TOKYO – Japan’s Empress Michiko said on Saturday that once her husband, Emperor Akihito, has abdicated, she will be able to enjoy quiet days and use more time for one of her hobbies: reading crime novels.
The Empress is celebrating her 84th birthday on Saturday and, as is tradition, she released a statement, probably her last as empress, as Akihito will relinquish the throne to their son, Naruhito, on April 30 next year.
Taking stock of her now 30 years as empress, Michiko stressed that her husband, who will celebrate his 85th anniversary in December, has fulfilled his obligations as emperor of Japan with “all his strength and all his heart.”
“I am confident that, from May of next year, the crown prince will serve the duties of Emperor with his whole heart, just as his majesty has done,” the Empress said in the statement.
It will be the first time in two centuries that a Japanese emperor has abdicated, a decision announced by Akihito in August 2016 due to health complications. Akihito ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne on Jan. 7, 1989.
Once Michiko ceases to be empress, she will spend time caring for her husband and enjoying “peaceful days,” but also hobbies such as growing melons in the palace gardens where she will live next to Akihito, and reading crime novels.
“I have done my best to stay away from detective novels because I tend to get absorbed in them once I start reading, but I will no longer have to worry about having them near me,” the Empress told local media.
And she also anticipates that she has “two or three” works waiting for her, from the series “Jeeves” by British author P.G. Wodehouse.