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Emperor, Empress nostalgic on visit to place of first meeting

The Emperor and Empress chat with a tennis player in the Nagano Prefecture city of Karuizawa, where the Imperial Couple met 61 years ago at a tennis tournament, on Aug. 25, 2018. (Mainichi)

KARUIZAWA, Nagano -- Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, who are on a retreat here in Karuizawa, visited the place where they first met 61 years ago: Karuizawa-kai Tennis Court.

The couple waved to tourists and others who had gathered before sitting on a bench. They called out to players around the same generation as them, saying, "Nice shot," and bestowing other words of encouragement.

The Emperor and Empress stayed for about half an hour, and though they themselves did not play, they rejoiced with each other about having been able to visit such a memorable spot, according to a staffer who served as their guide.

The couple met at the tennis court in 1957, where they played against each other in a tennis tournament. They married in April 1959.

(Japanese original by Tomofumi Inagaki, Tokyo Bureau)

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