Japan's new emperor, Akihito, likes to eat curry, chooses his own clothes and wants to learn as much as possible about his countrymen, a newspaper says.

Asahi Shimbun said an imperial aide, answering written questions the nationwide newspaper submitted when Akihito was still crown prince, said the emperor also likes to watch news programs on television and reads newspapers before and after meals.Asked how he would share the pains and pleasure of the people, the aide wrote, "He appears set to know as much as possible about the people's livelihood and think of their troubles and joy."

Akihito, 55, became emperor when his father, Emperor Hirohito, died this month at age 87 of intestinal cancer.

Akihito "seldom issues special instructions" for meals, has bread for breakfast and eats traditional foods of the Imperial Palace during Japan's new year celebrations, the Asahi said.

One of his favorite foods is rice and curry, it said.

Akihito has 10 dark-colored or gray suits for various seasons, six sets of blazers with matching trousers, and about 50 ties, some of which he has had for about 30 years, it said.

"He chooses himself which suit to wear each day," and sometimes wears Japanese-style clothes at night, the aide wrote.

The only time Akihito has been seen wearing Japanese-style clothes was at his 1959 wedding. Like his father, who was reputed to have given up traditional Japanese robes after visiting Europe in 1921, Akihito always dresses in Western style.

Akihito apparently is interested in Chinese history. He listed a book about the Silk Road as one of his favorites and "Dun Huang," which is set in northwestern China, as a movie that impressed him, the Asahi said.