The Crown Prince of Japan will be crowned Emperor in May 2019. What sort of person is he, really? When we asked his acquaintances and people who know him well, there was a unanimous consensus that he is a âhumble and sincereâ figure, but they also revealed his humorous and friendly side.
Nobutoshi Noman, 58, was a schoolmate of the Crown Prince in his early days at Gakushuin Primary School. He told us that âsince a young age, he has been sincerely concerned with his imperial lineage.â
Noman remembers a conversation he had with the Prince when they were 20 years old. It was 38 years ago, on February 23, 1980. The Crown Prince, then living in the Imperial Palace, celebrated his 20th birthday and coming of age ceremony in the Emperorâs quarters, and received the Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum from Emperor Showa (Hirohito).
When Noman congratulated the Prince, saying âit must be a great honor,â the Prince replied humbly, âIâm not sure whether a young person like me is worth of this award.â He insisted that âawards should be given to people who deserve them.â
Noman stressed to us that âthis is the extent to which he desired to work for the sake of the citizens as Crown Prince.â The former classmate added: âI think that face of him has been showing as we get closer to the coronation.â
Amid the Princeâs busy schedule of official duties, he has continued to practice the viola, pursue mountain climbing, and engage in historical research.
Oda Sakae, 76, former director of waterways at Japanâs Ministry of Construction, has worked alongside the Crown Prince in studying problems surrounding âwater,â which has been the Princeâs lifework thus far. He revealed to us that the Prince shows a humorous side and has been known to lighten up during lectures and at dinner parties.
âHe once broke the ice by telling his audience about an episode where he left the water running while brushing his teeth and was scolded by Crown Princess Aiko,â said Oda. During his lectures, he refers to popular culture, like the manga series Thermae Romae and the hit song âGods of the Toilet.â Oda was surprised that âhe stays on top of the interests of youth and keeps a broad viewpoint.â
One of his school friends told us about being interrupted by his raucous children while on the phone with the Crown Prince. The Prince suggested, âTell them that youâre on the phone with Ultraman,â and had him hand the phone over. The school friend said, âHis Imperial Highness did his best Ultraman impression over the phone and talked with my children.â
While visiting Denmark last June, the Prince was asked for a âselfieâ by a local man while walking along the canal, and happily obliged.
(Click here to read the original article in Japanese.)