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Empress marks 77th birthday

22 Comments

Empress Michiko marked her 77th birthday on Thursday. In remarks released by the Imperial Household Agency, the empress expressed her sympathy for the victims of the March 11 disaster and support for the ongoing reconstruction efforts.

The empress and Emperor Akihito actively reached out to survivors of the earthquake and tsunami. Akihito delivered an unprecedented TV address to the nation, and the pair visited evacuees for seven straight weeks from the end of March through May.

"I experienced a sense of helplessness when I saw the devastation but I felt optimism when I saw the resilience of the people and their determination not to give up. The emperor and I have also been encouraged by the spirit of sharing and giving that so many people from all over Japan have shown in helping victims," she said in the statement.

The empress also acknowledged that age has made it more difficult for her and the emperor, who is also 77, to carry out their official duties.

The popular imperial couple did not travel abroad this year.

Michiko suffers from severe pain in her left arm, while Akihito has been on hormone therapy since prostate surgery eight years ago. He also takes medication to prevent the narrowing of his coronary arteries.

© Japan Today/AP

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22 Comments
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Happy Birthday to Empress Michiko!!!

You are always very gracious, beautiful and inspirational.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

They seem to be a very sincere couple and from what I could see on TV, their visits to the shelters brought a few moments of precious cheer to the elderly evacuees, at least.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

otanjyoubi ome!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

seven straight weeks from the end of March through May

That is amazing!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

OK I am now officially done with these two. A little too overexposed.

-14 ( +1 / -14 )

Severe arm pain? Anyone know why ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mod: check the spelling in the last line - it should be "prostate", not "prostrate", although he probably was lying down a lot.

Moderator: Thank you. It has been corrected.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The empress also acknowledged that age has made it more difficult for her and the emperor, who is also 77, to carry out their official duties.

Old age, sickness....why not let them have their freedom for their remaining years? Surely no one would object to abdication on the grounds of ill-health.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Seem like a very genuine and caring couple. Happy B-Day Empress!!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Happy Birthday Empress Michiko may you have many more.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

****its high time for this couple to have an honourable rest from their duties!! Happy Birthday,Michiko-sam1!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Their hearts are still in the right place, despite being suffocated by the Imperial Household Agency. They opened up the Nasushiobara summer house to evacuees, a very quick response to the disaster, much quicker than government.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The spiritual symbol of Japan.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

77 a good number

0 ( +0 / -0 )

These are good people. They have been gracious, respectful, and compassionate toward the Japanese people, patient in dealing with the position and duties artificially and sometimes cruelly imposed on them, and relatively outspoken (given their position) in countering the inhuman forces of both kunaicho and the rightists. I am not a supporter of monarchies, but I wish the good woman who is the Empress a happy birthday.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I wish you everything you wish for yourself and the Japanese population

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Michiko sama is one of the few people from the Japanese royal family that I actually admire and respect. So feliz cumpleaños! Español for otanjoubi omedetougizaimasu!!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Michiko looks so sweet.

But the Emperor looks more and more like the puppet from the Saw horror movies every time I see his picture.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I've always had a lot of respect for her, after what the Imperial Household has put her through - she's my parents' age but looks way older, poor woman. Interesting that no one cares much if you don't curtsey to QE 2, but there'd be uproar if you didn't bow to Michiko-sama. Anyway, hope she gets to put her feet up, so to speak, for a day or three.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My respect to Empress Michiko and Emperor Akihito. Wonderful couple. I have not a single bad thing to say about them. they are so humble and truly wonderful human beings.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If only I get to know a lot of Jpeople like them. My wholeheartedly congratulations!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Omedetou!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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