Prince Takamatsu

Prince Takamatsu
Prince Takamatsu
Prince Takamatsu
Reign 6 July 1913 – 3 January 1987
Spouse Kikuko Tokugawa
Father Emperor Taisho
Mother Empress Teimei
Born 3 January 1905(1905-01-03)
Aoyama Palace, Tokyo, Japan
Died February 3, 1987(1987-02-03) (aged 82)
Tokyo, Japan
Imperial House of Japan
Imperial Seal of Japan.svg

HIH The Prince Mikasa
HIH The Princess Mikasa

Nobuhito, Prince Takamatsu of Japan (高松宮宣仁親王 Takamatsu no miya Nobuhito Shinnō?, January 3, 1905 – February 3, 1987) was the third son of HIM Emperor Taishō (Yoshihito) and HIM Empress Teimei and a younger brother of the HIM Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito). He became heir to the Takamatsu-no-miya (formerly Arisugawa-no-miya), one of the four shinnōke or branches of the imperial family entitled to inherit the Chrysanthemum throne in default of a direct heir. From the mid-1920s until the end of World War II, Prince Takamatsu pursued a career in the Japanese Imperial Navy, eventually rising to the rank of captain. Following the war, the prince became patron or honorary president of various organizations in the fields of international cultural exchange, the arts, sports, and medicine. He is mainly remembered for his philanthropic activities as a member of the Imperial Household of Japan.


Early life

Prince Nobuhito was born at the Aoyama Palace in Tokyo to then-Crown Prince Yoshihito and Crown Princess Sadako. His childhood appellation was Teru no miya (Prince Teru). Like his elder brothers, Prince Hirohito and Prince Yasuhito, he attended the boy's elementary and secondary departments of the Peers' School (Gakushuin). When Prince Arisugawa Takehito (1862–1913), the tenth head of the collateral imperial house of Arisugawa-no-miya, died without a male heir, Emperor Taishō placed Prince Nobuhito in the house. The name of the house reverted to the original Takamatsu-no-miya. The new Prince Takamatsu was a fourth cousin, four times removed of Prince Takehito.

Military service

Prince Takamatsu attended the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy from 1922 to 1925. He received a commission as a sub-lieutenant (second class) in December 1925 and took up duties aboard the battleship Fusō. He was promoted to sub-lieutenant (first class) the following year after completed the course of study at the Torpedo School. The prince studied at the Naval Aviation School at Kasumigaura in 1927 and the Naval Gunnery School at Yokosuka in 1930 - 1931. In 1930, he was promoted to lieutenant (first class) and attached to Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff in Tokyo. He became a squadron commander of cruiser Takao, two years later and subsequently was reassigned to the Fusō. Prince Takamatsu graduated from the Naval Staff College in 1936, after having been promoted to lieutenant commander. He was promoted to the rank of commander in September 1940 and finally to captain in 1942. From 1936 to 1945, he held various staff positions in the Naval General Staff Office in Tokyo.


On February 4, 1930, Prince Takamatsu married Tokugawa Kikuko (December 16, 1911 - December 17, 2004), the second daughter of Prince Tokugawa Yoshihisa (peer). The bride was a paternal granddaughter of Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the last Shōgun of the Tokugawa shogunate, and the maternal granddaughter of the late Prince Arisugawa Takehito. Prince and Princess Takamatsu had no children.

The Second World War

Prince and Princess Takamatsu in Berlin around 1930

From the 1930s, Prince Takamatsu expressed grave reservations regarding Japanese aggression in Manchuria and the decision to wage war on the United States.

In 1991, his wife Princess Takamatsu and an aide discovered a twenty-volume diary, written in Prince Takamatsu's own hand between 1934 and 1947. Despite opposition from the entrenched bureaucrats of the Imperial Household Agency, she gave the diary to the magazine Chūōkōron which published excerpts in 1995.

The diary revealed that Prince Takamatsu bitterly opposed the Kwantung Army's incursions in Manchuria in September 1931, the expansion of the July 1937 Marco Polo Bridge Incident into a full-scale war of aggression against China and in November 1941 warned his brother, Hirohito that the Imperial Japanese Navy could not sustain hostilities for longer than two years against the United States. He urged Emperor Shōwa to seek peace after the Japanese naval defeat at the Battle of Midway in 1942; an intervention which apparently caused a severe rift between the brothers.

After the Battle of Saipan in July 1944, Prince Takamatsu joined his mother Empress Teimei, his uncles Prince Higashikuni, Prince Asaka, former prime minister Konoe Fumimaro, and other aristocrats, in seeking the ouster of the prime minister, Tojo Hideki.

After the surrender

After the war, Prince Takamatsu became the honorary president of various charitable, cultural and athletic organizations including the Japan Fine Arts Society, the Denmark-Japan Society, the France-Japan Society, the Tofu Society for the Welfare of Leprosy Patients, the Sericulture Association, the Japan Basketball Association, and the Saise Welfare Society. He also served as a patron of the Japanese Red Cross Society.

In 1975, the Bungei Shunjū literary magazine published a long interview with Takamatsu in which he told of the warning he made to his brother Hirohito on November 30, 1941, the warning he made to him after Midway and that, before the surrender, he and Prince Konoe had considered asking for the emperor's abdication. The interview implied that the emperor had been a firm supporter of the Greater East Asia War while the prince was not.

In 1991, Princess Takamatsu and an aide discovered a twenty-volume diary, written in Prince Takamatsu's own hand between 1934 and 1947. The diary, which the magazine Chūō Kōron obtained, revealed the late prince had opposed the Kwantung Army's incursions in Manchuria in September 1931 and the expansion of the July 1937 Marco Polo Bridge Incident into a full-scale war against China.

Prince Takamatsu died of lung cancer on February 3, 1987 at The Red Cross Medical Center in Tokyo. His remains were buried at Tokyo's Toshimagaoka Cemetery.


See also

^ Winfred J. Sanborn, headed welcoming contingent in Los Angeles, California


  1. ^ "Britain wanted limited restoration of royal family's honors," Japan Policy & Politics. January 7, 2002.

External links


Kase Hideaki, Takamatsu no miya kaku katariki, Bungei shunjû, February 1975, pp. 193, 198, 200

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