What's the new style of Emperor and Empress What's the new style of Emperor and Empress
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What's the new style of Emperor and Empress

    NHK World
    Correspondent
    Generational changes have taken place in royal families around the world in recent years. In Europe over the past decade, kings have ascended the throne in the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain.

    In Asia, it has happened in Thailand and Bhutan. In each case, the new kings have ushered in a new style. And many people see the same happening in Japan, where Emperor Naruhito formally proclaimed his enthronement on Tuesday.

    Japan's new Emperor is the first to be born in the postwar period and the first child in the Imperial family to be raised by his parents. After studying in the UK, he attended graduate school in Japan -- also a first for a member of the Imperial family.

    Emperor's experience in UK

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    Roger Bacon was part of the security detail for the Emperor in the UK in 1980s.

    One man who knew Emperor Naruhito in his days as a student at the University of Oxford, back in the 1980s, is former London Metropolitan Police officer Roger Bacon. He provided security for the then-Prince.

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    Then-Prince Naruhito and Roger Bacon in the UK.

    Bacon lived next door to the Prince in the university dormitory and accompanied him whenever he went out. Bacon remembers him as an inquisitive person who enjoyed socializing in British pubs. "One of the things that began to come out was that he's curious," recalls Bacon. "He wanted to know about things. He was outgoing. He was happy to meet people and talk to people."

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    Setsuo Kato photographed then-Prince Naruhito in his Oxford days.

    Setsuo Kato documented those days with his camera. He thinks the young Prince became more confident throughout his Oxford days. He says other students were surprised when the Prince was addressed as "His Royal Highness" at the entrance ceremony. He says the prince just smiled.

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    Reception at the Japanese Embassy in London in 1985.

    Kato says he thinks the Prince came out of his shell while in the UK. He says that struck him when he saw the Prince at a reception at the Japanese Embassy in London shortly before he completed his studies at Oxford, chatting with the guests and sharing opinions, showing he had the knowledge and confidence to talk with people from all walks of life.

    Kato says, "Britain is a very international nation. The Emperor met people from many countries during his student days, and I hope he will make good use of that knowledge and experience in his diplomacy."

    Expectations for Empress Masako

    And the Prince took an internationally active wife. Empress Masako is a Harvard graduate who became a diplomat, like her father.

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    Empress Masako attends her Harvard University graduation ceremony in 1985.

    When US President Donald Trump visited Japan in May, the Emperor and Empress made a big impression on the people of Japan as cameras showed them conversing with their guests without needing an interpreter.

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    The Emperor and Empress talk with the Trumps in English at a ceremony in May.

    Will for peace in the world

    One thing that hasn't changed in the new era is the focus on peace. Japanese historian Michifumi Isoda says he noted that the Emperor used the word "peace" three times in his speech at the ceremony to mark his accession.

    He says he thinks Emperor Naruhito was expressing his desire to be Japan's symbol in an era of peace, much like his father. Isoda also noted that two of the three references were about world peace, suggesting that he's thinking about peace not only in Japan.

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