Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko celebrate 60 years of marriage

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.