Tenno Tanjobi

Today was a national holiday in Japan – the emperor’s 80th birthday. His Imperial Majesty the Emperor Akihito was born on December 23rd, 1933 in Tokyo as the fifth child but first son of emperor Showa (Hirohito). He ascended to the throne on January 7th, 1989, with the official enthronement taking place on November 12, 1990 after 22 months of preparations. His era bears the name Heisei.

I have not noticed anything big going on in Kyoto (I didn’t go downtown though), but tenno tanjobi is one of only two days (the other one is January 2nd) when the general public is allowed to enter the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. You may then even write a greeting to the emperor and as this page states “The Greeting Book will be duly forwarded to its highest destination as the expression of your warm congratulations” there could even be a chance of him reading it! This year, there were three appearances of the emperor and his immediate family planned on a balcony of one of the palace buildings and people go there and wave little Japanese flags to greet the emperor. This year, there were about 24.000 visitors, and as the entrance gates close after only two hours, you can imagine how terribly crowded the plaza must have been on which the people waited for the emperor…

chocolate cakes


Happy Birthday, Your Majesty!