Tokyo: Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary just three weeks before he abdicates his throne. The couple met at a 1957 tennis tournament remembered as a “love match.” Akihito and Michiko Shoda married in 1959, making him Japan’s first future emperor to wed a commoner and someone who was Catholic-educated. Both are among many changes he brought to Japan’s 1,500-year-old monarchy.
The couple also broke with tradition in choosing to raise their own children and in speaking more often to the public. Wednesday’s celebration is their last in Akihito’s 30-year reign. The 85-year-old emperor is abdicating on April 30 and handing the Chrysanthemum throne to his elder son, Crown Prince Naruhito, the next day.