Japan's Empress Michiko celebrated her 80th birthday quietly on Monday, having dinner with her close family.
However she also discussed her feelings on reaching 80, the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, and her relationship with the Emperor in written responses to various questions posed on the Imperial Household Agency’s website.
"In the more than 50 years that I have spent by his side, His Majesty has always remained modest and humble, and he has constantly guided me and the children, at times strictly, but always with a generous heart." the empress said of her husband, Emperor Akihito.
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko in 2014
Emperor Akihito celebrated his 80th birthday in 2013 after defying ill health. The pair have been married since 1959.
Speaking of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the empress revealed her thoughts on long-lasting peace: "I think that it is important for us now blessed with peace to aim for an unending peace, and, in Japan and overseas, put together our efforts to pluck away the sprouts of pain and conflict."
She also discussed her own children, adding: "As parents, we tend to think that our children will always be with us, but as the years passed, all three of our children, each having found a partner in life, left our household, one by one.
Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, and their family in 2014
"They are much different in character but all very dear to me. Though I thought I have given each my love and affection and raised them with loving care, I suppose there are probably many things I could have done more."
She finished: "I am grateful, however, that the children have made their own efforts to compensate for my inadequacies and grown into mature adults."
The 80-year-old also discussed her love of nature which she discovered at a young age: "One day a confused moth flew into the laundry room and I recall being stunned by its beauty—during that time the things which left the strongest impression were mostly, for some reason, things to do with living things in nature."