Japan’s Empress Emerita Michiko turns 88

On Thursday, Empress Emerita Michiko turned 88. Despite switching residences with the current emperor and his family, she and her spouse Emeritus Akihito maintain their daily routine.

Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko

Japan’s Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko walk in the garden of the Akasaka imperial property residence in Tokyo on Oct. 4, 2022. Michiko celebrated her 88th birthday on Thursday, Oct. 20.

The former empress strolls around the Akasaka Estate’s Emperor Emeritus’ Residence in the morning and the evening with her 88-year-old husband. And after breakfast, she also reads aloud from books, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

The couple completed a swap with their son, Emperor Naruhito, and his family. In September 2021, the current emperor moved to the Imperial Mansion within the Imperial Palace, and for the first time in almost 30 years, former emperor Naruhito went back to the Akasaka house in April. The current monarch succeeded to the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1, 2019.

The Takanawa Imperial Mansion was the temporary home of the pair for about two years. Empress Emerita has been cultivating balloon vine seeds at the Akasaka residence since receiving them as a gift from nearby nursery school children.

She and her husband both expressed concern for the prefectures of Miyagi and Fukushima and about coronavirus after the major earthquake that hit northeastern Japan on March 16.

Following the demise of Queen Elizabeth II last month, Empress Emerita Michiko expressed her sorrow.

Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022)

Since receiving a diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis in her right calf—a disorder in which a blood clot develops in a deep vein—in August, the former empress has been under close supervision.

She still has small fevers in the afternoon, and her diagnostic marker for heart failure is still elevated.

She has skipped birthday parties for the past three years due to the epidemic and other factors. However, this year, she will receive birthday congratulations from her son Emperor Naruhito and his wife Empress Masako at her residence.

The 30-year Heisei Era came to an end when the former emperor became the first Japanese monarch to abdicate in almost two centuries. Later, his 62-year-old eldest son Emperor Naruhito took the throne.



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