Emperor, Empress Attend Hokkaido's 150th Anniversary Ceremony

Society

Sapporo, Aug. 5 (Jiji Press)--Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attended on Sunday a ceremony to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Japan's northernmost main island being named Hokkaido.

Representing the ceremony organizers, Hokkaido Governor Harumi Takahashi said, "We'll hand down our invaluable hometown, Hokkaido, to people 50 years and 100 years ahead, with pride in a variety of values and attractions that have been refined by our ancestors over long years."

Local traditional performing arts including by the Ainu ethnic minority were staged, drawing applause from the Imperial couple.

The island, once called Ezo, was named Hokkaido in 1869 by a decree of the Meiji government following a proposal of explorer Takeshiro Matsuura.

Also at the ceremony site, the Emperor and Empress saw the largest complete dinosaur skeleton ever discovered in Japan, found in the Hokkaido town of Mukawa.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press