Page last updated at 16:20 GMT, Friday, 10 April 2009 17:20 UK

In pictures: Japan's royal anniversary

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko are greeted by crowds in Tokyo, 10/04

Japan has celebrated the 50th wedding anniversary of the royal couple, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

Akihito and Michiko in ceremonial dress days before their wedding

Their marriage was groundbreaking at the time, with Michiko becoming the first commoner to marry into the imperial family in modern times.

Akihito and Michiko on their wedding day in 1959

Hundreds of thousands lined the streets of Tokyo on their wedding day, and the empress soon became an iconic figure in Japan.

Musicians from the Imperial Guard perform for the imperial couple, Tokyo, 10/04

The anniversary was marked with a performance by the Imperial Guard band, in front of a small gathering of well-wishers.

Well-wishers sign books of congratulation in Tokyo, 10/04

Akihito and Michiko have striven to be closer to the people than previous rulers, who were worshipped as gods.

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