Norihito, Prince Takamado (29 December 1954 – 21 November 2002) was a member of the Imperial House of Japan and the third son of Takahito, Prince Mikasa and Yuriko, Princess Mikasa. He was a first cousin of Emperor Akihito, and was seventh in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne.
The Prince was a graduate of the Department of Law of Gakushuin University in 1978. He studied abroad from 1978 to 1981 at Queen’s University Faculty of Law in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. After his return to Japan, he served as administrator of the Japan Foundation from 1981-2002.
The Prince became engaged to Miss Hisako Tottori, eldest daughter of Mr. Shigejirō Tottori, on 17 September 1984, whom he had met at a reception held by the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. They married on 6 December 1984. He was born as Prince Norihito of Mikasa, and received the title Prince Takamado (Takamado-no-miya) and authorization to start a new branch of the Imperial Family on 1 December 1984 in celebration of his wedding. The couple had three daughters:
Princess Tsuguko (born 8 March 1986)
Princess Noriko (born 22 July 1988); following her marriage to Kunimaro Senge on 5 October 2014, Princess Noriko gave up her imperial title and left the Imperial Family as required by 1947 Imperial Household Law, took the surname of her husband and became known as “Noriko Senge”
Princess Ayako (born 15 September 1990)
Prince Takamado was honorary president of various charitable organizations involved with sponsorship of international exchange especially involving music, dance, and sports. He was often dubbed “The Sports Prince” in Japan. He supported a number of foreign language speech contests. He was also very much involved in environmental issues and environmental education. The Prince was an honorary member of A.V. Edo-Rhenania Tokyo, a Roman Catholic student fraternity that is affiliated with the Cartellverband der katholischen deutschen Studentenverbindungen.
Prince and Princess Takamado were the most widely traveled couple in the Japanese Imperial Family, visiting 35 countries together in 15 years to represent Japan on various functions. The Prince’s last visits included Egypt and Morocco in May 2000, Hawaii in July 2001 (to promote the Japanese tea ceremony), and to the Republic of Korea from May to June 2002. The latter was in order to attend the Opening Ceremony of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea-Japan. The goodwill visit by the Prince and Princess to Korea was the first Japanese royal visit since World War II, and was an important step in the promotion of friendly bilateral relations between Japan and Korea. While in Korea, the couple toured the country extensively, met with President Kim Dae-jung and ordinary Koreans, and he visited the facilities for the physically disabled in South Korea that the Princess Nashimoto Masako had sponsored.
On 21 November 2002, while playing squash with the Canadian ambassador Robert G. Wright at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, the Prince collapsed from ventricular fibrillation and was rushed to Keio University Hospital, where he died of heart failure.
The sudden death of one of the youngest and most active members of the Japanese Imperial Family shocked the nation. The Prince’s funeral was held at Toshimagaoka Imperial Cemetery in northern Tokyo.
The Prince Takamado Cup, Japan’s national youth football cup tournament, is named after him