Tokyo, Dec. 23 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s Emperor Emeritus Akihito, the father of Emperor Naruhito, turned 88 on Thursday.
The Emperor Emeritus is living a healthy and balanced life at the Sento Kari Gosho temporary Imperial residence in Tokyo, according to the Imperial Household Agency. During the past year, he visited only a biological laboratory and the Imperial Household Hospital, both located in the Imperial Palace, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
An event to celebrate his birthday will be held for the first time in two years, though on a smaller scale.
The Emperor Emeritus wakes up at a fixed time in the morning and then walks around the garden with Empress Emerita Michiko, 87.
After breakfast, the couple read aloud Japanese author Torahiko Terada’s “Kaki no Tane” book. Then, the Emperor Emeritus reads newspapers and is briefed about the pandemic and natural disasters.
Emperor Emeritus Akihito takes a rest in the afternoon before strolling again. He greets residents of nearby condominiums who wave at him. In the afternoon, he receives reports from aides and reads documents and books presented to him.
After dinner, the Emperor Emeritus has a conversation with a chamberlain on a daily basis, as recommended by the Empress Emerita. He has talked about topics such as his visit to the United States and Europe in 1953.
In September, he became the oldest person who has served as the country’s emperor in records dating back to the eighth century. No major health problem was detected in his regular checkup in November.
His memory sometimes becomes unclear, as is often the case with people of his age, but he checks facts with the Empress Emerita and smiles after their confirmation, according to the agency.
He offers a silent prayer on the anniversaries of the end of the ground battle in Okinawa Prefecture in the late stages of World War II, the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan’s surrender in the war, the 1995 Kobe earthquake and the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that hit the Tohoku northeastern region.
The Emperor Emeritus is worried about people in trouble and wishes for people’s happiness and peace in society, as he did when he was in reign.
He is delighted at the growth of Princess Aiko, one of his granddaughters and the only child of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako. The princess turned 20 and came of age on Dec. 1.
The Emperor Emeritus wishes for the happiness of former Princess Mako Komuro, 30, his first grandchild, who married in October.
Next year, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko will move to the former Akasaka Imperial Residence. Renovation work to set up elevators and other equipment to improve accessibility there is scheduled to be completed in May-June.