Sun Sign: Pisces
Also Known As: Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan
Born Country: Japan
Born in: Tokyo Imperial Palace, Tokyo
Famous as: Emperor of Japan
Spouse/Ex-: Crown Princess of Japan (m. 1993), Masako Owada
mother: Empress Michiko
siblings: Fumihito, Prince Akishino, Sayako Kuroda
children: Aiko, Princess Toshi
City: Tokyo, Japan
education: Merton College
awards: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary
Order of the Crown
Grand Cross of the Order of Christ (Portugal)
Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum
Naruhito is the Emperor of Japan. He became the 126th emperor of Japan on 1 May 2019 after his father, former Emperor Akihito, abdicated the throne on April 30, 2019. Naruhito is the first emperor of the post-World War II era to ascend the ‘Chrysanthemum Throne.’ In 2012, Naruhito was given the responsibility of handling the Emperor’s duties for two weeks while his father recovered from heart bypass surgery. As the crown prince, Naruhito has travelled all over the world. His 2009 trip to Vietnam was the first one to a communist nation. This week-long trip marked the 35th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Japan and Vietnam. In 1993, Naruhito published a memoir about his experiences during his two years stay at Oxford. In 1989, he was honored by the ‘Scout Association of Japan’ with the ‘Golden Pheasant Award.’ He also holds the ‘Golden Medal of Merit’ of the ‘Japanese Red Cross Society'.
- Hironomiya Naruhito was born on February 23, 1960, to the then crown prince, Akihito and Michiko Shōda, in the ‘Tokyo Imperial Palace’ at the ‘Imperial Household Agency Hospital.’ During his childhood, Naruhito enjoyed riding, mountain climbing, and music. He enjoyed watching baseball and was a huge fan of the ‘Yomiuri Giants,’ a professional baseball team that played in the ‘Central League.’
- At the age of four, Naruhito was enrolled in the ‘Gakushūin’ school system. In 1973, Naruhito’s father, Akihito, visited Australia and had a great experience. He encouraged his son to visit Australia. In August 1974, a 14-year-old Naruhito was sent to Melbourne for a homestay. During his stay in Australia, Naruhito learnt playing violin and tennis. He once played violin for the dignitaries at the official residence of the then Governor-General of Australia Sir John Kerr.
- In March 1982, Naruhito graduated from ‘Gakushuin University’ with a Bachelor of Letters degree in History. In July 1983, he attended a three-month English course. He was then enrolled at ‘Merton College’ in the United Kingdom. During his stay at ‘Merton College’ Naruhito played inter-college tennis and took golf lessons from a professional golf player. He also visited many European countries and met the British royal family. After returning to Japan, Naruhito pursued a ‘Master of Humanities’ degree in History from the ‘Gakushūin University.’ He earned his master’s degree in 1988.
- As the oldest son of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, Naruhito was appointed as the crown prince of Japan according to the country’s traditional order of succession. He carried out representative duties around the world on behalf of the crown.
- In 1997, he made an official visit to Bhutan. During his visit to Vietnam in 2009, he met the then president of Vietnam Nguyen Minh Triet. On June 17, 2014, he made an official trip to Switzerland. His visit marked the 150th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Japan and Switzerland. It also marked his first official visit to Switzerland.
- In 2012, Naruhito took charge of his father’s duties temporarily, while Emperor Akihito underwent a heart bypass surgery.
- Despite being the crown prince, Naruhito continued to work at the ‘Gakushuin University’ as a researcher on Japanese medieval history. His fascination for the Japanese medieval history started when he stumbled upon an ancient roadway.
- Emperor Akhito abdicated the throne on 30 April 2019 and Naurohito became the emperor on 1 May 2019.
- Naruhito's ascension to the throne marks the beginning of the 'Reiwa Era'. Reiwa is interpreted as "beautiful harmony". The tentative date of Naruhito's enthronement ceremony is 22 October 2019.
- Naruhito has always been interested in water conservation endeavors. In 2003, he served as the president of the third ‘World Water Forum’ which was hosted by the ‘World Water Council.’ He has served as the president of the United Nations’ advisory board on ‘Water and Sanitation.’ He is also associated with the ‘Japanese Red Cross Society’ and has served as its vice-president.
- In 1993, he published a memoir titled ‘Temuzu to tomoni: Eikoku no ninenkan.’ The memoir was later translated to English by Hugh Cortazzi. The translated version ‘The Thames and I: A Memoir of Two Years at Oxford’ was published in 2006 by ‘Global Oriental.’
- On February 23, 1980, Naruhito was honored with Japan’s highest order, ‘Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum.’ Among his other national honors, he has a ‘Golden Medal of Merit’ from the ‘Japanese Red Cross Society.’
- Naruhito has been honored by a number of foreign countries. He holds the oldest and highest order of Belgium, ‘The Order of Leopold.’ In 2000, he was honored with Hungary’s second highest State Order, ‘The Hungarian Order of Merit.’
- On March 26, 2001, he received the ‘Order of St. Olav’ from Norway. On December 3, 2002, he received ‘The Order of Sikatuna’ from the Republic of the Philippines. On November 16, 2004, he received Denmark’s highest-ranked honor, ‘The Order of the Elephant.’
- On March 26, 2007, Naruhito was honored with a Swedish order of chivalry, ‘The Royal Order of the Seraphim.’ On August 1, 2008, he received the ‘Royal Order of the Crown of Tonga’ for his exceptional services to Tonga, a Polynesian country.
- Naruhito met Owada Masako in November 1986 and was attracted to her almost immediately. Masako, who was working for the ‘Ministry of Foreign Affairs,’ was reluctant to give up her career. Hence, she hesitated to say yes to the crown prince. She, however, accepted Naruhito’s proposal in 1992. Naruhito married Owada Masako on June 9, 1993. Their wedding ceremony, which took place at the ‘Imperial Shinto Hall,’ was broadcast worldwide.
- Naruhito and Masako were blessed with a daughter on December 1, 2001. Their daughter, Aiko, Princess Toshi, was born at the ‘Imperial Household Agency Hospital.’ In the ensuing years of her marriage with Naruhito, Masako was under pressure to bear a male heir. After a few years, Japan held a debate regarding changing the ‘Imperial Household Law’ to allow a woman to ascend the throne. However, the proposal to change the law was dropped after the birth of Hisahito, son of Naruhito’s younger brother Fumihito.
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