National

Former emperor, empress visit Karuizawa tennis court where they first met in 1957

JIJI

Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko visited on Sunday a tennis court in the town of Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, where they met for the first time in August 1957.

At that time the now retired emperor was the crown prince, and the former empress was a commoner. They married in April 1959.

Currently taking a summer vacation, the couple arrived at the court by car late in the morning and stayed there for about 30 minutes. While there they also met with some old acquaintances.

Both the emperor emeritus and empress emerita looked relaxed, said Seiro Moroto, a senior member of a local tennis club, who attended the Imperial couple.

The couple complemented the play as they watched a match and praised an 89-year-old player in particular for his energetic hits, Moroto said.

Emperor Emeritus Akihito said he has recently been playing table tennis rather than lawn tennis, according to Moroto.

It was the couple’s first visit to the court since the former emperor abdicated at the end of April.

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