Prince Kuni Taka
Prince Kuni Taka (久邇宮多嘉王 Kuni-no-miya Taka-ō?, 17 August 1875 – 1 October 1937) was a member of a collateral branch of the Japanese imperial family, who served as the chief priest (saishu) of the Shinto Grand Shrine of Ise, from 1909 until his death in 1937.
Prince Kuni Taka was born in Kyoto, the fifth son of Prince Kuni Asahiko, a scion of the sesshu shinōke line of Fushimi-no-miya. His mother was Izumitei Shizue, the second daughter of Isumitise Shun'eki, a priest at Kamo Shrine, Kyoto.
Prince Taka came of age at a time when the Meiji oligarchs deemed to politically expedient to sever the historical links between Buddhism and the imperial house; use the emperor and imperial family as symbols of national unity by having them serve in the military; and increase the size of the imperial family by allowing new princely houses to branch out from the Fushimi-no-miya. Prince Taka's career path was somewhat unusual for the late Meiji period in several respects. First, unlike his half-brothers and other princes of that generation, he never held a commission in the military. Second, Emperor Meiji did not direct him to form a new princely family or to descend to peerage status with a kazoku title. Instead, he remained within the imperial family, although his half-brother, Prince Kuni Kunyoshi, succeeded to the Kuni-no-miya title in 1891. Third, while his father and half-brothers moved to the new capital, Tokyo, in 1892, Prince Taka continued to reside in Kyoto, except for a brief period in 1895, when he served a term in the House of Peers.
Marriage & Family
On 9 March 1907, Prince Taka of Kuni married Minase Shizuko ( 1 September 1884 – 27 September 1959), the eldest daughter of Viscount Minase Tadasuki. The prince and princess had five children: two daughters who married into kazoku houses, one son who died in childhood, and two other sons who left the imperial family and received peerages upon adulthood:
Prince Taka became acting grand custodian and chief priest of the Shrines of Ise in September 1909, due to the illness of his half brother, Prince Kuni Kuniyoshi. He assumed the post on a permanent basis following Prince Kuni Kuniyoshi's death.
References and further reading