Emperor Hirohito of Japan was 77 on Saturday (29 April), and celebrated the event quietly with his family at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
GV: birthday celebrates arriving at the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, (7 shots)
GV: Emperor Hirohito walking out to balcony with his wife, Empress Nagako, to receive cheers from crowd.
GV: Royal family waving to crowd (5 shots)
CU AND SV: crowds cheering and waving flags. (3 shots)
SV: policemen among crowd.
GV: crowds waving flags outside Imperial Palace. (3 shots)
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Background: Emperor Hirohito of Japan was 77 on Saturday (29 April), and celebrated the event quietly with his family at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
SYNOPSIS: Emperor Hirohito is the first Japanese monarch in fifteen hundred years of recorded history, and several centuries of tradition, to reach the lucky age of 77. This anniversary, called kiju is considered significant and full of good fortune. The royal family celebrated the day quietly. On previous imperial birthdays, artistic performances, lectures and plays were held at the Imperial palace. This year, because he is suffering from back pains, these were not held.
The Royal family will hold a private party at the Chowadan Palace in Tokyo on 6 May. But, on Saturday, Emperor Hirohito, Empress Nagaka, Crown Prince Akihito, with Princess Michiko, Prince Hitachi and Princess Hanako, greeted crowds of cheering subjects from the palace balcony. Although Hirohito is Emperor, his position is symbolical -- he has no political power.
Hirohito is quiet, scholarly man. His favourite pastimes are study of marine biology and the writing of haiku, epigrammatic Japanese poetry. When he came to the throne, Japan had barely emerged from the feudal ages. During his reign of 53 years, Japan has gone through awesome and drastic changes: the rise of Japanese militarism in the 1930s; and the global war against the West, which culminated in the nuclear devestation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Today, he is sovereign of one of the world's most successful industrial nations.