picture of the day

Morale boost

58 Comments

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko talk with evacuees from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, at Tokyo Budokan, currently an evacuation shelter, on Wednesday. The emperor and empress spent an hour at the shelter to encourage the some 300 evacuees, mainly from Fukushima Prefecture.

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58 Comments
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nice to see this.

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That's great ! ! I I think everybody should donate their time.

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Very nice gesture by the emperor and empress.

The guy's mask is useless in that position.

I hear the emperor has insisted on having blackouts at his place in Otemachi to share the burden.

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I wish to meet Emperor Akihito & Empress Michiko. I want to live in Japan to help the victims, the elderly as a nurse....

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Boy times have changed! These guys don't even sit in a "seiza" style for the Emperor and Empress? I understand they are evacuees and may have lost everything, but still something just strikes me as being so wrong about this pic. Sad commentary on what Japan has become. :-(

Agree with the others, it is a nice gesture by the Emperor and Empress.

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I was wondering if the Royal Family had been advised about the tsunami.

These guys need to front and centre in the moral building effort.

A few cuddly mascots puncing the air with a "gambarre Touhoku!" would be squat compared to having the Royals out there doing their bit.

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Nice gesture, but opening up the Palace in Tokyo to as many refugees as it can handle would be even better.

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"Boy times have changed! These guys don't even sit in a "seiza" style for the Emperor and Empress?"

That shocked the hell out of me as well.

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yeah they lost everything so they should sit in seiza style as well. give them a break. Nice picture btw, nice to see the royals coming down to normal level for a change.

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These guys don't even sit in a "seiza" style for the Emperor and Empress?.....Sad commentary on what Japan has become. :-(

I'd say it showed progress.

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im sure the guys bowed when approached by the Emperor and Empress who were probably telling everyone, just be as you are, they are trying not to be intrusive but show they care in the way that royals can do, i think it is amazing that such elderly could keep doing that for 1 hour,,,they must have really sore legs!!!

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I agree with Cleo. Before the end of WWII, I doubt if any commoners would even look directly at the Showa emperor let alone sit Indian style in front of him.

I remember the empress going to an evacuation center in Kobe after the Hanshin earthquake and she really encouraged the evacuees just by being there. Maybe the emperor and empress should go to Sendai? Or, to prove how 'right' TEPCO is, Fukushima?

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I love this photo. Egalitarian royalty at their finest. We are all human beings. Still, I'm sure the young lads got a burst of genki from the meeting.

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I saw the footage on NHK this morning. People weren't even standing up to greet them, although they were greeting them, of course. It was all very casual and friendly; It was nice to see.

The emperor and empress were doing their best to make conversation with everyone they could and cheer them up. I was pleasantly surprised.

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gambare!

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"yeah they lost everything so they should sit in seiza style as well. give them a break."

Yes, they should sit properly, common sense. If I had lost everything I had I wouldn't enter a church with my hat on.

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They probably haven't lost anything, it says most people there are from Fukushima. They'll be back home in a jiffy. TEPCO is on the job.

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They should be sitting seiza style.

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yeah.. whenever I am a visitor of someones home Id sit in seiza for respect and they politely ask me to sit comfortably after... shame on these kids

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I never understood why a hat being on your head is rude either, many high ranking religious leaders have special hats they wear....

Anyways its cool to see Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko trying to boost morale.

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What is wrong with how they sit? The emporer is not thought of as a living God these days after all. The amount of moaning about this here is probably more than you would get from a retirement home for Yakuza.

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Shouldn't they be sitting seiza style? and what's with the surgical mask?

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the royal families around the world provide a great deal of comfort to many people. whenever i think i am a useless waste of space, i just think of our own royal family.

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I would have done seiza. Especially when the Emperor/Empress is doing seiza right infront of you. It's also very hard to keep your back straight without using the seiza form, as you can see from the picture.

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"What is wrong with how they sit? The emporer is not thought of as a living God these days after all. The amount of moaning about this here is probably more than you would get from a retirement home for Yakuza."

The reason it matters is because that's Japan society. Even the language has a sub set of words and phrases to use when being polite, a polite way to sit, to eat, for everything. It matters because it's the heart of Japan. Doesn't mean that these boys should be beaten or anything but you can bet that they were scolded when the picture made the newspaper. Just bad form.

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and what's with the surgical mask?

It's hay-fever season to begin with so many people have to wear masks instead of sneezing snot on people and people who are sick use them as to not spread their illness. I'd say about 20~30% of people everywhere in Japan right now are wearing a mask.

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Looks like the emperor is wearing a nice jacket instead of those "work suits" that the politicians wear.

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After what these people have been through. I'm sure that is the last thing on anyone's minds right now. I'm sure there are bigger fish to catch at this point. I don't care how high on the totem pole I am, if I see people who are 100x less fortunate than me. I wouldn't dare worry or even think twice about how they are sitting.

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They would be sitting seiza had only the royal couple sat far higher above. In this case sitting seiza would probably raise their heads higher than the elderly couple. It's appropriate that they are as is.

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RobertCB; Actually petty rules and fake politeness are two things taht are not needed in these times. More important things to get on with. Bad form!!! Oh dear, i say how awful old boy!

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No need to beat up on the kids for not sitting seiza style. My wife and I would have, and lots of other people would have. I like the royals. I'd like to see the kids more out and about too, because while many people can come up with all the reasons why they aren't necessary etc, for many, meeting them would mean more than a hot bath.

Another thing to consider is that the royals probably didn't just turn up. It was probably orchestrated and the guys in the picture may have been told to sit like that.

That isn't taking away from the royals - I love them! But, there was probably quite a lot of planning that went in to when they would arrive and which pictures would be taken etc. It's actually a perfect photo shot for showcasing the royals.

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Sorry, I meant that I would have sat seiza style hiding the pain - but that's me.

Funny how these days with all that's going on, people can complain about the way people sit, and the uniforms the politicians wear. Just shows how much of a thick skin you need to have to be a public figure.

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I am certainly no stickler for the political and pomp garbage, but you can bet I would sit seiza if the Emperor came in just like I would solute if the President came in.

That's just me though...

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Rabblerouser is probably right.

And it is definitely nice to see the Emperor and Empress out greeting people like that. It probably brightened the day for a lot of people there.

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I wonder if these guys are sitting like that because they have no clue who these people are. There are alot of younger generation in Japan that cant even point out Tokyo on a map, or name the Current Prime Minister. Jay Leno's "Jay Walking" ring a bell?

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He should say "The situation in Tohoku has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage"

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just like grandsons are talking to their grandparents. relax and nice.

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You people assume too much. As somebody said before, what probably happened was that the guys did start to sit seiza and then the Emperor said, "Relax, gentlemen. No need to make a fuss. As you were." So what do you? Go against the orders of your Emperor?

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The key protocol is that the Emperor's head be higher than his subjects. This is being observed. They're allowed to sit in that position because they are "victims" (no disrespect intended) and are thereby excused from putting on swallowtail morning coats.

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I would add that these things tend to be carefully staged and the young men would have received instructions on what was expected of them in advance.

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What a beautiful moment captured. I think the posters here have to be more kind 'cos you do not seem to understand the depth of the psychological impact this disaster has brought to the people. In fact, even the posters need to take your mind out of this whole thing because unawares to you, you also have been shaken.

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The Royal Couple should visit the refugee( those without the radiation free LABEL ) that were turned away from the center.

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"RobertCB; Actually petty rules and fake politeness are two things taht are not needed in these times. More important things to get on with. Bad form!!! Oh dear, i say how awful old boy!"

Some people just don't get Japan.

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Just in case fellow readers jump all over me for lack of respect .....

......................

from today's MSNBC............. "Report: Japan evacuees refused treatment amid fear of radiation Echoes of Nagasaki and Hiroshima as people are turned away by hospitals, evacuation centers "

This is just WRONG, and i beleive if there's anyone in japan that can have an impact on changing the wrongful attitude, it's the Royal Family.

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I find out from other website about this visit that Emperor and Empress just walk inside the center and sometimes kneel down ,sometimes stand up, sometimes bend over to talk to many people . Different people react differently, it seems that all happen spontaneously.

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Emperor is old and not in the best of health... yet he's visiting the shelters. Meanwhile, TEPCO president is hiding out in a hospital and watching TV... Kan, Edano and everyone else is shouldering his mess... why doesn't the CEO just step down???

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One hour.

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Emperor's PR people probably told the guys just to relax since they might have lost their father, mother,brother,sister,job life & future. So they can relax

" At ease gents "

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better than not going at all. they seem genuinely concernced. they're old and frail, but still taking the time out to see 'their' people. why aren't the younger royals out there too?

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Kudos to the Emperor!

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Japanese way of showing Royal obligation, the emperor had requested that they must endure as the same as everyone else so although the palace located in Chiyoda-ku not within the rolling black out zone, the emperor cuts the electrical breaker fuse at the same time as zone 1 and has practiced it from day one. He also refuse the heaters to be turned one.

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I wonder if they ask them for compensation? :P

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nice to see the royals coming down to normal level for a change.

I disagree. If they were on a "normal" level, then they would be helping cook and serve food, and clean up the toilets after the evacuees. I think they could do a lot more that way. A royal is no better than an average person, so why should they get all this special treatment?

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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko - who both seem to talk in a simple and authentic way with these two young men - must have put them at ease and this is a true expression of their noble souls. I like the way Empress Michiko is bowing her head towards the man on the right. It shows her solicitude. I then wish disrespectful comments had not been posted by some JT readers.

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@Mittsu.. that was funny, but a little cruel.

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I disagree. If they were on a "normal" level, then they would be helping cook and serve food, and clean up the toilets after the evacuees. A royal is no better than an average person, so why should they get all this special treatment?

I wouldn't ask my grandma or grandpa to cook/clean for me, would you? Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko aren't exactly spring chickens.

Some people just don't get Japan.

And some people pretend they do. They are talking to the Emperor and Empress well sitting on what is essentially their beds (On some level that is probably taboo as well). I'm sure the Emperor or Empress didn't want them to be in more discomfort by requiring them to sit formly. Prehaps the royal family has more empathy then some posters on JT.

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better than not going at all. Agreed. It is what it is, nothing to make a big deal out of. Everyone's trying to help.

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I think it showed great leadership and empathy. They realize that the nations is looking for someone to lift them out of this mess. They are celebrity of sorts and broke tradition and protocols to show that they are human and care for their countrymen. I thought it was a humble and beautiful gesture! Hang in there friends...you will persevere once more! God bless you...an American friend.

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