Photo/IllutrationEmperor Akihito reaps rice stalks at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Sept. 12. (Provided by the Imperial Household Agency)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Emperor Akihito on Sept. 12 reaped rice from a small paddy set up in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, the final harvest before his abdication scheduled for the end of April 2019.

Akihito’s father, Emperor Showa (1901-1989), started rice farming in the premises of the palace to reflect upon farmers’ hard work to grow their crops. Akihito later took over the practice.

By hand, Akihito carefully reaped 100 lumps of rice stalks, which he had planted in May.

They are varieties of Nihonmasari, an ordinary rice, and Mangetsumochi, a glutinous rice.