Emperor Emeritus of Japan Turns 87

Courtesy of the Imperial Household Agency
The Emperor Emeritus and Empress Emerita walk in the garden of their temporary Imperial residence in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on Nov. 24.

The Emperor Emeritus turned 87 on Wednesday. He is said to have no particular health problems and to lead a peaceful life with the Empress Emerita.

This year, birthday celebrations will be canceled due to the hardships that the people are facing amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. According to the Imperial Household Agency, the Emperor Emeritus is deeply concerned about the impact of the coronavirus on people’s health and lives, and he has been asking his aides about the daily status of infections and the history of infectious diseases.

Regarding the Imperial Family, the Emperor Emeritus is deeply relieved that all accession-related events have been completed, culminating with the Rikkoshi-no-rei ceremony on Nov. 8.

At the end of March, the Emperor Emeritus and his wife moved to the Sento imperial residence, their temporary home in the Takanawa district in Minato Ward, Tokyo. They take walks in the garden in the morning and early evening, and enjoy looking at the plants transplanted from the Imperial Palace.

For a while after moving to the Sento residence, the Emperor Emeritus refrained from going out to avoid infection, but at the end of May, he resumed his research at the biological laboratory at the Imperial Palace. Currently, the Emperor Emeritus visits the institute twice a week and is working on a new paper on goby.

As the Emperor Emeritus has gotten older, he has been asking his wife many questions. The Empress Emerita is said to answer his repeated questions with great care, and he reportedly always smiles brightly when he is satisfied with the answers.

“Even when there is a misunderstanding at times, they laugh together and refresh their memories,” a close aide said, adding that the Emperor Emeritus “seems calm and happy.”