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Norihito, Prince Takamado
Norihito, Prince Takamado

Norihito, Prince Takamado (高円宮憲仁親王, Takamado-no-miya Norihito Shinnō, 29 December 1954 – 21 November 2002) was a member of the Imperial House of Japan and the third son of Takahito, Prince Mikasa and Yuriko, Princess Mikasa. He was a first cousin of Emperor Akihito, and was seventh in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne at the time of his death.


The Prince graduated from the Department of Law of Gakushuin University in 1978. He studied abroad from 1978 to 1981 at Queen's University Faculty of Law in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. After his return to Japan, he served as administrator of the Japan Foundation from 1981–2002.

Marriage and family

The Prince became engaged to Hisako Tottori, eldest daughter of Shigejirō Tottori, on 17 September 1984, whom he had met at a reception held by the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. They married on 6 December 1984. He was born as Prince Norihito of Mikasa, and received the title Prince Takamado (Takamado-no-miya) and authorization to start a new branch of the Imperial Family on 1 December 1984 in celebration of his wedding. The couple had three daughters:

  • Princess Tsuguko (承子女王, Tsuguko Joō, born 8 March 1986 at Aiiku Hospital in Tokyo)
  • Princess Noriko (典子女王, Noriko Joō, born 22 July 1988 at Aiiku Hospital in Tokyo); following her marriage to Kunimaro Senge, a commoner, on 5 October 2014, Princess Noriko gave up her imperial title and left the Imperial Family as required by 1947 Imperial Household Law, took the surname of her husband and became known as "Noriko Senge" (千家典子, Senge Noriko).
  • Princess Ayako (絢子女王, Ayako Joō, born 15 September 1990 at Aiiku Hospital in Tokyo); following her marriage to Moriya Kei, a commoner, on 29 October 2018, Princess Ayako gave up her imperial title and left the Imperial Family as required by 1947 Imperial Household Law, took the surname of her husband and became known as "Ayako Moriya" (守谷絢子, Moriya Ayako).

Public service

Prince Takamado was honorary president of various charitable organizations involved with sponsorship of international exchange especially involving music, dance, and sports. He was often dubbed "The Sports Prince" (スポーツの宮さま, Supōtsu-no-miya-sama) in Japan. He supported a number of foreign language speech contests. He was also very much involved in environmental issues and environmental education. The Prince was an honorary member of AV Edo-Rhenania zu Tokio, a Roman Catholic student fraternity that is affiliated with the Cartellverband der katholischen deutschen Studentenverbindungen.

Prince and Princess Takamado were the most widely traveled couple in the Japanese Imperial Family, visiting 35 countries together in 15 years to represent Japan on various functions. The Prince’s last visits included Egypt and Morocco in May 2000, Hawaii in July 2001 (to promote the Japanese tea ceremony), and to the Republic of Korea from May to June 2002. The latter was in order to attend the Opening Ceremony of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea-Japan. The goodwill visit by the Prince and Princess to Korea was the first Japanese royal visit since World War II, and was an important step in the promotion of friendly bilateral relations between Japan and Korea. While in Korea, the couple toured the country extensively, met with President Kim Dae-jung and ordinary Koreans, and he visited the facilities for the physically disabled in South Korea that the Princess Nashimoto Masako had sponsored.[1]


On 21 November 2002, while having a squash lesson together with the Canadian ambassador Robert G. Wright at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, the Prince collapsed from ventricular fibrillation and was rushed to Keio University Hospital, where he died of heart failure.[2]

The sudden death of one of the youngest and most active members of the Japanese Imperial Family shocked the nation. The Prince's funeral was held at Toshimagaoka Imperial Cemetery in northern Tokyo with around 900 people in attendance including members of the Imperial Family and politicians from Japan and other countries.[3]

The Prince Takamado Cup, Japan's national youth football cup tournament, is named after him. The Japanese artwork and artifacts collection of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto is named the Prince Takamado Gallery of Japan in honour of his close connection with Canada.[4]

Titles and styles

  • 29 December 1954 – 1 December 1984: His Imperial Highness Prince Norihito of Mikasa
  • 1 December 1984 – 21 November 2002: His Imperial Highness The Prince Takamado


  • Honorary President of the Japan Football Association
  • Honorary President of Japan Association of fencing
  • Honorary President of Japan Squash Association
  • Honorary President of Federation of All Japan Baseball
  • Honorary President of the Japan Student Association Foundation
  • Honorary President of Japan Society rescue poorly
  • President of Federation of Japan Amateur Orchestras



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