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With four grandchildren of his own, Emperor Akihito had no problem bringing a smile to the face of one youngster in the Tokyo nursery
Photo: © AFP
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Empress Michiko was also clearly at home with the kiddies, gently encouraging pupils through a stack of building blocks
Photo: © AFP

Imperial couple show off gentle grandparenting skills

10 MAY 2007

More often pictured looking poised and regal while fulfilling official duties, the Emperor and Empress of Japan were snapped showing off a warmer, family oriented side as they joined toddlers at a Japanese nursery school on Thursday. Visiting Tokyo's Yakumo kindergarten Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko cheerfully joined in the fun and games and brought a smile to the faces of many of the young charges.

But then, with four grandchildren ranging in age from eight months to 16 years old, the royal couple must be more than used to playing with little ones; and it showed in their easy manner.

One little boy will have an exciting tale to tell about his day at school after playing with Empress Michiko, who didn't let her elegant suit and handbag get in the way as she gave him a helping hand through some building blocks. Her husband, meanwhile, was busy making friends elsewhere in the nursery, admiring another pupil's carefully put together train track and station.

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