The life of the new Emperor

Japan will enter a new era on May 1 when Crown Prince Naruhito ascends the throne. He has learned much from his father and has been influenced by his thinking.

The Crown Prince was born on February 23, 1960, and is the eldest son of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. He was the first child in the Imperial family to be raised by his parents. Traditionally, children had to live separately.

After graduating from a Japanese university, he went to the UK to study at the prestigious University of Oxford. He also attended graduate school in Japan, a first for a member of the Imperial family.

On his 31st birthday, he officially became Crown Prince. At a ceremony, he said, "I'm aware of the significance of my duty as Crown Prince and will perform it to the best of my ability."

In 1993, he got engaged to Masako Owada. In a news conference, she said, "The Crown Prince said I might have fears and worries about joining the Imperial family, but he promised to protect me with all his might throughout our lives."

"If there is any hardship, I want to be by her side and protect and help her with all my power," Crown Prince Naruhito said.

They married in June of that year and eight years later had a daughter, Princess Aiko. The Crown Prince was 41 at the time. Since then, they've built their family. And Crown Prince Naruhito has supported the Crown Princess, who has been undergoing medical treatment.

When it comes to his duties, the Crown Prince has shown he wants to continue along the path of his father.
He has repeatedly visited places affected by World War Two, such as Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Okinawa. Facing the history of the war, he has wished for peace.

"I have often heard from Their Majesties, my parents, about the suffering of war and the preciousness of peace, and although these great wars took place before I was even born, I believe that we should resolve wholeheartedly to see to it that such wars will never be repeated again in the future," he said.

And like his father, the Crown Prince also shows sympathy to people affected by disasters. He and the Crown Princess have visited emergency shelters following major earthquakes in Japan.

On his birthday this year, he signaled he wants to continue being close to the people, and said,
"Thinking about my future inspires a solemn feeling in me. I will continue to improve myself and think about the Japanese people and pray for them, with the temperament of past Emperors in mind. I would like to carry out my duties as the symbol of the state by always being beside the people, and sharing their joys and sorrows, just as the Emperor and the Empress have done."

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