Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko on Saturday visited the ancient citadel of Hue in north-central Vietnam, as part of their state visit to the Southeast Asian country from February 28 to March 5.
The Emperor and Empress arrived at the Hue Imperial Citadel in the morning, where they paid visit to several relics and listened to the distinctive royal court music at the Duyet Thi Duong theater.
Located in the north-central Vietnamese province of Thua Thien- Hue, Hue was the former capital of Vietnam under the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 – 1945), which was recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage in 1993.
Many of the palaces and tombs of Nguyen Kings in Hue have been restored with assistance from the Japanese Government worth a total of about US$44.6 million.
The Hue royal court music was recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2003. It was also staged in Japan in the eighth century.
The Emperor and Empress arrive at the Duyet Thi Duong theater. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Following the performance, the Emperor and Empress had a brief talk with the artists.
In the afternoon, the imperial couple visited the memorial house dedicated to Phan Boi Chau, a patriot and initiator of Dong Du movement in early 20th century that encouraged young Vietnamese to study in Japan and seek ways to save the nation.
The movement was an example of the strong ties between Vietnam and Japan at the time.
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko also met with volunteers of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Japanese community in Hue in the evening.
They are scheduled to conclude the five-day visit to Vietnam on Sunday afternoon before heading to Thailand.
The Hue royal court music is performed at the Duyet Thi Duong theater. Photo: Tuoi Tre