Empress Michiko of Japan, 84, has become an honorary member of the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany. She was invited to become a member by Dr Christiane Raabe, it’s Director, due to the Empress’s “thoughts about books and about the people bringing children and books together.”
The Imperial Household Agency made the announcement on 1 February saying, “Her Majesty the Empress has been requested by Dr Christiane Raabe, the Director of the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany, to become an honorary member of the International Youth Library. After due consideration by the Imperial Household Agency, it has been decided that Her Majesty will accept the request.”
They added, “On the occasion of Her Majesty’s overseas visits, the Empress has taken time in between Her official duties to visit children’s libraries in cities such as Paris, Washington, D.C., Toronto, Curitiba etc. In 1993, Her Majesty visited the International Youth Library in Munich and met with authors, illustrators, and the library staff.”
“In view of Her Majesty’s long-standing involvement with children’s literature, the Imperial Household Agency has decided to transmit the request to Her Majesty who accepted this honour with surprise and pleasure, and Her Majesty will accept the request by the International Youth Library and become its honorary member…The other two persons to have become an honorary member of the library in the past are Erich Kastner (1899-1974), one of the most famous German authors after World War II, and the late Astrid Lindgren (1907-2002), the Swedish author of children’s literature, best known for her Pippi Longstocking series,” they concluded.
Honorary membership of the International Youth Library does not require any obligations and is only symbolic. Her Imperial Majesty, a literature lover, will be the third person to accept an honorary membership with the library.