May 12, 2016
In the spring garden party the emperor and
empress (left) talk to each invited person (right).
The spring garden party hosted by the emperor and empress was held at Akasaka Imperial Garden in Tokyo on April 27. There was an interesting dialogue with their Majesties and an actress, Kuroyanagi Tetsuko.
Emperor: "I remember we met you during the performance of the National Theatre of the Deaf (NTD) from the U.S."
Kuroyanagi: "I was very happy to welcome you."
Emperor: "How many years ago then?"
Kuroyanagi: "It has been already about 30 years ago."
It was in 1979 when their Majesties who were Prince and Princess at that time appreciated NTD's performance,
Those days it was assumed to be embarrassed to show sign language in the public. Kuroyanagi invited the theatre group from the U.S., because she wanted people to see the artistic wonderful acting of persons with disability. She also performed with the group, too.
Their Majesties who were Prince and Princess saw the performance. Princess Michiko visited the greenroom and described impressions, "I was moved really." She spoke to each actor. When the performance was reported, reputation that the sign language was nice spread, and sign language classes started nationwide. Kuroyanagi spoke to coverage in the past, "One of Empress Michiko's great achievements was to spread sign language across Japan."