Prince Mikasa (三笠宮崇仁親王 Mikasa-no-miya Takahito Shinnō , born 2 December 1915) is a member of the Imperial House of Japan. He is the fourth and youngest son of Emperor Taishō and Empress Teimei, and is the only surviving paternal uncle of Emperor Akihito. His eldest brother was Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito). With the death of his sister-in-law, Princess Takamatsu (Kikuko), on 17 December 2004, he became the oldest living member of the Imperial House of Japan. After serving as a junior cavalry officer in the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II, the prince embarked upon a postwar career as a scholar and part-time lecturer in Middle Eastern studies and Semitic languages.
Prince Takahito was born at the Tokyo Imperial Palace, in the third year of his father's reign and a full fifteen years after the birth of the future Shōwa emperor. His childhood appellation was Sumi no miya. Prince Takahito attended the boys' elementary and secondary departments of the Gakushuin (Peers' School) from 1922 to 1932. By the time he began his secondary schooling, his eldest brother had already ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne and his next two brothers, Prince Chichibu and Prince Takamatsu, had already embarked upon careers in the Japanese Imperial Army and the Japanese Imperial Navy, respectively. He enrolled in the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1932 and was commissioned as a sub-lieutenant and assigned to the Fifth Cavalry Regiment in June 1936. He subsequently graduated from the Army Staff College.
Upon attaining the age of majority in December 1935, Emperor Shōwa granted him the title Mikasa-no-miya (Prince Mikasa) and the authorization to form a new branch of the Imperial Family.
Prince Mikasa was promoted to lieutenant (first class) in 1937; to captain in 1939; and to major in 1941.
According to Daniel Barenblatt, Prince Mikasa received, with Prince Tsuneyoshi Takeda, a special screening by Shirō Ishii of a film showing airplanes loading germ bombs for bubonic plague dessemination over the Chinese city of Ningbo in 1940.
Prince Mikasa served as a staff officer in the Headquarters of the China Expeditionary Army at Nanjing, China from January 1943 to January 1944. His role was intended to bolster the legitimacy of the Wang Jingwei regime and to coordinate with Japanese Army staff towards a peace initiative, but his efforts were totally undermined by the Operation Ichi-Go campaign launched by the Imperial General Headquarters.
In 1994, a newspaper revealed that after his return to Tokyo, he wrote a stinging indictment of the conduct of the Imperial Japanese Army in China, where the Prince had witnessed Japanese atrocities against Chinese civilians. The Army General Staff suppressed the document, but one copy survived and surfaced in 1994.
Prince Mikasa served as a staff officer in the Army Section of the Imperial General Headquarters in Tokyo until Japan's surrender in August 1945. After the end of the war, the Prince spoke before the Privy Council, urging that Hirohito abdicate to take responsibility for the war.
On 22 October 1941, Prince Mikasa married Yuriko Takagi (4 June 1923 – present), the second daughter of the late Viscount Masanori Takagi. Prince and Princess Mikasa have five children, of whom three are still living. The couple's two daughters left the Imperial Family upon marriage:
- Yasuko Konoe (née HIH Princess Yasuko of Mikasa (甯子内親王 Yasuko Naishinno , born 26 April 1944 ); married 16 December 1966 to Mr. Tadateru Konoe, younger brother of former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa and adopted grandson (and heir) of former Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe, currently President of the Japanese Red Cross Society; has a son named, Tadahiro.
- HIH Prince Tomohito of Mikasa (寬仁親王 Tomohito Shinnō , 5 January 1946 - 6 June 2012 (aged 66)); heir apparent; married 7 November 1980 to Miss Nobuko Asō (born 9 April 1955), third daughter of the late Mr. Takakichi Asō, chairman of Aso Cement Co., and his wife, Kazuko, the daughter of former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida; had two daughters.
- HIH Prince Katsura (Yoshihito) (宜仁親王 Yoshihito Shinnō , born 11 February 1948 ); created Katsura-no-miya, 1 January 1988.
- Masako Sen (née HIH Princess Masako of Mikasa (容子内親王 Masako Naishinnō , born 23 October 1951 ); married 14 October 1983 to Mr. Soshitsu Sen (born 7 June 1956), the elder son of Sen Shoshitu XV, and currently the sixteenth hereditary grand master (iemoto) of the Urasenke Japanese Tea Ceremony School; and has two sons, Akifumi and Takafumi, and a daughter, Makiko.
- HIH Prince Takamado (Norihito) (憲仁親王 Norihito Shinnō , 29 December 1954 – 21 November 2002 (aged 47)); created Takamado-no-miya, 1 December 1984; married 6 December 1984 to Miss Hisako Tottori (born 10 July 1953), eldest daughter of Mr. Shigejiro Tottori, former President, Mitsui & Co. in France; and had three daughters.
After the defeat of Japan in World War II, many members of the imperial family, such as Princes Chichibu, Takamatsu and Higashikuni, pressured then Emperor Hirohito to abdicate so that one of the Princes could serve as regent until Crown Prince Akihito came of age. On 27 February 1946, Prince Mikasa even stood up in the privy council and indirectly urged the emperor to step down and accept responsibility for Japan's defeat. U.S. General Douglas MacArthur insisted that Emperor Hirohito retain the throne. According to Minister of Welfare Ashida's diary, "Everyone seemed to ponder Mikasa's words. Never have I seen His Majesty's face so pale."
After the war, Prince Mikasa enrolled in the Literature Faculty of Tokyo University and pursued advanced studies in archeology, Middle Eastern studies, and Semitic languages. Since 1954, he has directed the Japanese Society for Middle East Studies. He is honorary president of the Japan Society of Orientology. The Prince has held visiting and guest faculty appointments in Middle Eastern studies and archeology at various universities in Japan and abroad, including: Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Aoyama Gakuin, Tokyo Woman's Christian University, the University of London, the University of Hokkaido and the University of Shizuoka.
Titles and styles
|Reference style||His Imperial Highness|
|Spoken style||Your Imperial Highness|
- 2 December 1915 – 2 December 1935: His Imperial Highness The Prince Sumi
- 2 December 1935 – present: His Imperial Highness The Prince Mikasa
- Grand Cordon of the Order of the Chrysanthemum
- Sweden : Knight of the Royal Order of the Seraphim (1957)
- Denmark : Knight of the Order of the Elephant (5.3.1957)
- Italy : Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (09/03/1982)
- Honorary President of the Middle Eastern Culture Center in Japan
- Honorary President of the Japan - Turkey Society
- Honorary Vice-President of the Japanese Red Cross Society
|Princess Yasuko of Mikasa||26 April 1944||16 December 1966||Tadateru Konoe||Tadahiro Konoe|
|Prince Tomohito of Mikasa||5 January 1946
died, 6 June 2012
|7 November 1980||Nobuko Asō||Princess Akiko of Mikasa
Princess Yōko of Mikasa
|Prince Katsura||11 February 1948|
|Princess Masako of Mikasa||23 October 1951||14 October 1983||Soshitsu Sen||Akifumi Sen
|Prince Takamado||29 December 1954
died, 21 November 2002
|6 December 1984||Hisako Tottori||Princess Tsuguko of Takamado
Princess Noriko of Takamado
Princess Ayako of Takamado
|Ancestors of Prince Mikasa|
- Bix, Herbert P. Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. Harper Perennial (2001). ISBN 0-06-093130-2
- Daniel Barenblatt, A Plague upon Humanity, 2004, p.32.
- Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, 2000, Page 474
- Tokyo in 1931 Poison Plot, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/tokyo-in-1931-poison-plot-1412180.html
- Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. Page 572
- Bix, ibid, pp. 571–573.
- Ashida Hitoshi Nikki, Dai Ikkan, Iwanami Shoten, 1986, p. 82.
- www.borger.dk, Persondetaljer - Hans Kejserlige Højhed Mikasa
- Italian Presidency, S.A.I. Takahito di Mikasa Principe del Giappone
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Prince Mikasa.|
Prince MikasaBorn: 2 December 1915
|Lines of succession|
The Prince Hitachi
|Line of succession to the Japanese throne
The Prince Katsura
|Order of precedence in Japan|
The Prince Hitachi
HIH The Prince Mikasa
The Prince Katsura