MANILA, Philippines – A national holiday in Japan, the Emperor’s birthday will be celebrated on Thursday, December 9, 2010, by the Japanese community in the Philippines. The celebration marks the 77th birthday of Emperor Akihito, the eldest son and the fifth child of Emperor Hirohito (now posthumously referred to as Emperor Showa) and Empress Kojun. Emperor Akihito was born on December 23, 1933.
Titled Prince Tsugu as a child, Emperor Akihito was raised and educated by his private tutors and then attended the elementary and secondary departments of the Peers’ School from 1940 to 1952. Although he was heir-apparent to the Chrysanthenum Throne from the moment of birth, his formal investiture as Crown Prince was held at the Tokyo Imperial Palace on November 10, 1952. In 1959, the Crown Prince married Michiko Shoda. Their union has been blessed with three children – the Crown Prince Naruhito, Prince Akishino, and Princess Sayako.
Emperor Akihito formally acceded to the throne on November 12, 1990, ushering in the era known as the Heisei Period. Since succeeding to the throne, Emperor Akihito has made an effort to bring the Imperial Family closer to the Japanese people. The Emperor and Empress of Japan have made official visits to 18 countries, as well as all 47 prefectures of Japan.
On the occasion of the Emperor’s birthday, a public ceremony takes place at the Imperial Palace, a place that is normaly off limits to the public. The palace gates are opened and the Emperor, accompanied by member of the Imperial Family, appears on a palace balcony to acknowledge the greetings of crowds of festive well-wishers waving tiny Japanese flags. Only on this occasion and on January 2 may the general public enter the inner grounds of the Imperial Palace.
We greet the Japanese community in the Philippines, led by His Excellency, Ambassador Makoto Katsura, on the occasion of the birthday of His Majesty, Emperor Akihito. We wish them all the best success in all their endeavors.