Crown Prince Naruhito will become the new emperor of Japan on 1st May after the abdication of his father Akihito. Unfortunately, in his case, his only daughter, Princess Aiko, cannot succeed him due to only can participate males.
Naruhito was born in 1960. He is the eldest son of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. He became heir to the throne in January 1989 after the death of his grandfather, Emperor Hirohito. Officially, became a crown prince in February 1991.
He studied History at Gakushuin University in Tokyo in 1982. In addition, he completed the first part of a doctorate in humanities at Gakushuin University in 1988.
In 1993, Naruhito attracted world attention when the Imperial Palace announced its commitment to Masako Owada, a career diplomat graduated from Harvard University.
Aiko will not be able to succeed her father
Naruhito and Princess Masako have a daughter, Princess Aiko, born in 2001. Under the Japanese Imperial Household Law, Aiko cannot succeed her father. The heir must be “a male offspring of the imperial lineage.
However, Japan has had a total of 10 empresses since Suiko, whose reign took place between 592 and 628. Anyway, the last woman to occupy the Chrysanthemum’s Throne was Empress Gosakuramachi, who did so between 1762 and 1770.
So, the heir to the throne once Naruhito is emperor will be his brother, Prince Akishino, 53 years old. Then, will be the Prince Hisahito, 12, the only son of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko.
The Japanese imperial family is shrinking. It is a clear reflection of the situation in Japan, where the population is getting smaller and older.
Princesses, such as Sayako Kuroda, must abandon their status as members of the Imperial House when they marry commoners. Currently, Prince Hisahito is the only male of his generation, while six women have not yet married, so the number of members is expected to continue to decline in the coming years.
Role as a crown prince
In recent years, Naruhito and Masako have visited areas affected by disasters:
- 2011 tsunami that caused the nuclear disaster in Fukushima.
“I would like to perform my functions as the symbol of the state while I am always present to the Japanese and share my joy and sorrows with them,” as Akihito and Michiko have done, the Crown Prince said.
Naruhito is also known for his research on water issues and has given numerous speeches around the world.
Also, the future emperor enjoys playing tennis, running and mountaineering. Also plays the viola and has performed in public.
To help foster bilateral relations, Naruhito has also visited several countries. “I believe that international goodwill and related exchange activities are an important part of our official obligation. That gave me the opportunity to visit more than 30 countries and meet with international guests, young representatives and international award winners who came to Japan,” he said.
“I would be grateful if such opportunities had contributed to friendship and goodwill between Japan and other countries. I appreciate that these experiences have also helped to broaden my world view and deepen my interest,” he added.
Although Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has minimized Japan’s role in Japan’s atrocities and war crimes, which has strained relations with other Asian countries, especially China and South Korea. The Crown Prince does not seem to agree with him.
“It is important to look to the past in a humble way and to correctly pass on the tragic experiences of war and knowledge about the course of history,” he said during a press conference in February 2015.
The Crown Prince will assume the traditional symbols, known as “Sanshu no Jingi“, as proof of his ascent to the Chrysanthemum’s Throne on 1st May in a ceremony.
Later, the new emperor will meet with Abe and other representatives of the population for the first time in the framework of the ritual known as “Sokui go Choken no gi”.
This will usher in a new era that has been called ‘Reiwa‘, which translates as ‘beautiful harmony’ and which will be the 248th in the country.