Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan

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Prince Naruhito
皇太子徳仁親王
Crown Prince of Japan
Naruhito-2008-2.jpg
Prince Naruhito in Brazil, 18 June 2008
Spouse Masako Owada
Issue
Detail
Aiko, Princess Toshi
Full name
Naruhito (徳仁?)
House Imperial House of Japan
Father Emperor Akihito
Mother Empress Michiko
Born (1960-02-23) 23 February 1960 (age 54)
Imperial Household Agency Hospital, Tokyo, Japan
Religion Shinto
Japanese Imperial Family
Imperial Seal of Japan.svg


HIH The Prince Mikasa
HIH The Princess Mikasa

Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan (皇太子徳仁親王 Kōtaishi Naruhito Shinnō?, born 23 February 1960) is the eldest son of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, which makes him the heir apparent to the Chrysanthemum Throne of Japan.

Early life[edit]

Naruhito in February 1961

Naruhito was born on February 23, 1960 in a makeshift hospital on the grounds of the palace. The prince later quipped, "I was born in a barn inside the moat"[1]

Naruhito's childhood was reported to be happy, and he enjoyed such diverse hobbies as music, mountain climbing, and riding. He played with the children of the royal chamberlain, and he was a fan of the Yomiuri Giants in the Central Baseball League, his favorite player being No. 3-turned-team manager Shigeo Nagashima. One day, Naruhito found the remains of an ancient roadway on the palace grounds, sparking a lifelong fascination with the history of transportation, which would provide the subject of his bachelor's and master's degrees in history.[2] He later said, "I have had a keen interest in roads since childhood. On roads you can go to the unknown world. Since I have been leading a life where I have few chances to go out freely, roads are a precious bridge to the unknown world, so to speak."[3]

In August 1974, when the prince was 14, he was sent to Melbourne, Australia for a homestay. Naruhito's father, then the Crown Prince Akihito, had had a positive experience there on a trip the year before and encouraged his son to go as well.[4] He stayed with the family of businessman Colin Harper.[5] He got along with his host brothers, riding around Point Lonsdale, playing violin and tennis, and climbing Uluru together.[6] Once he even played violin for dignitaries at a state dinner at Government House hosted by Governor-General Sir John Kerr.[7]

Education[edit]

When Naruhito was four years old he was enrolled in the prestigious Gakushuin school system, where many of Japan's elite families and nouveaux riches send their children.[8] In senior high Naruhito joined the geography club.[9]

Naruhito graduated from Gakushuin in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in history.[10] In July of the next year he entered a three-month intensive English course before entering Merton College, Oxford University in England,[11] where he would study until 1986. Naruhito would not, however, submit his thesis A Study of Navigation and Traffic on the Upper Thames in the 18th Century until 1989.[12] He later revisited these years in his book, The Thames and I--a Memoir of Two Years at Oxford. Among his sightseeing destinations were some 21 historic pubs, including the Trout Inn and The White Hart.[13] Naruhito joined the Japan Society and the drama society, and was the honorary president of the karate and judo clubs.[14] He played inter-college tennis, seeding number three out of six on the Merton team,[14] and took golf lessons from a pro.[14] In his three years at Merton he also climbed the highest peaks in the constituent countries of Great Britain: Scotland's Ben Nevis, Wales' Snowdon and Scafell Pike in England.[15]

While at Oxford, Naruhito also was able to go sightseeing across Europe and meet many of its royalty, including the British royal family.[15] The relatively relaxed manners of the British royals amazed him: "Queen Elizabeth II, he noted with surprise, poured her own tea and served the sandwiches."[16] He also went skiing with Liechtenstein's Hans-Adam II, holidayed on Majorca in the Mediterranean with Juan Carlos I, and sailed with Norway's Harald and Sonja and Beatrix of the Netherlands.[17]

Upon his return to Japan, Naruhito would enroll once more in Gakushuin University to earn a master's degree in history, successfully earning his degree in 1988.

Personal life[edit]

Marriage and family[edit]

Marriage[edit]

Naruhito first met Masako Owada at a tea for Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo in November 1986,[18][19] during her studies at the University of Tokyo. The prince was immediately captivated by her,[20] and arranged for them to meet several times over the next few weeks.[21] Because of this they were pursued relentlessly by the press throughout 1987.[22]

Despite the Imperial Household Agency's disapproval of Masako, and despite Masako's traveling to Oxford's Balliol College for the next two years, Naruhito remained interested in Masako. He would go on to propose to her three times before the Imperial Palace announced their engagement on 19 January 1993. The wedding would take place on June 9 the same year at the Imperial Shinto Hall in Tokyo before 800 invited guests, including many of Europe's heads of state and royalty, and an estimated media audience of 500 million people around the world.

After the wedding the couple moved into the Tōgū Palace, on the Akasaka Estate in Minato, Tokyo.

By the time of their marriage, Naruhito's grandfather Emperor Shōwa had died and so on 23 February 1991 Naruhito was invested as the Crown Prince with the title Prince Hiro (浩宮 Hiro-no-miya?)[23]

Succession controversy[edit]

The Crown Prince and Crown Princess have one daughter from their marriage:

Aiko, Princess Toshi (敬宮愛子内親王 Toshi-no-miya Aiko Naishinnō?, born 1 December 2001)

Aiko's birth, which occurred more than eight years after their marriage, sparked lively debate[citation needed] in Japan about whether the Imperial Household Law should be changed from that of agnatic primogeniture to absolute cognatic primogeniture, which would allow a woman to ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne.

In 2005, a government-appointed panel of experts recommended that the Imperial succession law be amended to permit Aiko to rule in her own right, and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi pledged his support. However, the proposal was dropped following the birth of Hisahito, the Emperor's first grandson and Aiko's first cousin.

Hobbies and interests[edit]

Naruhito is interested in water policy and water conservation. In March 2003, in his capacity as honorary president of the Third World Water Forum, he delivered a speech at the forum's opening ceremony titled "Waterways Connecting Kyoto and Local Regions". Visiting Mexico in March 2006, he gave the keynote address at the opening ceremony for the Fourth World Water Forum, "Edo and Water Transport." And in December 2007, he gave a commemorative talk at the opening ceremony for the First Asia-Pacific Water Summit, "Humans and Water: From Japan to the Asia-Pacific Region."[24]

Prince Naruhito now plays the viola, having switched from violin because he thought the latter "too much of a leader, too prominent" to suit his musical and personal tastes.[25] He enjoys jogging, hiking, and mountaineering in his spare time."[7]

Official duties[edit]

Crown Prince Naruhito is an honorary member of the World Commission on Water for the 21st century and patron of the Global Water Partnership, established by the World Bank, the United Nations, and the Swedish Agency of Development.

The prince was a patron of the Japanese Olympic Games Committee until 1998 when he was made a member of the International Olympic Committee. On behalf of the crown, the prince carries out representative duties in Japan and abroad. The prince is also a supporter of the World Organization of the Scout Movement and in 2006 attended the 14th Nippon Jamboree, the Japanese national jamboree organized by the Boy Scout Association of Japan. The crown prince has also been an honorary vice-president of the Japanese Red Cross Society since 1994.[26]

The crown prince was the honorary president of Expo 2005.

On Monday, 9 February 2009, Crown Prince Naruhito left Japan for Vietnam, the first visit to a communist nation for the heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne. During the week-long trip, he met President Nguyễn Minh Triết in Hanoi and visited the ancient city of Huế in central Vietnam, as well as Ho Chi Minh City in the south. The trip marked the 35th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.[27]

In 2012, Naruhito temporarily took charge of his father's duties while Akihito underwent heart bypass surgery.[28]

On 17th June 2014, Crown Prince Naruhito started a weeklong official trip in Switzerland to commemorate the 150th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties. The trip at the invitation of the Switzerland government marked the first official visit to the country by the Crown Prince, who is honorary president of Japan’s celebrations committee.

Selected works[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

Styles of
The Crown Prince of Japan
Imperial Coat of Arms
Reference style His Imperial Highness
Spoken style Your Imperial Highness
Alternative style Sir
  • 23 February 1960 – 23 February 1991: His Imperial Highness The Prince Hiro
  • 23 February 1991 – present: His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince of Japan

Honours[edit]

Standard of the Crown Prince

See also List of honours of the Japanese Imperial Family by country

National honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]

Honorary degree[edit]

Honorary positions[edit]

  • Honorary Vice-President of the Japanese Red Cross Society
  • Honorary President of the United Nations Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation

Issue[edit]

Name Birth Marriage Issue
Aiko, Princess Toshi 1 December 2001

Ancestry[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Hills, Ben. Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne, p. 69.
  2. ^ Hills, Ben. Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne, p. 76.
  3. ^ Hills, Ben. Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne, p. 77.
  4. ^ Hills, Ben (2006). Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne. London; New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin. p. 56. ISBN 1-58542-568-0. OCLC 76074219.
  5. ^ Hills, Ben. Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne, p. 57.
  6. ^ Hills, Ben. Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne, p. 60-61.
  7. ^ a b Hills, Ben. Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne, p. 60.
  8. ^ Hills, Ben. Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne, p. 77-78.
  9. ^ Hills, Ben. Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne, p. 79.
  10. ^ Hills, Ben. Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne, p. 81.
  11. ^ Hills, Ben. Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne, pp. 142-143, 152.
  12. ^ Hills, Ben. Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne, p.144-145
  13. ^ Hills, Ben. Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne, pp. 145-146.
  14. ^ a b c Hills, Ben. Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne, p. 150.
  15. ^ a b Hills, Ben. Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne, p. 151.
  16. ^ Hills, Ben. Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne, pp. 148.
  17. ^ Hills, Ben. Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne, p. 151-152.
  18. ^ http://main.stylelist.com/2011/01/21/great-royal-weddings-princess-masako-and-crown-prince-naruhito/
  19. ^ Hills, Ben. Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne, pp.120.
  20. ^ Hills, Ben. Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne, pp.120-121.
  21. ^ Hills, Ben. Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne, pp.123.
  22. ^ Hills, Ben. Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne, pp.136.
  23. ^ Kunaicho.go.jp, the Imperial Household Agency website, retrieved 4 December 2008
  24. ^ Imperial Household Agency official website, retrieved 4 December 2008
  25. ^ Hills, Ben. Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne, p. 72.
  26. ^ Imperial Household Agency official website, retrieved 4 December 2008
  27. ^ retrieved 10 February 2009
  28. ^ "Japanese Emperor Akihito's heart surgery 'a success'". BBC News. 18 February 2012. 
  29. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question about the Decoration of Honour" (pdf) (in German). p. 1299. Retrieved November 2012. 
  30. ^ Guillaume and Stephanie of Luxembourg’s religious wedding Ceremony, Prince Naruhito, having no Luxembourgish decoration, has worn the ribbon bar of Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold
  31. ^ www.borger.dk, Persondetaljer - Hans Kejserlige Højhed Naruhito
  32. ^ "Cidadãos Estrangeiros Agraciados com Ordens Portuguesas" (in Portuguese). presidencia.pt. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  33. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado
  34. ^ "Noblesse et Royautés" (French), Guests to Victoria of Sweden's wedding, Photo
  35. ^ [1], Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito (2nd L) arrives to join Tonga's crowned monarch, King Siaosi (George) Tupou V, for the Coronation Military Parade in Nuku'alofa on August 2, 2008. (Torsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images)

External links[edit]

Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan
Born: 23 February 1960
Lines of succession
First
Line of succession to the Japanese throne
1st position
Succeeded by
The Prince Akishino
Japanese royalty
Preceded by
Akihito
later became Emperor Akihito
Crown Prince of Japan
23 February 1991 – present
Incumbent
Order of precedence in Japan
Preceded by
The Emperor
Gentlemen
HIH The Crown Prince
Succeeded by
The Prince Akishino