I would like to renew my prayer for peace both for our country and our people.

It will soon be five years since the Great East Japan Earthquake, and it pains me to think that there are still people who cannot return to the places they used to live and those who must endure the hardships of living in temporary housing. I hope that these people will take good care of their health through the cold winter, and that further progress will be made in the recovery of the afflicted areas.

Our country Japan is indeed blessed with beautiful nature, but at the same time, we are prone to natural disasters. It is my sincere hope that each and every Japanese cultivate an awareness of disaster prevention and continue to look out for each other and be prepared to protect themselves at all times.

May the new year bring happiness to the people of our country and the people around the world.