THE Emperor’s birthday is an annual Japanese national holiday which is held on February 23 as His Majesty the Emperor Naruhito was born on that day in 1960. This is the third year that the Japanese people are celebrating this National Day in February since the Accession to the Throne of His Majesty the Emperor Naruhito in 2019. The Japanese spend this day wishing for continued good health and happiness of His Majesty the Emperor and the Imperial Family members.
Message from Ambassador Kazuhiko Koshikawa
“I share the joy of the entire Japanese people as we commemorate today the 62nd birthday of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan. First, I would like to offer my heartfelt sympathy to those affected by Typhoon Odette. In the time of crisis caused by natural disasters and the Covid-19 pandemic, Japan has been with the Philippines every step of the way. We will strive to keep strengthening our cooperative relationship.
Despite the adversity we have been facing, the success of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games brought us a silver lining. We were immensely inspirited by Filipino athletes. Ms. Hidilyn Diaz’s outstanding attainment of the first Olympic gold medal for the Philippines especially deserves my warmest congratulations once again.
The security environment in the Indo-Pacific region is rapidly becoming more testing and uncertain. Given the situation, it is important to maintain close cooperation among like-minded countries bonded by such universal values and principles as freedom, democracy and the rule of law.
The sustainment of the maritime order in the South China Sea is directly connected to protecting our global commons. Thus, Japan highly values the Philippines’ efforts to pursue peaceful settlement of dispute based on international law. The hardships posed by the pandemic rather accentuated our bilateral cooperation. A prominent example is the fulfillment of Japan’s pledge of one trillion yen (roughly P500 billion) to the Philippines within a five-year period. This Japan’s government assistance and private investment contributed to the vitalization of the Philippine economy and society through numerous big-ticket infra-projects, the facilitation of the Mindanao Peace Process, the improvement of healthcare system and the modernization of the Philippines Coast Guard’s maritime law enforcement capacity. I am greatly looking forward to seeing the ongoing Metro Manila Subway and the North-South Commuter Railway projects to improve the living standard of Filipinos.
Our two countries have been heading over to a better future together, and our bond will continue to be immutable. While our two countries have been closely cooperating in various fields as delineated below, it is my sincere hope to further strengthen and broaden our cooperation on matters, for instance, security, such as maritime, green energy, tourism, people-to-people exchanges, including scholars and workers, with the Philippines, a country blessed with young and talented people and thus full of potential.
I would like to conclude my message by sincerely wishing for the continued good health of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan and His Excellency President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and for the everlasting friendship between Japan and the Philippines.”
Message from Consul General Toshihide Kawasaki
"On this day, February 23, His Majesty the Emperor of Japan is celebrating his 62nd birthday. I have the honor to express my heartfelt congratulations to His Majesty on behalf of the Consulate-General of Japan together with all friends in Cebu and Visayas.
We have hoped that we could hold a reception this year as well to celebrate the birthday of His Majesty the Emperor and to enhance our friendship and friendly relations between Japan and Visayas as we used to before the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, regrettably we have decided to refrain from holding the reception this year too due to the current situation of Covid-19 and in view of cooperating with the preventive measures in Cebu. I hope that I could seek your kind understanding on this matter.
With the enthronement of His Majesty the Emperor in May 2019, Japan entered the era of Reiwa. Word of Reiwa includes the meaning of culture coming into being and flourishing when people bring their hearts and minds together in a beautiful manner. Just as the plum blossoms announce the arrival of spring after the harsh cold of winter and bloom splendidly in all their glory, all of us will be able to make our own blossoms come into full bloom, with our hopes for tomorrow.
After two years of suffering from Covid-19 and then Typhoon Odette, Cebu has opened its borders to fully vaccinated international visitors from visa-free countries with the strong hope to revitalize its tourism and economy.
On this wonderful day of the birthday of His Majesty the Emperor, I would like to offer my sincere wishes for the peace of His Majesty the Emperor’s reign and the prosperity of the Imperial Family, while hoping that the current Covid-19 pandemic will be over as soon as possible and that we can have a brilliant and hopeful spring.”
Message from Hon. Governor Gwendolyn Garcia
“His Majesty the Emperor, please accept my warmest greetings and heartfelt congratulations on the occasion of your 62nd birthday and Japan’s National Day. I convey only best wishes for your continued good health and welfare of your country and its people.
The significance of the Strategic Partnership of both our countries has always been anchored on collaboration and cooperation under shared universal values that include freedom, democracy and an open economy. This partnership paved the way for a more meaningful relationship with Cebu when Japan supported and assisted us during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Again, I send my congratulations to His Majesty and the people of Japan on the occasion of your birthday and National Day.”
Message from Hon. Secretary Michael Dino
"Your Imperial Majesty, I would like to express my warmest congratulations, and those of the people of Visayas, on your upcoming 62nd birthday and Japan’s National Day. Please accept my best wishes for your well-being and longevity. May this day bring the people of Japan closer than ever before, united in prosperity, peace and understanding.
We hold closely to our hearts the friendship of both our countries, the Philippines and Japan, as we continue our bilateral relations that have expanded over the years with international solidarity as our guiding principle.
We in the Visayas also look forward to more collaborations with Japan in our region, thereby creating more opportunities for our people to work together and develop mutually advantageous partnerships that would boost our trade and economic relations.
As a model for risk reduction and disaster resiliency, Japan has been at the forefront in our global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change as well. We also welcome opportunities for collaboration in these areas where mutually beneficial exchanges would mean the paramount safety, productivity and prosperity of our people.
Once again, please accept my congratulations to you on your 62nd birthday. Peace and happiness to the people of Japan on its National Day."
Gagaku (Japanese Imperial Court Music and Dance)
Gagaku is a type of music, strongly influenced by continental Asian antecedents, which has been performed at the Japanese imperial court for more than a millennium. Gagaku is made up of three bodies of musical pieces: togaku, said to be in the style of the Chinese Tang Dynasty (618–907); komagaku, said to have been transmitted from the Korean peninsula; and music of native composition associated with rituals of the Shinto religion. Also included in gagaku are a small number of regional Japanese folk songs, called saibara, which have been set in an elegant court style. An extensive collection of musical styles was transmitted to Japan from the Asian continent during the Nara period (710–794). In the Heian period (794–1185), these were ordered into two divisions, togaku and komagaku, and performed at court by nobles and by professional musicians belonging to hereditary guilds. With the rise of military rulers in the Kamakura period (1185–1333), gagaku performances at court languished but the tradition was preserved in the mansions of the aristocracy and by three guilds of musicians situated in Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka. Following the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the guild musicians were assembled in the new capital of Tokyo. The musicians who serve today in the Imperial Palace Music Department are, for the most part, direct descendants of members of the guilds formed in the 8th century. SPONSORED CONTENT
His Majesty the Emperor Naruhito and wife Empress Masako
His Majesty the Emperor Naruhito
Ambassador Kazuhiko Koshikawa
Consul General Toshihide Kawasaki
Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia
Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia with Emperor Naruhito
Secretary Michael Dino
Secretary Michael Dino with Emperor Naruhito
February 22, 2022
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