Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko arrive in India for official state visit

Kyodo

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko arrived in New Delhi on Saturday for a weeklong state visit to commemorate last year’s 60th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties.

The visit, 53 years after the Imperial Couple’s first official trip to the country in 1960 as Crown Prince and Crown Princess, is the first to India by a Japanese Emperor and Empress. It was arranged at the invitation of the Indian government.

It is the couple’s first overseas visit since last year, when they traveled to the United Kingdom to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

On Monday, the Imperial Couple will attend a ceremonial reception at the official residence of President Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi and visit Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. Later in the day, the president will hold a state banquet for them, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

On Tuesday, the Emperor and Empress will revisit the India International Center, where they attended a cornerstone-laying ceremony in 1960. During their stay in the southern city of Chennai from Wednesday, the couple will visit a traditional arts school. They will fly home Friday.

Prior to their departure, the Emperor expressed his thoughts on the trip, saying, “I hope that this visit will be an occasion to further deepen understanding of India.”

He said the visit to the India International Center and the meetings with the Indian president, as well as with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, “are some of the many things we are looking forward to on this visit.”

  • Raj

    I am very thrilled by Emperor’s visit to India, in particular Chennai where I live. I hope to catch a glimpse of Emperor if possible. Welcome to Chennai.

  • KALYAN CHAKRABORTTY

    For centuries, India and Japan
    have engaged in cultural exchanges, primarily as a result of Buddhism which
    spread indirectly from India
    to China and then to Japan.
    Japan
    and Indian freedom fighters both fought against western colonialism. The
    Japanese Government extensively supported the Indian National Army and the
    Indian Independence League headed by Rash Behari
    Bose during India’s
    fight for independence. It is necessary to correctly appraise the young
    generation of today of the story of Japan’s support . Very few people
    are aware that Rash Behari Bose was instrumental in introducing an authentic India
    curry to the Japanese.

    1915-2014 we are
    entering 100 years of his “ exile in Japan”. Our present generation
    should know his high idealism, his practical statesmanship untainted by
    counterfeit politics, rare courage and strong faith in India’s destiny, above all his patriotism.
    Rashbehari Basu (Bose of Nakamuraya) is one of those famous names which
    was on the lips of Indian people. India
    and Japan
    should celebrate this historic year.