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Emperor Emeritus Akihito Celebrates 90th Birthday with Research and Enthusiasm

We wish Emperor Emeritus Akihito a happy 90th birthday and celebrate his active research work, engaged lifestyle, and recovery from his heart problem in 2022.



The retired Emperor Emeritus celebrates his 90th birthday at the Akasaka Imperial Estate in former Akasaka, Tokyo (provided by the Imperial Household Agency)

Emperor Emeritus Akihito celebrated his 90th birthday on December 23. We convey our enthusiastic congratulations and applaud his active life.

The Emperor Emeritus continues to enjoy delving into his research on gobies at the Sendo Imperial Palace in Akasaka and the Biological Research Institute within the Imperial Palace. He is enthusiastically reexamining research papers he has written in the past. And, as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, he and the Empress Emerita are gradually participating in exhibitions and various events.

One of his common questions is, "What's on the agenda for today?" The Emperor Emeritus frequents the Biological Research Institute twice weekly. According to Masayoshi Hayashi, a scholar at the Yokosuka City Museum of Nature and Human Culture who guides the Emperor Emeritus, his immediate inquiry upon arrival revolves around the day's schedule. 

Mr Hayashi notes, "[The Emperor Emeritus] sustains an avid interest as an active researcher." His routine vividly illustrates this. He scrutinizes specimens under a microscope and, gesturing to the monitor screen upon rising from the sofa, shares his perspectives.

The Emperor Emeritus and the Empress Emerita Michiko celebrate the Emperor Emeritus's 90th birthday at the Akasaka Imperial Estate in Moto-Akasaka, Tokyo (provided by the Imperial Household Agency)

The Emperor Emeritus's Recent Work

Currently, the Emperor Emeritus is collaborating with staff and fellow researchers in studies along two distinct themes. One theme is exploring the fish species identified as Chichibu, for which he advocates comprehensive field surveys. The other theme is the classification of the Japanese Dusky Frillgoby. He is revisiting this topic, which he first explored in a 1980 paper. Currently, he is reassessing identification methods to accommodate newly verified species.

Throughout 2023, the Emperor Emeritus and Empress Emerita actively participated in Okinawa-themed exhibitions and concerts. These often featured musicians they share connections with. 

According to the Imperial Household Agency, their interest in the engagements of the Emperor, Empress, and other imperial family members remains steadfast. When visiting foreign countries, the royal couple reminisces about their previous visits to those nations. In particular, they have been genuinely concerned about the current conditions in some of those countries and sought the insights of experts.

Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress enter Sento Imperial Palace to celebrate the Emperor's 90th birthday, on December 23, Minato-ku, Tokyo. (Pool photo)

Healthy Lifestyle and Daily Routine

In their residence, they adhere to a disciplined daily routine. After dinner, they occasionally engage in recreational activities such as playing Othello or shogi with close aides. 

Reports regarding the symptoms of right heart failure diagnosed in July 2022 indicate the Emepror Emeritus' condition is stable with ongoing treatment.



(Read the report in Japanese.)

Author: Yuko Ogata

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