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Imperial couple celebrate 40th wedding anniversary

Date Posted: 1999-04-16

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary Saturday with a concert at the Imperial Palace. The couple's three children and their families also attended the ceremony.

In April 1959, then Crown Prince Akihito broke with tradition by marrying Michiko Shoda, a commoner. His two sons, Crown Prince Naruhito, 39, and Prince Akishino, 33, also followed in their father's footsteps by marrying outside the imperial line. The couple have one daughter, 29-year-old Princess Nori.

Akihito became emperor in 1989 after the death of his father, Hirohito, who reigned for more than six decades during the Showa period that started with his succession in 1926.

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