Empress, turning 71, talks of Princess Nori

Empress Michiko, on the occasion of her 71st birthday Thursday, recounted memories of the time she spent with Princess Nori and told of how she would miss her when she leaves the Imperial household to get married Nov. 15.

The Empress said she has not decided what she will tell her only daughter, whose other formal name is Princess Sayako, on her wedding day and might even be at a loss for words.

“I would like to tell Sayako just what comes to my mind on the morning of the wedding, but like my mother before me, perhaps I too might not be able to say anything at all,” the Empress said in a written response to questions from reporters who cover the Imperial family.

Recalling the day the princess was born — April 18, 1969 — the Empress said she had felt in the morning that “something very special was going to happen on that day.”

“Sayako was a child who would be the first to come to me serenely and say, ‘Don’t mind,’ whenever I was disappointed about a mistake I had made or about something that had happened unexpectedly,” the Empress wrote.

Writing that Emperor Akihito sometimes calls the princess “our Miss Don’t Mind” even now, the Empress added, “How fondly we will remember and miss this tender and heart-warming ‘Don’t mind’ in the days to come.”

The Empress wrote that Princess Nori, despite having to face a number of restrictions in her life as a princess, was “tranquil and patient, and took responsibility for all her actions, and had a personality that rarely ever slighted others.”

Referring to the Imperial Couple’s June visit to Saipan, which was their first overseas trip for the sole purpose of paying respects to the war dead, the Empress wrote that the Emperor “finally was able to fulfill his long-standing wish” to make the trip, on the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.

She said she felt strongly that her generation must think more deeply about such issues as war and peace as the number of survivors of the war is declining.

The Empress also wrote she is happy that Crown Princess Masako, who was diagnosed with an adjustment disorder in July 2004, “appears to be gradually getting better.”

The Crown Princess, a Harvard- and Oxford-educated former diplomat, has been mostly out of public view since being diagnosed with the disorder, which was caused by stress and other reasons.

“While creating as quiet an environment as possible, I would like to watch over the recovery of the Crown Princess,” the Empress wrote.