- Empress Michiko
Michiko Empress consort of Japan Tenure 7 January 1989 - present
( 22 years, 319 days)
Enthronement 12 November 1990(aged 56) Spouse Emperor Akihito Issue Naruhito, Prince Hiro
Fumihito, Prince Aya
Sayako, Princess Nori
House Imperial House of Japan Father Hidesaburo Shōda Mother Fumiko Shōda Born 20 October 1934
Imperial House of Japan
- HIM The Emperor
HIM The Empress
Empress Michiko of Japan (皇后美智子 Kōgō Michiko, formerly Michiko Shōda (正田 美智子 Shōda Michiko ); born 20 October 1934) is the wife and consort of Emperor Akihito, the current monarch of Japan. She was the first commoner to marry into the Japanese Imperial Family. As crown princess and later as empress consort, she has become the most visible and widely-travelled imperial consort in Japanese history. Her full title is Her Imperial Majesty The Empress of Japan.
Empress Michiko was born in Tokyo, the eldest daughter of Hidesaburo Shōda (1904–1999), president and later honorary chairman of Nisshin Flour Milling Company, and his wife, Fumiko Soejima (1910–1988). She attended Futaba Elementary School in Tokyo, but was obliged to leave during the fourth grade because of the American bombing during World War II. She returned to school after the war ended and attended the Seishin (Sacred Heart) junior high school and High School in Tokyo.
In 1957, She earned a bachelor of arts in English literature from the Faculty of Literature at the University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo with summa cum laude.
In August 1957, she met then-Crown Prince Akihito on a tennis court at Karuizawa. The Imperial Household Council (a body composed of the Prime Minister of Japan, the presiding officers of the two houses of the Diet of Japan, or Parliament, the Chief Justice of Japan, and two members of the Imperial Family) formally approved the engagement of the Crown Prince to Michiko Shōda on 27 November 1958. Although the future Crown Princess was the daughter of a wealthy industrialist, she was a commoner. During the 1950s, the media and most persons familiar with the Japanese monarchy had assumed the powerful Imperial Household Agency (Kunaicho) would select a bride for Crown Prince Akihito from among the daughters of the former court nobility (Kazoku) or from one of the former branches of the Imperial Family. Some traditionalists opposed the engagement, as she comes from a Catholic family, and it was widely rumored that Empress Kōjun also was against her son's engagement. When the Dowager Empress died in 2000, Reuters news agency reported that she had bullied her effervescent new daughter-in-law into a rumored nervous breakdown in the early 1960s. The young couple, nonetheless, proved widely popular among the Japanese public.
Marriage and family
The couple married on 10 April 1959.
Three children were born to the couple:
- HIH Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan, b. 23 February 1960;
- HIH Prince Akishino (Fumihito), b. 30 November 1965; and
- The former HIH Princess Nori (Sayako), b. 18 April 1969.
Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko again broke precedent by preferring to raise their children instead of entrusting them to the care of Court chamberlains; the Crown Princess even breastfed.
Upon the death of Emperor Hirohito on 7 January 1989, her husband became Japan's 125th Emperor and she became Empress Consort. The new Emperor and Empress were enthroned (Sokui Rei Seiden no Gi) at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on 12 November 1990.
Having lost her voice for seven months during a nervous breakdown in the 1960s, the Empress again lost her voice for several months in the Fall of 1993. Court doctors attributed this to "strong feelings of distress".
The Empress of Japan
Reference style Her Imperial Majesty Spoken style Your Imperial Majesty Alternative style Madame
The Empress is expected to be the embodiment of values such as modesty and purity. She has demonstrated a strong sense of duty throughout her life, which makes her quite popular amongst the Japanese population.
As Crown Prince and Crown Princess, Akihito and Michiko made official visits to thirty-seven countries. Since their enthronement, the Imperial Couple have visited an additional eighteen countries, and have done much to make the Imperial Family more visible and approachable in contemporary Japan.
Her official duties, apart from visits to other countries, include attendance at events and ceremonies, both inside and outside the Imperial Palace, visits to welfare and cultural facilities and receiving official guests including State Guests. For example, in 2007, she had more than 300 meetings. She also takes part in religious ceremonies with the Emperor, such as visits to Ise, Shinto shrines and Imperial Mausolea to pray to the ancestral spirits. In addition, she is an accomplished classical pianist.
One of her most important functions is the annual ceremonial harvest of silkworms at the Momijiyama Imperial Cocoonery, which is the sericulture farm on the grounds of the Imperial Palace. The Empress personally feeds the worms with mulberry leaves and takes care of them, the frames and the harvesting. Since 1994, a part of the silk production is donated by her to the Shōsōin repository in Nara. The production and harvesting of silk are part of her ceremonial duties, linked to Shintoism, Japanese culture and tradition.
- ^ Herbert P. Bix, "Hirohito and the making of modern Japan", New York, 2001, p. 661
- ^ Imperial Household Agency | Activities of Her Majesty the Empress over the Past Year and Her Birthday Schedule
- Kunaicho | Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress
- Hello! Magazine | Empress breaks her silence over Masako's illness
- Japan 101 | Empress Michiko
Japanese royalty Preceded by
Empress consort of Japan
- HIM The Emperor
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Michiko Shōda — Michiko Sa Majesté l impératrice Michiko, le 23 décembre 2005. Impératrice consort (皇后, Kōgō … Wikipédia en Français
Michiko — Shōda Sa Majesté l impératrice Michiko, le 23 décembre 2005. Sa majesté l Impératrice Michiko du Japon (皇后美智子, Kōgō Michiko … Wikipédia en Français
Michiko Shoda — Michiko Shōda Sa Majesté l impératrice Michiko, le 23 décembre 2005. Sa majesté l Impératrice Michiko du Japon (皇后美智子, Kōgō Michiko … Wikipédia en Français
Michiko — is a Japanese given name, used for females. Although written romanized the same way, the Japanese language written forms (kanji, katakana, hiragana) can be different. Common forms include: 美智子 beautiful wise child 美千子 child of a thousand beauties … Wikipedia
Empress of Japan — refer to* Empress of Japan, current empress consort, Empress Michiko * Empress of Japan, former Japanese empresses *, ocean liner operated by Canadian Pacific Steamships *, ocean liner operated by Canadian Pacific Steamships … Wikipedia
Empress Kōjun — Kōjun 香淳皇后 Empress Consort of Japan Empress consort of Japan Tenure 25 December 1926 – 7 January 1989 Predecessor … Wikipedia
Shoda Michiko — Michiko Shōda Sa Majesté l impératrice Michiko, le 23 décembre 2005. Sa majesté l Impératrice Michiko du Japon (皇后美智子, Kōgō Michiko … Wikipédia en Français
Emperatriz Michiko — Michiko Emperatriz Consorte de Japón Reinado 7 de enero de 1989 Presente Coronación 12 de noviem … Wikipedia Español
The Empress — can refer to:*Empress Michiko *The Empress, a hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada *The Empress, a Tarot card *The Empress, a dark and mysterious vampire countess from the Downtown comic series. *The Empress, ship in the movie … Wikipedia
Imperial House of Japan — For the administration of the Imperial household, see Imperial Household Agency. Imperial House of Japan Country Japan Titles Emperor of Japan Founder … Wikipedia