Human Interest

On her birthday, Empress Masako reflects on half her life in imperial family

Tokyo, Dec 9 (EFE).- Japan’s Empress Masako has reflected on her life – half of it as part of the imperial family – on her 59th birthday on Friday, saying she has experienced “many moments of joy, as well as moments of sorrow.”

“I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to His Majesty the Emperor and many others for supporting and watching over me every step of the way,” the empress added in a statement released Friday by the Imperial Household Agency.

The empress reflected on the global situation and mourned for all the people who have lost their lives in conflicts, disasters and the pandemic, saying that “it is an urgent task for people around the world to share their wisdom, join hands and cooperate.”

She also mourned the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in September, recalling the “depth and intelligence” of the monarch “and the magnitude of her existence.”

Masako also made reference to some of her recent visits to various Japanese prefectures, such as Okinawa in October to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its reversion to Japanese rule after two decades under United States control. The visit impressed upon her again the importance of peace, she said.

She also celebrated Japan’s victories in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and said that this “gave many people great inspiration, dreams and courage to face difficulties, providing an opportunity for the people of Japan to unite our hearts.”

Masako entered the Japanese imperial family in 1993, when she was 29, after marrying the now Emperor Naruhito. They ascended the Chrysanthemum throne in 2019 to usher in the Reiwa era.

Since 2003, she has been forced to reduce her public schedule due to a condition that the Imperial Household Agency has officially described as “adjustment disorder,” although experts have called it depression and blamed it on excessive pressure and the rigidity of imperial protocol.

“I hope that the coming year will be a better one in which people in Japan and around the world can feel safe and secure,” the empress concluded. EFE


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