Tag Archives: Crown Prince Naruhito

Principals of Elementary Schools

On 15th February, HIH Crown Prince Naruhito met with the representatives of principals of elementary schools at Crown Prince Residence.

Photo from Sankei


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Imperial New Year’s Poetry Reading

On 12th January, the members of Imperial Family attended the Ceremony of the Utakai Hajime (Imperial New Year’s Poetry Reading) took place at Imperial Palace.

Waka Poems by Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress and Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Princess

Text from Imperial Household Agency

Theme for the New Year’s Poetry Reading (2018) : GO (WORD)

His Majesty the Emperor

In the garden
Conversing with each other
On our morning walk
We come across in the woods
Blossoms of kinran* blooming.

(Background of the poem)
Their Majesties the Emperor and the Empress take a stroll together in the garden of the Imperial Residence early every morning as part of Their daily routine. On Sundays, They go as far as the East Gardens and walk around the gardens of Ninomaru and Honmaru. In this poem, His Majesty recalls seeing kinran in the course of Their walk in the springtime in the grove of the Ninomaru garden.

*Kinran, or helleborine, Cephalanthera falcata, is a woodland orchid, with small yellow flowers, which blooms from mid-April to mid-May.

*Honmaru is the site of the main compound of the Edo Castle.

*Ninomaru is the site of another compound on the east side of Honmaru, where a garden was laid out, using surface soil brought from a grove in the suburbs of Tokyo. The soil contained the seeds and roots of plants, insect eggs and soil organisms, which explains the existence of kinran in the Ninomaru Grove.

Her Majesty the Empress

On Your shoulders
Pours the early spring sunlight
Softly and gently
O, such a heavy burden
You bore, saying so little.

(Background of the poem)
His Majesty the Emperor has devoted Himself over the years to pursuing His life as the symbol of the state, fulfilling His heavy responsibilities quietly as a matter of course, without saying much. In this poem, Her Majesty the Empress expresses how, beholding His Majesty standing in the warm sunlight of early spring, She reflected on the path His Majesty has followed until now.

His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince

I prayed for the happiness of the people
who had settled down in the reconstructed homes,
Listening to them talk of their lives after the disaster

(Background of the poem)
His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince, together with Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess, visited Yuriage Chuo Daiichi Danchi (the central apartment complex No.1) in the Yuriage area of Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture, in November 2017. There, Their Imperial Highnesses received a briefing on the situation of the reconstruction after the Great East Japan Earthquake, such as the progress in the construction of public housing for the disaster victims. Then they conversed with the people affected by the disaster who had moved into the new public housing.
His Imperial Highness was relieved to hear that the reconstruction work had made steady progress, and the environment for the disaster affected people to live in peace had been improving. This poem depicts His Highness’s thoughts over the hardships of the people who suffered from the disaster and his sincere prayer for the happiness of each of them in their days ahead.

Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess

How relieved was I
To hear hopeful words
Coming from the people
in their new homes in Yuriage

(Background of the poem)
Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess, together with His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince, visited the disaster affected areas in Miyagi prefecture last November. The Yuriage area in Natori City, which was severely damaged by the tsunami, was one of these places. During the visit, she felt relieved to hear words of hope from the people who had moved into new public housing where their living environment is improving, helping them to find new hope for the future.
This waka poem was composed to express her feelings at the time, recalling the hardships that many people had to endure after the great earthquake and tsunami, and wishing for further reconstruction of the area.

Photo from Nikkei and Mainichi


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Imperial New Year’s Lectures

On 10th January, the members of Imperial Family attended the Ceremony of Kosho Hajime (Imperial New Year’s Lectures) took place at Imperial Palace.

This is a ceremony in which Their Majesties listen to experts’ explanations in the fields of human, social and natural sciences in their respective field.

The Ceremony of the Kousho Hajime was instituted in 1869 with a “lecture for the New Year” designed for the enlightenment of studies by Emperor Meiji. In those early days, lectures concentrated on Japanese and Chinese texts, and subsequently came to include western texts. From 1953 the explanations in the above-mentioned three fields came to be instituted.

It was the first time for HIH Crown Princess Masako to attend the Ceremony since 2003.

Photo from Asahi

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New Year’s Greeting

On 2nd January, HM Emperor Akihito and the other members of Imperial Family appeared 5 times at People’s Greeting of New Year at Imperial Palace. About 126,720 people gathered at Imperial Palace and it is the largest number of the visitors during the reign of HM Emperor Akihito (1989-).

HIH Crown Princess Masako

HIH Princess Mako

HIH Princess Mako, HIH Princess Yuriko, HIH Princess Nobuko, HIH Princess Akiko

HIH Princess Yuriko stood up from her wheelchair

Photo from Asahi1 and 2

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New Year’s Celebration

On 1st January 2018, the members of Imperial Family attended the Ceremony of New Year’s Celebration took place at Imperial Palace.

It is the ceremony that Their Majesties Emperor and Empress receive greetings from the other members of Imperial Family; the Speaker and Vice-Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President and Vice-President of the House of Councillors; Diet members; the Prime Minister; Ministers of State; the Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court; other government officials with Imperial attestation; Administrative Vice-Ministers of Ministries and Agencies and other leading figures of legislative, executive and judicial organs; prefectural governors and chairpersons of prefectural assemblies; and heads of diplomatic missions to Japan and their spouses. This ceremony is considered a state event.

It is the last time for HIH Princess Mako to attend the ceremony before her marriage.

HIH Crown Princess Masako and HIH Princess Aiko also visited Imperial Palace to greet Their Majesties.

Photo from Asahi

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Celebration of the Emperor’s Birthday

On 23rd December, the ceremonies to celebrate the 84th birthday of HM Emperor Akihito took place at Imperial Palace.

Greeting the Public


Tea Party with the ambassadors

Photo from Asahi1, 2 and 3

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Luncheon for the Cabinet

On 21st December, HM Emperor Akihito held the luncheon for the ministers and vice ministers of the Cabinet at Imperial Palace. HIH Crown Prince Naruhito also attended the luncheon.

Photo from Asahi

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Crown Princess Masako turns 54

On 9th December, HIH Crown Princess Masako turned 54 years old.

Crown Princess Masako feels ‘sense of awe’ about her future

Text from Japan Times

Crown Princess Masako, who has long struggled with depression, vowed on her 54th birthday Saturday to continue efforts to fulfill her duties, as she is now set to become empress in May 2019.

“When I think about the future, I feel a sobering sense of awe,” she said in a statement, referring to Friday’s Cabinet decision finalizing April 30, 2019, as the day Emperor Akihito will relinquish the Chrysanthemum Throne.

Crown Prince Naruhito, Emperor Akihito’s eldest son, will ascend the throne the next day.

“Following … the Emperor and Empress as my guide, I will step up efforts to be able to fulfill my duties while supporting” my husband, she said.

The Harvard- and Oxford-educated former diplomat is still suffering from a stress-related illness but has shown signs of recovery in recent years, appearing in public more frequently.

According to the Imperial Household Agency, the Crown Princess took part in 64 public duties and Imperial rites that required her to leave her residence over the past year. That’s the most since 2012, when such data became available.

This year, the Crown Princess attended both biannual Imperial garden parties and traveled to regional cities six times.

“I am thankful and glad that things that I can perform increased gradually,” she said.

In 2004, the Imperial Household Agency said the Crown Princess was diagnosed with “adjustment disorder.” According to her medical team, she is recovering but still has ups and downs. Noting that excessive expectations could lead to pressure, the team wants the public to understand that attention will likely grow over how she will respond to becoming empress.

Emperor Akihito, 83, who ascended the throne in 1989, and Empress Michiko, 83, have often traveled to disaster-hit areas to comfort survivors. They have also made trips to World War II battlefields overseas to pay tribute to those who lost their lives. Japan fought the war in the name of Emperor Akhito’s father, Emperor Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa.

“I would like to pay my heartfelt respects and gratitude to the past conduct” of the Imperial Couple, the Crown Princess said. She also said she was “deeply grateful” for the Imperial Couple’s “warm support” and the opportunity to learn from them over the years.

Looking back over the past year, the Crown Princess expressed sympathy for those affected by natural disasters, including the flooding in Kyushu in July, as well as those still enduring hardship caused by the massive March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku.

Regarding her only child, Princess Aiko, the Crown Princess said the 16-year-old seems to be enjoying high school with her friends.

“I want her to make various experiences and grow further while keeping in mind the importance of having a grateful and caring heart.”

The Crown Princess gave up a career as a diplomat in 1993 to marry the Crown Prince. She gave birth to Princess Aiko in 2001 but continued to face pressure to produce a male heir as law stipulates that only males born to the male lineage of the Imperial family can ascend the throne.

Photo from Asahi1 and 2

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Supporting Disabled

On 5th December, HIH Crown Prince Naruhito and HIH Crown Princess Masako attended the commendation ceremony for supporting the Disabled took place in Tokyo after the Week for Persons with Disabilities in Japan (3rd December to 9th December).

Photo from Tokyo Shimbun and Jiji

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Princess Aiko turns 16

On 1st December, HIH Princess Aiko turned 16 years old.

On 16th birthday, Princess Aiko says she’s enjoying school life and growing into Imperial role

Text from Japan Times

As Princess Aiko turned 16 on Friday, the only child of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako was said to be enjoying high school life and striving to better fulfill her role as a member of the Imperial family.

Over the past year, she has accompanied her parents on official duties and met members of foreign royal families. Her health has improved since last fall, when she appeared fatigued.

During a holiday in May, the princess showed strong interest watching a game of wheelchair basketball with her parents.

She also accompanied her parents’ greeting of Swedish Crown Princess Victoria, Danish Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary, as well as Bhutan Princess Sonam Dechan Wangchuck during their visits to Japan, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

On the anniversaries of Japan’s surrender in World War II and the Great East Japan Earthquake, the princess observed moments of silence. She also listened to her parents’ accounts of their visit to disaster-hit Miyagi Prefecture in November.

The princess has attended Gakushuin Girls’ Senior High School since April, after graduating from the junior high school located on the same campus in Tokyo.

Due to fatigue, she was absent from junior high school for a six-week period last year, but her condition has improved over the past year, according to the agency.

The princess does not engage in any club activities, but was active in athletic meets and cultural festivals. She often talks to her parents about her school life, the agency said.

Princess Aiko is not eligible to ascend the throne, which is restricted to males under the Imperial House Law.

Photo from Asahi

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