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Datum objave: 01.05.2019

Courage, romance brought new Emperor, Empress together

Good direction expected under Reiwa era, say 58% in poll

Courage, romance brought new Emperor, Empress together

.The Yomiuri Shimbun

The new Emperor was born on the evening of Feb. 23, 1960, at the Hospital of the Imperial Household in the Imperial Palace. Given the name Naruhito, he was 47 centimeters long and weighed 2,540 grams.

In his childhood, he developed an avid interest in history. In a collection of essays by graduates from Gakushuin Primary School, the Emperor wrote that his dream was to become a university teacher of Japanese history and to visit Nara with students.

After graduating from Gakushuin Boys’ Junior High School and Gakushuin Boys’ Senior High School, the Emperor was enrolled in the Department of History of Gakushuin University.

He continued his historical studies at the university’s graduate school from 1982, then studied at Merton College of the University of Oxford for two years from 1983. He visited various places and analyzed historical records to research the history of water transportation along the Thames River during the 18th century.

The new Empress was born on Dec. 9, 1963, in Tokyo, as the first daughter of Hisashi and Yumiko Owada.

The Owada family is from an old established household in Murakami, Niigata Prefecture.

Her father, Hisashi, was a career diplomat whose duties included such positions as administrative vice foreign minister and ambassador to the United Nations. The Empress spent 5½ years of her childhood in New York and Moscow.

The Imperial couple met for the first time on Oct. 18, 1986, at a reception for a Spanish princess at the Togu Palace, the current Akasaka Palace. At that time, the Empress was still a student at the University of Tokyo and had just passed a diplomatic service examination.

“She was reserved, but said clearly what was on her mind,” the Emperor said about his first impression of her at a press conference later. “I felt she was intelligent, and that we had something in common to talk about and were able to have our feelings well understood by each other.”

“Should I give up on [marrying] Ms. Owada?” the Emperor said to his aides in desperation. It was in the autumn of 1991. Receiving a request from the then grand steward of the Imperial Household Agency, former Administrative Vice Foreign Minister Kensuke Yanagiya arranged for the two to be reunited at his home in August 1992, marking their first meeting in about five years.

Two months later, the two went on a date at the Imperial Wild Duck Preserve in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture, and the Emperor proposed, saying, “Will you marry me?”

Initially, the Empress declined the proposal, saying she was “not confident.” But the Emperor continued tenaciously persuading her to marry him, and the Empress accepted the proposal in December the same year.

“You may feel anxiety and concerns about entering the Imperial family, but I will protect you with all my might for the rest of my life.” The Emperor’s words swayed her decision to marry him. The “Kekkon-no-gi” marriage ceremony was held on June 9 the following year. About 190,000 people lined the streets during a parade that followed the ceremony to celebrate the newlyweds.

In May 2001, it was officially announced that the Empress was pregnant.

Princess Aiko was born at 2:43 p.m. on Dec. 1, 2001, at the Imperial Household Agency Hospital. Her honorific title and name, Toshinomiya Aiko, reflected the Imperial couple’s wish to see her grow up as a person who “respects and loves people.”

Good direction expected under Reiwa era, say 58% in poll

The Yomiuri Shimbun

In the Reiwa era, Japan will be advancing in a good direction, about 58 percent of people answered in a recent nationwide survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun, far exceeding the 17 percent who responded the opposite.

Among respondents aged 18 to 29, about 80 percent, the highest ratio in all age brackets, said Japan will be advancing in a good direction. This is followed by the 60 percent range for those in their 30s and 40s, and the 50 percent range for respondents in their 50s and 60s. Among those in their 70s and older, slightly less than 50 percent felt the same.

The latest survey was conducted from Friday to Sunday.

Before the new era name was announced, a similar survey was conducted in January and February in a different format with slightly different questions and answers. That survey found 59 percent of respondents said they believed the new era after Heisei either “will advance in a better direction” or “will somewhat do so,” showing almost the same proportion as the latest one.

In the latest survey, regarding the Golden Week holiday period running for 10 consecutive days through May 6 to celebrate the Imperial succession, 36 percent said it was good, while 50 percent answered the opposite.

Also, 54 percent said they support the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, compared to 53 percent in a survey conducted on April 1 and 2. Those who do not support the Cabinet stood at 31 percent, down from 32 percent.

When asked which party they support, 40 percent of respondents selected the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, up from 38 percent in the previous survey, while 4 percent chose the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, up from 3 percent. Those who do not support any party stood at 40 percent, down from 42 percent.

The survey was conducted by random digit dialing to landlines of 923 households and mobile phones of 1,216 users. The survey only applied to eligible voters aged 18 or older, and 1,053 people (536 on landlines and 517 on mobile phones) gave valid answers

New Emperor’s prayers continue in Reiwa era
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