A biannual garden party hosted by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the Akasaka Imperial Garden in Tokyo had around 2,100 guests including different luminaries from various fields. Guests included Shinya Yamanaka, the Kyoto University professor who won the 2012 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his advanced research on iPS cells, astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, ocean adventurer Kenichi Horie and London Paralympics gold medalist Masae Komiya.
The special guests had the chance to briefly chat with the emperor and the empress and update them on what they have been doing in their respective fields. Yamanaka told them that researchers are working double time to make clinical application of his research possible in the very near future. Hoshide discussed the happenings at his four-month mission at the International Space Station, including the scientific experiments with Japanese killifish and the Aquatic Habitat (AQH) to check on how marine life will adapt in space. Meanwhile Governor Takuya Tasso informed the emperor about developments in moving people affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 from temporary shelters to municipal housing.
While everyone from the Imperial family were in attendance, including Crown Prince Naruhito, Prince Akishino and his wife, notably absent was Crown Princess Masako. She has excused herself from attending the parties since 2003 and a year later, she was officially diagnosed with stress-induced adjustment disorder. She has mostly stayed out of the public eye since then. News reports have come out that she will be attending the coronation of the new Dutch king later this month, her first overseas trip in 11 years.