Photos: The Royal Life of Emperor Akihito (22 photos)

After a nearly 30-year reign, Japan’s Emperor Akihito stepped down today in an abdication ceremony in Tokyo. The 85-year-old monarch is passing the throne to his son, Crown Prince Naruhito, after acknowledging his age and poor health were making it difficult for him to fulfill his duties. Akihito was Japan’s 125th emperor, part of a line of succession that some have traced back more than 2,500 years. Below, a collection of images of Akihito and his wife Michiko through the years, first as Prince and Princess, then Emperor and Empress of Japan.

Japan’s Emperor Akihito walks during a ritual called "Taiirei Tojitsu Kashikodokoro Omae no Gi," a ceremony for the Emperor to report the conduct of the abdication ceremony to the Goddess Amaterasu, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan, on April 30, 2019.
Kyodo / Reuters)


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