Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito attends a wedding in Luxembourg in 2012. He is the oldest son of Emperor Akihito.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito is held by his mother, Crown Princess Michiko, after being born in Tokyo in February 1960. Naruhito’s name means “a man who will acquire heavenly virtues.”

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Michiko plays with 2-year-old Naruhito in the gardens of the Togu Royal Palace in May 1961.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito walks with his parents on a beach at the Hayama Imperial Villa in June 1961.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito plays on a swing on his fifth birthday in February 1965.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito throws a paper airplane with his parents in October 1965.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito studies a globe with his mother in February 1968.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito paddles at the Children’s Land playground in Yokohama, Japan, in June 1968.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito runs a relay race at his school in Tokyo in 1970.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito, front middle, plays a pinball game with his two siblings — Sayako, left, and Fumihito — in 1972. Watching them, from left, are their parents, Michiko and Akihito; their grandparents, Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako; their uncle Masahito; and their aunt Hanako.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Tomohide Gomi, honorary professor of Tokyo University, teaches Naruhito about the “Manyoshu” poetry anthology in 1977. Naruhito studied at Oxford University in England. He earned a degree from Gakushuin University in Tokyo.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito and his parents welcome former US President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan in 1989.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito chats with his fiancee, Masako Owada, in June 1993. Like his father, Naruhito married a commoner. Masako previously worked as a diplomat.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito leaves the sanctuary inside the palace where he attended wedding rites with his bride in June 1993.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Tokyo metro police control an excited crowd of “Masako admirers” before the start of a parade honoring Naruhito and his new wife in 1993.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Crown Princess Masako waves to the imperial household staff as she and Naruhito depart for their wedding parade.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, left, lead their children and their spouses during a garden party in Tokyo in 1997.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito and Masako walk with their daughter, Aiko, during a family outing in August 2002. Aiko is their only child.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito and Masako attend the funeral of Akihito’s cousin, Prince Takamado, in November 2002.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito takes a photo of photographers during a five-day visit to Portugal in May 2004.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito, center, takes part in Gakushuin University’s alumni orchestra concert in July 2004.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito pays his respects to the late Pope John Paul II during a memorial service in Tokyo in April 2005.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito with his wife, Masako, and his daughter, Aiko, in November 2005.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito and his family mingle with Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and members of her family during a trip to Apeldoorn, Netherlands, in 2006.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Princess Aiko dances in front of her parents during a school sports event in 2007.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito delivers a speech in Tokyo during a send-off ceremony for Japanese Olympians in 2008.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito is joined by his parents and other family members during a park visit in 2009.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito takes a photo of a rhinoceros while touring a reserve in Kenya in March 2010.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito, Aiko and Masako pose with their pets in December 2010.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito and Masako listen to Iwanuma Mayor Tsneaki Iguchi while touring the tsunami-devastated city in June 2011.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito and Masako trail Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko as they leave for Great Britain in 2012. They were going to attend a ceremony for Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito and Masako attend King Willem’s inauguration ceremony in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 2013.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Princess Aiko and her parents attend her graduation ceremony at the Gakushuin Primary School in March 2014.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito, second from left, joins his father as they greet the public at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo in December 2014.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito jogs around the Imperial Palace in Tokyo in February 2015.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito arrives in Paris in September 2018.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito waves with his father, who was delivering his final New Year’s address in 2019.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito and Masako are greeted by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, who were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary in April 2019.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito, standing on a dais, inherits the imperial regalia during his ascension ceremony in May 2019.

Japan’s Naruhito: From Crown Prince to Emperor

Naruhito delivers his first speech after his ascension to the throne. In his remarks, he acknowledged the assumption of his role as an “important responsibility,” and he paid tribute to his father’s legacy.



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