Empress turns 59, reflects on life in Japan’s Imperial family

Courtesy of the Imperial Household Agency
The Emperor and Empress chat Monday while looking at traditional pottery from Okinawa Prefecture, which they visited earlier this year.

To coincide with her 59th birthday on Friday, the Empress has made public a document reflecting on her life in the Imperial family, among other matters.

In the document, which was uploaded to the Imperial Household Agency website, the Empress touches upon her 29½ years — exactly half her life — as part of the Imperial family, saying she has been “deeply moved” by those years.

The Empress married the Emperor — then Crown Prince — on June 9, 1993. Recalling her life since, she writes: “So many things have happened. I have passed through many joys, and sometimes sorrows.”

She thanks the Emperor for his support, and the Emperor Emeritus and Empress Emerita for their guidance.

Regarding domestic affairs, the Empress says she “feels the pain” of people battling difficulties amid the pandemic and the rising cost of living. She expresses particular concern about the impact of the pandemic on children, who have been living under restrictions for nearly three years.

She also notes, “It was more joyful and gratifying than I had imagined” to receive a warm welcome in the various regions she visited after resuming her duties for the first time in almost three years.

The Empress also expresses her pleasure over the national soccer team’s performance at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, saying the Samurai Blue “gave many people great inspiration, dreams and the courage to face difficulties, as well as the opportunity for the people of Japan to unite their hearts and minds.”

Referring to world affairs, she writes that it has been “a heart-wrenching year” due to a series of conflicts and natural disasters. Alluding to events including the torrential rains that affected 33 million people in Pakistan, the Empress writes, “Countermeasures for climate change are urgently needed,” adding that she hopes that people around the world will join hands to address the issue.

Separately, the Imperial Household Agency’s medical team said the Empress’ physical condition “continues to fluctuate, and her fatigue may linger for some time,” echoing a similar outlook last year.