Tag Archives: Akihito

today’s holiday: Greenery Day


Greenery Day

This day formerly observed the birthday of Emperor Hirohito of Japan (1901-1989), who was the world’s longest ruling monarch. Today this day is celebrated as Greenery Day (Midori-no-Hi) with parades featuring elaborate floats, paper lanterns, traditional Japanese costumes, and fireworks. People also mark the day by planting trees and with other activities centered around the appreciation of nature. Greenery Day is a part of Golden Week, which also includes Japan Constitution Memorial Day (May 3) and Kodomo-no-Hi (Children’s Day, May 5). More… Discuss

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Today’s Birthday: Chiune Sugihara (1900)


Today’s Birthday

Chiune Sugihara (1900)

A Japanese diplomat, Sugihara was sent to Kaunas, Lithuania, in the early days of World War II. There, in direct violation of his orders from Tokyo, the consul began issuing transit visas for fleeing Jews. Without such visas, the refugees would not have been permitted to leave the country. In little over a month, he wrote thousands of visas, continuing even as the train removing him from his consulate post pulled out of the station. How did the Japanese government react to his insubordination? More… Discuss

Emperor Akihito


Emperor Akihito

Even before ascending the throne of Japan, Akihito bucked tradition. When he was 25, the then crown prince married Michiko Shoda, a commoner—marking the first time that an heir to the Japanese throne had wed outside the court nobility. In another unorthodox move, he and his wife chose to raise their children at home. Since Akihito became emperor in 1989, he has persisted in his efforts to humanize and modernize the royal family. What else has he done to try and change the royal family’s image? More… Discuss