The Kosho Hajime new year lecture event, in which leading experts from the academic community deliver lectures to Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, was held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Wednesday.

They were joined by other members of the Imperial family, including Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, as well as Prince Akishino and his wife, Princess Kiko.

It was the first time in 15 years that the Crown Princess, who has long struggled with depression, attended the event.

Kazui Tashiro, a 71-year-old professor emeritus at Keio University, gave a lecture on historical trade between Japan and the Korean Peninsula, using written records from the Edo Period (1603 to 1868).

Naoyuki Osaka, 71, a professor emeritus at Kyoto University, spoke about working memory while Akira Fujishima, 75, president of Tokyo University of Science, presented a lecture on solar energy and photocatalysis.

According to the Imperial Household Agency the Crown Princess will not attend this year’s new year poetry reading ceremony, set to be held on Friday, as the length of the event and the required gestures could be a strain on her.

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