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Emperor Naruhito at TICAD7 (cropped).jpg
Emperor of Japan
Reign1 May 2019 – present
Predecessor Akihito
Heir presumptive Fumihito
Prime Minister Shinzō Abe
(1960-02-23) 23 February 1960 (age 59)
Imperial Household Agency Hospital, Tokyo Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan
Masako Owada (m. 1993)
Issue Aiko, Princess Toshi
Era name and dates
Reiwa: 1 May 2019 – present
House Imperial House of Japan
Father Akihito
Mother Michiko Shōda
Religion Shinto

Naruhito(徳仁, pronounced  [naɾɯçi̥to] ; born 23 February 1960) is the Emperor of Japan. He acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne on 1 May 2019, beginning the Reiwa era, following the abdication of his father, Emperor Akihito. [1] He is the 126th monarch according to Japan's traditional order of succession.

Emperor of Japan Head of state of Japan

The Emperor of Japan is the head of the Imperial Family and the head of state of Japan. Under the 1947 constitution, he is defined as "the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people." Historically, he is also the highest authority of the Shinto religion. In Japanese, the emperor is called Tennō (天皇), literally "heavenly sovereign". In English, the use of the term Mikado for the emperor was once common, but is now considered obsolete.

Chrysanthemum Throne Throne of the Emperor of Japan

The Chrysanthemum Throne is the throne of the Emperor of Japan. While the term is often used as a metonym for the monarchy of Japan, the term also can refer to very specific seating, such as the Takamikura (高御座) throne in the Shishin-den at Kyoto Imperial Palace.

Reiwa Era of Japanese history, starting 1 May 2019

Reiwa is the current era of Japan. It began on 1 May 2019, the day on which Emperor Akihito's elder son, Naruhito, ascended the throne as the 126th Emperor of Japan. The day before, then-Emperor Akihito abdicated the Chrysanthemum Throne, marking the end of the Heisei era. The year 2019 corresponds with Heisei 31 from 1 January through 30 April, and with Reiwa 1 from 1 May. Reiwa is interpreted as "beautiful harmony".



In Japan, the Emperor is never referred to by his given name, but rather is referred to as "His Majesty the Emperor"(天皇陛下,Tennō Heika) which may be shortened to "His Majesty"(陛下,Heika). [2] In writing, the Emperor is also referred to formally as "The Reigning Emperor"(今上天皇,Kinjō Tennō). The era of Naruhito's reign bears the name " Reiwa "(令和), and according to custom he will be renamed Emperor Reiwa(令和天皇,Reiwa Tennō, see "posthumous name") by order of the Cabinet after his death. The name of the next era under his successor will be established after his death or before his abdication. [3]

Japanese era name first of the two elements (second being a number) that identify years in the Japanese era calendar scheme

The Japanese era name, also known as gengō (元号), is the first of the two elements that identify years in the Japanese era calendar scheme. The second element is a number which indicates the year number within the era, followed by the literal "nen (年)" meaning "year".

A posthumous name is an honorary name given to royalty, nobles, and sometimes others, in East Asia after the person's death, and is used almost exclusively instead of one's personal name or other official titles during their life. The posthumous name is commonly used when naming royalty of China, Korea, Vietnam, and Japan.

The Cabinet of Japan is the executive branch of the government of Japan. It consists of the Prime Minister, who is appointed by the Emperor after being designated by the National Diet, and up to nineteen other members, called Ministers of State. The Prime Minister is designated by the Diet, and the remaining ministers are appointed and dismissed by the Prime Minister. The Cabinet is collectively responsible to the Diet and must resign if a motion of no confidence is adopted by the Diet.

Early life

Naruhito in February 1961 Naruhito19610204.jpg
Naruhito in February 1961

Naruhito was born on 23 February 1960 at 4:15 p.m. in the Imperial Household Agency Hospital in Tokyo Imperial Palace. [4] As a prince, he later quipped, "I was born in a barn inside the moat". [5] His mother is a convert to Shinto from Roman Catholicism. Before Naruhito's birth, the announcement of the then Crown Prince Akihito's engagement and marriage to Michiko Shōda (later Empress Michiko) had drawn opposition from traditionalist groups, because Michiko came from a Roman Catholic family. [6] Although she was never baptized, she was educated in Catholic schools and seemed to share the faith of her parents. Rumors also speculated that Empress Kōjun had opposed the engagement. After the death of Naruhito's paternal grandmother Empress Kōjun in 2000, Reuters reported that she had been one of the strongest opponents of her son's marriage, and that in the 1960s, she had driven her daughter-in-law and grandchildren to depression by persistently accusing her of not being suitable for her son. [7]

Tokyo Imperial Palace main residence of the Emperor of Japan

The Tokyo Imperial Palace is the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan. It is a large park-like area located in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo and contains buildings including the main palace, the private residences of the Imperial Family, an archive, museums and administrative offices.

Shinto Ethnic religion of Japan

Shinto or kami-no-michi is the ethnic religion of Japan that focuses on ritual practices to be carried out diligently to establish a connection between present-day Japan and its ancient past.

Catholic Church in Japan the practice of Latin Catholicism in the eastern island nation of Japan

The Catholic Church in Japan is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the pope in Rome. In 2005, there were approximately 509,000 Catholics in Japan—just under 0.5% of the total population, and by 2014, there were around 440,000 Japanese Catholics. There are 16 dioceses, including three archdioceses, with 1589 priests and 848 parishes in the country. The bishops of the dioceses form the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan, the episcopal conference of the nation.

Naruhito's childhood was reported to be happy, and he enjoyed activities such as mountain climbing, riding and learning the violin. He played with the children of the royal chamberlain, and he was a fan of the Yomiuri Giants in the Central League, his favorite player being No. 3, later team manager, Shigeo Nagashima. One day, Naruhito found the remains of an ancient roadway in the palace grounds, sparking a lifelong fascination with the history of transportation, which would provide the subject of his bachelor's and master's degrees in history. [8] He later said, "I have had a keen interest in roads since childhood. On roads you can go to the unknown world. Since I have been leading a life where I have few chances to go out freely, roads are a precious bridge to the unknown world, so to speak." [9]

Yomiuri Giants Nippon Professional Baseball team in the Central League

The Yomiuri Giants are a professional baseball team based in Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan. The team competes in the Central League in Nippon Professional Baseball. They play their home games in the Tokyo Dome, opened in 1988. The team's owner is the Yomiuri Group, a media conglomerate which includes two newspapers and a television network.

Central League Nippon Professional Baseball league

The Central League or Ce League is one of the two professional baseball leagues that constitute Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. The winner of the league championship plays against the winner of the Pacific League in the annual Japan Series. It currently consists of six teams from around the country. Unlike the Pacific League, designated hitters are not used during Central League home games.

Shigeo Nagashima Japanese baseball player

Shigeo Nagashima is a Japanese former professional baseball player and manager.

In August 1974, when the prince was 14, he was sent to Melbourne, Australia, for a homestay. Naruhito's father, then the Crown Prince Akihito, had had a positive experience there on a trip the year before, and encouraged his son to go as well. [10] He stayed with the family of businessman Colin Harper. [11] He got along with his host brothers, riding around Point Lonsdale, playing the violin and tennis, and climbing Uluru together. [12] Once he even played the violin for dignitaries at a state dinner at Government House hosted by Governor-General Sir John Kerr. [13]

Melbourne City in Victoria, Australia

Melbourne is the capital and most populous city of the Australian state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Its name refers to an urban agglomeration of 2,080 km2 (800 sq mi), comprising a metropolitan area with 31 municipalities, and is also the common name for its city centre. The city occupies much of the coastline of Port Phillip bay and spreads into the hinterlands towards the Dandenong and Macedon ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley. It has a population of 5 million, and its inhabitants are referred to as "Melburnians".

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.

Point Lonsdale Town in Victoria, Australia

Point Lonsdale is a coastal township on the Bellarine Peninsula, near Queenscliff, Victoria, Australia. The town is divided between the Borough of Queenscliffe and the City of Greater Geelong. Point Lonsdale is also one of the headlands which, with Point Nepean, frame The Rip, the entrance to Port Phillip. The headland is dominated by the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse. At the 2016 census, Point Lonsdale had a population of 2,684. The population grows rapidly over the Summer months through to the Easter period as it is a hot holiday destination.


Naruhito in 1990 6lybn.jpg
Naruhito in 1990

When Naruhito was four years old he was enrolled in the prestigious Gakushūin school system, where many of Japan's elite families and narikin (nouveaux riches) send their children. [14] In senior high, Naruhito joined the geography club. [15]

Gakushūin school

The Gakushūin (学習院) or Peers School, also known as Gakushūjo, is a Japanese educational institution in Tokyo, originally established to educate the children of Japan's nobility. Gakushuin is composed of the Kindergarten, Elementary School, Middle School, High School, and University.

Nouveau riche is a term, usually derogatory, to describe those whose wealth has been acquired within their own generation, rather than by familial inheritance. The equivalent English term is the "new rich" or "new money". Sociologically, nouveau riche refers to the person who previously had belonged to a lower social class and economic stratum (rank) within that class; and that the new money, which constitutes his or her wealth, allowed upward social mobility and provided the means for conspicuous consumption, the buying of goods and services that signal membership in an upper class. As a pejorative term, nouveau riche affects distinctions of type, the given stratum within a social class; hence, among the rich people of a social class, nouveau riche describes the vulgarity and ostentation of the newly rich man or woman who lacks the worldly experience and the system of values of "old money", of inherited wealth, such as the patriciate, the nobility and the gentry.

Naruhito graduated from Gakushuin University in March 1982 with a Bachelor of Letters degree in history. [16] In July 1983 he entered a three-month intensive English course before entering Merton College, Oxford University, in the United Kingdom, [17] where he studied until 1986. Naruhito did not, however, submit his thesis A Study of Navigation and Traffic on the Upper Thames in the 18th Century until 1989. [18] He later revisited these years in his book, The Thames and I a Memoir of Two Years at Oxford. He visited some 21 historic pubs, including the Trout Inn. [19] Naruhito joined the Japan Society and the drama society, and became the honorary president of the karate and judo clubs. [20] He played inter-college tennis, seeded number three out of six on the Merton team, [20] and took golf lessons from a pro. [20] In his three years at Merton he also climbed the highest peaks in three of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom: Scotland's Ben Nevis, Wales' Snowdon and Scafell Pike in England. [21]

While at Oxford, Naruhito also was able to go sightseeing across Europe and meet much of its royalty, including the British royal family. [21] The relatively relaxed manners of the United Kingdom's royals amazed him: "Queen Elizabeth II, he noted with surprise, poured her own tea and served the sandwiches." [22] He also went skiing with Liechtenstein's Prince Hans-Adam II, holidayed in Mallorca in the Mediterranean with King Juan Carlos I, and sailed with Norway's Crown Prince Harald and Crown Princess Sonja and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. [23]

Upon his return to Japan, Naruhito enrolled once more in Gakushūin University to earn a Master of Humanities degree in history, successfully earning his degree in 1988.[ citation needed ]

Personal life

Naruhito and Masako in May 2019 President Trump Attends a State Banquet at the Imperial Palace (47945532937) (cropped).jpg
Naruhito and Masako in May 2019

Marriage and family

Naruhito first met Masako Owada at a tea for Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo in November 1986, [24] [20] during her studies at the University of Tokyo. The prince was immediately captivated by her, [25] and arranged for them to meet several times over the next few weeks. [26] Because of this, they were pursued relentlessly by the press throughout 1987. [27]

Despite the Imperial Household Agency's disapproval of Masako, and her attending Balliol College, Oxford, for the next two years, Naruhito remained interested in Masako. He proposed to her three times before the Imperial Palace announced their engagement on 19 January 1993. The wedding took place on 9 June the same year at the Imperial Shinto Hall in Tokyo before 800 invited guests, including many of Europe's heads of state and royalty, and an estimated media audience of 500 million people around the world.

By the time of their marriage, Naruhito's grandfather Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito) had died, and so on 23 February 1991, Naruhito had been invested as the Crown Prince with the title Prince Hiro(浩宮,Hiro-no-miya). [28]

Masako's first pregnancy was announced in December 1999, but she miscarried. [29] Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako have one daughter, Aiko, Princess Toshi (敬宮愛子内親王,Toshi-no-miya Aiko Naishinnō), born 1 December 2001 at the Imperial Household Agency Hospital in Tokyo Imperial Palace.

Hobbies and interests

Naruhito is interested in water policy and water conservation. In March 2003, in his capacity as honorary president of the Third World Water Forum, he delivered a speech at the forum's opening ceremony titled "Waterways Connecting Kyoto and Local Regions". Visiting Mexico in March 2006, he gave the keynote address at the opening ceremony for the Fourth World Water Forum, "Edo and Water Transport". And in December 2007, he gave a commemorative talk at the opening ceremony for the First Asia-Pacific Water Summit, "Humans and Water: From Japan to the Asia-Pacific Region". [30]

Naruhito plays the viola, having switched from the violin because he thought the latter "too much of a leader, too prominent" to suit his musical and personal tastes. [31] He enjoys jogging, hiking, and mountaineering in his spare time. [13]

Crown Prince of Japan

Naruhito in Brazil, 18 June 2008 Naruhito-2008-1.jpg
Naruhito in Brazil, 18 June 2008

Naruhito is an honorary member of the World Commission on Water for the 21st century and patron of the Global Water Partnership, established by the World Bank, the United Nations, and the Swedish Agency of Development.[ citation needed ]

The Crown Prince was a patron of the Japanese Olympic Games Committee. The prince is also a supporter of the World Organization of the Scout Movement and in 2006 attended the 14th Nippon Jamboree, the Japanese national jamboree organized by the Scout Association of Japan. The crown prince has also been an honorary vice-president of the Japanese Red Cross Society since 1994. [30]

For two weeks in 2012, Naruhito temporarily took charge of his father's duties while the Emperor underwent and recovered from heart bypass surgery. [32]

Naruhito's birthday was named "Mount Fuji Day" by Shizuoka and Yamanashi Prefectures because of his reported love of the mountain. [33]

Emperor of Japan

On 1 December 2017, the government announced that Naruhito's father, Emperor Akihito, would abdicate on 30 April 2019, and that Naruhito would become emperor as of 1 May 2019. [34] [35]

Following an abdication ceremony on the afternoon of 30 April, Akihito's reign and the Heisei era continued until the end of the day. Naruhito then succeeded him as emperor at the beginning of the day on 1 May, ushering in the Reiwa era. The transition took place at midnight. Naruhito's place as emperor was formalized in a ceremony on the morning of 1 May. In his first statement as emperor, he pledged to reflect deeply on the course followed by his father, and fulfill his responsibility "as the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people of Japan". [1]

The tentative date of his enthronement ceremony is 22 October 2019. [36]

Selected works

Titles, styles, and honours

Imperial Standard of the Emperor Flag of the Japanese Emperor.svg
Imperial Standard of the Emperor

Titles and styles




Honorary degree

Honorary positions

Foreign Arms


  1. 1 2 "Japan's new Emperor Naruhito pledges unity". BBC News . 1 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  2. "Members of the Order of the Garter". The British Monarchy.
  3. "National Day of Japan to be celebrated". Embassy of Japan in Pakistan. 7 December 2007. Archived from the original on 2 February 2008. Retrieved 28 December 2007.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. "浩宮徳仁親王(現皇太子)誕生". Mainichi Shimbun. 23 February 1960. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  5. Hills 2006 , p. 69
  6. Bix, Herbert P. (2000). Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan . New York: Harper Collins. p. 661. ISBN   978-0-06-019314-0.
  7. "Japan's Dowager Empress Dead At 97". CBS News. 16 June 2000. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  8. Hills 2006 , p. 76
  9. Hills 2006 , p. 77
  10. Hills 2006 , p. 56
  11. Hills 2006 , p. 57
  12. Hills 2006 , pp. 60–61
  13. 1 2 Hills 2006 , p. 60
  14. Hills 2006 , pp. 77–78
  15. Hills 2006 , p. 79
  16. Hills 2006 , p. 81
  17. Hills 2006 , pp. 142–143, 152
  18. Hills 2006 , pp. 144–145
  19. Hills 2006 , pp. 145–146
  20. 1 2 3 4 Hills 2006 , p. 150
  21. 1 2 Hills 2006 , p. 151
  22. Hills 2006 , p. 148
  23. Hills 2006 , pp. 151–152
  24. Fitzpatrick, Beth Cooney (21 January 2011). "Great Royal Weddings: Princess Masako and Crown Prince Naruhito". Stylelist. AOL. Archived from the original on 10 September 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  25. Hills 2006 , pp. 120–121
  26. Hills 2006 , p. 123
  27. Hills 2006 , p. 136
  28. "Personal Histories of Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess". Archived from the original on 5 December 2002. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  29. "Royal life takes its toll on Japan's crown princess". China Daily . 2 August 2004. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  30. 1 2 "Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess". Archived from the original on 5 December 2002. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  31. Hills 2006 , p. 72
  32. "Japanese Emperor Akihito's heart surgery 'a success'". BBC News. 18 February 2012.
  33. 「梅原猛・川勝平太『日本思想の古層』藤原書店、2017, p. 14」
  34. "Emperor Akihito to abdicate on April 30, 2019". Archived from the original on 3 December 2017.
  35. Osaki, Tomohiro (1 December 2017). "Japan sets date for Emperor Akihito's abdication as April 30, 2019". The Japan Times . Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  36. "Enthronement ceremony for new emperor mulled for Oct. 2019". Mainichi Shimbun. 31 December 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2017. The government is mulling scheduling the enthronement ceremony for the next emperor for October 2019, months after Crown Prince Naruhito accedes to the Imperial Throne on May 1 that year upon his father Emperor Akihito's abdication, it has been learned.Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  37. "Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress - The Imperial Household Agency". Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  38. 1 2 "Promotion of Blood Donation". 7 July 2016.
  39. "Reply to a parliamentary question about the Decoration of Honour" (pdf) (in German). p. 1299.
  40. Guillaume and Stephanie of Luxembourg’s religious wedding Ceremony, Prince Naruhito, having no Luxembourgish decoration, has worn the ribbon bar Archived 25 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine of Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold
  41. "Modtagere af danske dekorationer". (in Danish). Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  42. Archived 17 December 2012 at , Persondetaljer - Hans Kejserlige Højhed Naruhito
  43. "Semakan Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan".
  44. "Filipino recipients of Japanese decorations and Japanese recipients of Philippine decorations". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines.Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  45. "Cidadãos Estrangeiros Agraciados com Ordens Portuguesas" (in Portuguese). Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  46. "Boletín Oficial del Estado" (PDF).
  47. "Wedding Of Swedish Crown Princess Victoria & Daniel Westling - Arrivals". Getty Images. 19 June 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  48. "Glittering Royal Events Message Board: Coronation in Tonga". 15 June 2015. Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2016.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  49. Ito, Kazuya (4 July 2015). "Crown Princess Masako completes first duties abroad in more than 2 years". The Asahi Shimbun. Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  50. "United Arab Emirates (Image)".
  51. "Japanese crown prince visits UAE".


Born: 23 February 1960
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor of Japan
Heir presumptive:

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