Takahito, Prince Mikasa

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Prince Mikasa
Prince Mikasa 2012-1-2.jpg
At the new year congratulatory imperial palace visit. 2 January 2012
Born (1915-12-02) 2 December 1915 (age 100)
Tokyo Imperial Palace, Tokyo City, Japan
Spouse Yuriko Takagi (m. 1941)
Issue Princess Yasuko of Mikasa
Prince Tomohito of Mikasa
Yoshihito, Prince Katsura
Princess Masako of Mikasa
Norihito, Prince Takamado
Full name
Takahito (崇仁?)
House Imperial House of Japan
Father Emperor Taishō
Mother Empress Teimei
Religion Shinto
Japanese Imperial Family
Imperial Seal of Japan.svg

HIH The Prince Mikasa
HIH The Princess Mikasa

Takahito, 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 who is fifth in the line of succession to the Japanese throne. He is the fourth and youngest son of Emperor Taishō and Empress Teimei and is their last surviving child. He is the only surviving paternal uncle of Emperor Akihito. His eldest brother was Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito). With the death of his sister-in-law, Kikuko, Princess Takamatsu, 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.

As a centenarian, Prince Takahito is the oldest living royal, and the oldest living prince in line of succession.[1]

Early life[edit]

Emperor Taishō's four sons in 1921 : Hirohito, Takahito, Nobuhito and Yasuhito

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 Emperor Shōwa. His childhood appellation was Sumi-no-miya. Prince Takahito attended the boys' elementary and secondary departments of the Gakushūin (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.

Military service[edit]

Prince Mikasa in Yokosuka Line in 1946

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.[2] He also was given a film of Japanese atrocities, possibly linked to the footage used in The Battle of China, and was so moved that he made Emperor Hirohito watch the film.[3]

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.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6]


On 22 October 1941, Prince Mikasa married Yuriko Takagi (born 4 June 1923), the second daughter of the late Viscount Masanari Takagi. Prince and Princess Mikasa have five children, of whom two are still living. In addition to their five children, they have nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren as of 2015.[7] The couple's two daughters left the Imperial Family upon marriage:


Princess Yuriko and children.
  • Yasuko Konoe (formerly Princess Yasuko of Mikasa (甯子内親王 Yasuko Naishinno?, born 26 April 1944); married on 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, Tadahiro, who has three children.
  • Prince Tomohito of Mikasa (寬仁親王 Tomohito Shinnō?, 5 January 1946 – 6 June 2012); heir apparent; married on 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.
  • Yoshihito, Prince Katsura (桂宮宜仁親王 Katsura-no-miya Yoshihito Shinnō?, 11 February 1948 – 8 June 2014); created Katsura-no-miya on 1 January 1988.
  • Masako Sen (formerly Princess Masako of Mikasa (容子内親王 Masako Naishinnō?, born 23 October 1951); married on 14 October 1983 to Mr. Soshitsu Sen (born 7 June 1956), the elder son of Sōshitsu Sen 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.
  • Norihito, Prince Takamado (高円宮憲仁親王 Takamado-no-miya Norihito Shinnō?, 29 December 1954 – 21 November 2002); created Takamado-no-miya on 1 December 1984; married on 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.

Post-war career[edit]

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.[8] 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."[9]

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.

Due to his advanced age, Prince Mikasa rarely makes public appearances, and regularly uses a wheelchair. He underwent heart surgery in 2012, and made a full recovery. His routine includes exercising for about 30 minutes each day with his wife at their Tokyo residence, and he often goes outdoors for a walk in his wheelchair. He continues to read newspapers, and enjoys watching sumo and music programs on television. On 2 December 2015, he became the first member of the imperial family to become a centenarian.[note 1] On his 100th birthday, he said, "Nothing will change just because I turn 100 years old. I'd like to spend my days pleasantly and peacefully while praying for the happiness of people around the world and thanking my wife, Yuriko, who has been supporting me for more than 70 years."[10]

The residence of Prince and Princess Mikasa is located within the grounds of the Akasaka Estate in Motoakasaka, Minato, Tokyo.

Titles and styles[edit]

Styles of
Prince Mikasa
Mikasa-no-miya mon
Reference style His Imperial Highness
Spoken style Your Imperial Highness
Alternative style Sir
  • 2 December 1915 – 2 December 1935: His Imperial Highness The Prince Sumi
  • 2 December 1935 – present: His Imperial Highness The Prince Mikasa


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

National honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]

Honorary positions[edit]

  • 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.


Name Birth Marriage Issue
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
Yoshihito, Prince Katsura 11 February 1948
died 8 June 2014
Princess Masako of Mikasa 23 October 1951 14 October 1983 Soshitsu Sen Akifumi Sen
Takafumi Sen
Makiko Sen
Norihito, 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



  1. ^ A cousin, Higashifushimi Kunihide, was 103 at his death in 2014, but had left the imperial family in 1931 to establish a branch of the Higashifushimi-no-miya.



  1. ^ "Prince Mikasa, Emperor Akihito's uncle, turns 100". The Japan Times. 2015-12-02. Retrieved 2015-12-02. 
  2. ^ Daniel Barenblatt, A Plague upon Humanity, 2004, p.32.
  3. ^ 「闇に葬られた皇室の軍部批判」、『This is 読売』、一九九四年八月号57ページ
  4. ^ Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, 2000, Page 474
  5. ^ Tokyo in 1931 Poison Plot, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/tokyo-in-1931-poison-plot-1412180.html
  6. ^ Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, 2000, Page 572
  7. ^ Prince Mikasa grandchildren
  8. ^ Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, 2000, pp. 571–573.
  9. ^ Ashida Hitoshi Nikki, Dai Ikkan, Iwanami Shoten, 1986, p. 82.
  10. ^ "Prince Mikasa, Emperor Akihito's uncle, turns 100". The Japan Times. 2 December 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015. 
  11. ^ www.borger.dk, Persondetaljer - Hans Kejserlige Højhed Mikasa
  12. ^ Badraie
  13. ^ Italian Presidency, S.A.I. Takahito di Mikasa Principe del Giappone
  14. ^ 東伏見慈洽さん死去 天皇陛下の叔父 [Emperor's uncle, Higashifumi Kunihide dies]. Asahi Shimbun Digital (in Japanese). The Asahi Shimbun Company. 1 January 2014. Retrieved 2015-12-02. 


External links[edit]

Takahito, Prince Mikasa
Born: 2 December 1915
Lines of succession
Preceded by
The Prince Hitachi
Line of succession to the Japanese throne
5th position
Last in line
Order of precedence in Japan
Preceded by
The Prince Hitachi
HIH The Prince Mikasa
Succeeded by
Local precedence