Prince Tomohito of Mikasa

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Prince Tomohito
Prince Tomohito 20030307.jpg
Prince Tomohito of Mikasa on 7 March 2003.
Born (1946-01-05)5 January 1946
Hayama, Kanagawa, Japan
Died 6 June 2012(2012-06-06) (aged 66)
Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
Burial 14 June 2012
Toshimagaoka Imperial Cemetery, Bunkyo, Tokyo
Spouse Nobuko Asō
(m. 1980–2012; his death)
Issue Princess Akiko of Mikasa
Princess Yōko of Mikasa
Full name
Tomohito (寛仁?)
House Imperial House of Japan
Father Takahito, Prince Mikasa
Mother Yuriko, Princess Mikasa
Religion Shinto

Prince Tomohito of Mikasa (寛仁親王 Tomohito Shinnō?, 5 January 1946 – 6 June 2012) was a member of the Imperial House of Japan and the eldest son of Takahito, Prince Mikasa and Yuriko, Princess Mikasa. He was a first cousin of Emperor Akihito, and was formerly sixth in the line of succession to the Japanese throne and the heir apparent to the princely house of Mikasa-no-miya and the title "Prince Mikasa". Prince Tomohito was the first member of the Imperial House of Japan with a full beard since Emperor Meiji, thus earning him the popular nickname of the "Bearded Prince" (ヒゲの殿下 Hige no Denka).[1] He died of cancer on 6 June 2012, aged 66.


Prince Tomohito graduated from the Department of Political Studies in the Faculty of Law of Gakushuin University in 1968. From 1968 – 1970, he studied at Magdalen College, University of Oxford, in the United Kingdom.

Marriage and family[edit]

The Prince became engaged to Miss Nobuko Asō on 21 May 1980. She is the third daughter of the late Takakichi Asō, chairman of Asō Cement Co., and his wife, Kazuko, the daughter of former Prime Minister, Shigeru Yoshida. She is also the sister of former Prime Minister and current Deputy Prime Minister Tarō Asō. The couple married on 7 November 1980. Miss Asō was given the title HIH Princess Tomohito of Mikasa. The Prince and Princess had two daughters:

The family lives in a compound within the Akasaka Estate complex, in Azabo Minato, Tokyo.[2]

Public service[edit]

60th National Sports Festival Hare no Kuni Okayama Kokutai Closing Ceremony at Momotaro Stadium, 27 October 2005.

For the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics, Prince Tomohito served as a committee member on the organizing committee from 1970 – 1972. He was also on the committee for the 1975 Okinawa World Fair.

Prince Tomohito was president and honorary president of various organizations that concerned themselves with cancer research (the Princess Takamatsu Cancer Research Fund), having himself suffered from the disease from 2003, youth education and promotion of international relations. He was also noted for his support of organizations which promoted the welfare of people with physical or mental disabilities through sporting activities, such as ski, bowling, dancing and rugby). He traveled extensively abroad with the princess on charity, and support missions that concerned matters of illness and welfare. The Prince often gave lectures and contributed articles to national newspapers and magazines, and had also authored seven books. In December 1992, the Prince and Princess visited the United States to support a newly established cancer ward in the New York Medical College, and in 1994, visited Hawaii to support the reconstruction of Kuakini Hospital. In February 1994, the Prince and Princess visited Norway to attend the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

In April 1998, the Prince and Princess visited Turkey to attend the opening ceremony of the Turkey-Japan Foundation Cultural Centre. They had previously visited Turkey in 1990 as part of the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of Japan-Turkey relations. The Prince strongly supported the establishment of a Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology at the Middle Eastern Culture Center in Japan, and returned to Turkey again in October 2002, June 2003 and October 2003 leading three groups of benefactors on tours of the heritage of Turkey. In June 1998, Prince Tomohito visited Australia for fundraising activities for a medical science foundation to commemorate the Australian Nobel Prize winner Dr. Howard Walter Florey. In December of the same year, he visited Thailand to attend the 13th Asian Games.

In April 2003, Prince Tomohito visited Norway accompanied by his daughter, Princess Akiko to attend the World Cross Country Ski Championships for the Visually Disabled.

He appeared on the radio as a DJ in his younger days.[3]

Health issues and death[edit]

The Prince was first diagnosed with cancer in 1991, but later went into remission. He was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx in 2003, and immediately began treatment for it. In September 2006, he fractured his jaw, which had been weakened by his chemotherapy treatments. In 2007, the Prince made a public announcement that he was suffering from alcoholism, and was undergoing treatments at the Imperial Household Agency hospital.[4] In March 2008, his cancer spread to his pharynx, and he underwent surgery.[5] Although attempts were made to save his voice, he subsequently suffered from pneumonia caused by his inability to properly swallow food, and was thereafter only able to speak with the aid of a mechanical larynx.

On 6 June 2012, the Prince died from multiple organ failure at a Tokyo hospital, aged 66.[6] He had been hospitalized for some time, as a result of his multiple cancer diagnosis.[7] Around 660 people attended a funeral in Tokyo for Prince Tomohito.[8] The ceremony, called "Renso no Gi", was held at the Toshimagaoka Imperial Cemetery in Bunkyo Ward.[8] It was hosted by his elder daughter, Princess Akiko.[8] Attendees included his younger daughter, Princess Yōko, Crown Prince Naruhito, Crown Princess Masako and other members of the Imperial Family, as well as Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.[8]

In June 2013, the Imperial Household Agency said it has reduced the number of households in the Imperial family by one, following the passing of Prince Tomohito a year ago.[9] The household led by the late Prince has been integrated into the one led by Prince Mikasa. The step was applied retroactively from 6 June last year, the day of the Prince’s demise.[9] As a result, the number of households in the Imperial family dropped to five, excluding those led by Emperor Akihito and Crown Prince Naruhito. The household integration will not change the living arrangements of the three former members of the late Prince’s household or the amount of living expenses they receive from state coffers, agency officials said.[9]

Titles and styles[edit]

Styles of
Prince Tomohito of Mikasa
Mikasa-no-miya mon
Reference style His Imperial Highness
Spoken style Your Imperial Highness
Alternative style Sir
  • 5 January 1946 – 6 June 2012: His Imperial Highness Prince Tomohito of Mikasa


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

National honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]

Honorary degree[edit]

Honorary positions[edit]

  • President of the Social Welfare Organization Yuai Jyuji Kai
  • President of the Arinomama-sha
  • President of the Social Welfare Organization Saiseikai Imperial Gift Foundation Inc.
  • President of the New Technology Development Foundation
  • President of the Princess Takamatsu Cancer Research Fund
  • President of the Nippon Billiard Association
  • President of the Professional Ski Instructors Association of Japan
  • President of the Collegiate Skating And Ice Hockey Federation
  • President of the Japan-Turkey Society
  • President of the Middle Eastern Culture Center in Japan
  • Honorary President of the Japan Rugby Football Union
  • Honorary President of the Japan-British Society
  • Honorary President of the Norway-Japan Society


Name Birth Marriage Issue
Princess Akiko of Mikasa 20 December 1981
Princess Yōko of Mikasa 25 October 1983



  1. ^ [1] New York Times, 20 October 2007
  2. ^ Wikimap of Akasaka Estate
  3. ^ [2] South China Morning Post, 14 January 2006
  4. ^ [3] Herald Tribune, 22 June 2007
  5. ^ [4] Japan News Review 14 March 2008
  6. ^ 三笠宮寛仁さま ご逝去 NHK 15:59 June 6 2012(Japanese)
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b c d "Prince Tomohito's funeral draws 660 luminaries". Japan Times. Archived from the original on 19 July 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c "Prince's 2012 passing reduces Imperial household families by one". Japan Times. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  10. ^ Italian Presidency, S.A.I. Tomohito di Mikasa Principe del Giappone

External links[edit]