Hirohito's Birthday Wish: Peace

Reporters allowed a brief 15 minutes with Japan's Emperor Hirohito, who has been in ill health, came away with the message for Japan "to pursue peace." Hirohito, who celebrates his 87th birthday today, underwent intestinal surgery last year that many thought he wouldn't survive. But the world's longest-reigning monarch said he is feeling fine and has been busy in his garden. Asked by the Japanese reporters about his memories of World War II, the emperor said: "After all is considered, the war was my most unpleasant memory. I am pleased with people's efforts for peace after the war. Hereafter, I hope the people do not forget this matter and protect peace." The emperor also said he will visit the Japanese prefecture of Okinawa for the first time since the war. An earlier plan for Hirohito to visit the island had Okinawans in an uproar, demanding a formal apology for his role in the war. The trip was canceled because of the surgery.

--A fan of the past, historian Barbara Tuchman says she finds nothing in contemporary novels to win her over. "The behavior is so aberrant and the characters are so unpleasant," Tuchman told 2,000 librarians gathered for a conference in Pittsburgh in explaining why she never reads the works of her fiction-writing contemporaries. "The subjects all seem to be crime, murder, incest. The public, in general, seems only interested in reaching for its daily serving of trash." Tuchman, 76, won a Pulitzer Prize for her books "The Guns of August" and "Stilwell and the American Experience in China."

--A man of the future, Michael Jackson may be starting a new trend in shoes with his interest in an experimental "shoe-boot" in a Ft. Worth boot factory. Jackson, in Dallas for a three-day concert stand, visited the Justin Boot Factory, where the noted animal lover shunned the more exotic animal-skin models and purchased three pairs of cowboy boots in basic black. He then admired a display of the "shoe-boot," which looks like a standard cowboy-style boot except that its top goes only four inches up the calf. Justin Boot executives promised to mail the singing-dancing star a pair.

--Diane Sawyer of "60 Minutes" and director Mike Nichols are making no secret of their marriage today, while a newspaper report has Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson joining in wedlock tonight on Reynolds' farm in Jupiter, Fla. The Boston Herald quoted an unnamed Reynolds friend on the nuptials, but a Reynolds spokesman denied the report.

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