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Masahito, Prince Hitachi

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Masahito, Prince Hitachi (常陸宮正仁親王, Hitachi-no-miya Masahito Shinnō, born 28 November 1935) is a member of the Imperial House of Japan and the younger brother of Emperor Akihito. He is the second son and sixth born child of Emperor Shōwa and Empress Kōjun and is third in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne. Prince Hitachi is mainly known for philanthropic activities and his research on the causes of cancer.

Prince Hitachi
Prince Masahito cropped 2 Prince Masahito Prince Albert II Princess Hanako and Yukiya Amano 20100713.jpg
Prince Hitachi at the Grimaldi Forum in July 2010
Born (1935-11-28) 28 November 1935 (age 83)
Tokyo Imperial Palace, Tokyo City, Empire of Japan
Hanako Tsugaru (m. 1964)
Full name
Masahito (正仁)
HouseImperial House of Japan
FatherEmperor Shōwa
MotherEmpress Kōjun

Early life and educationEdit

With his younger sister Princess Takako (1952)

Born at Tokyo Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Prince Masahito held the childhood appellation Prince Yoshi (義宮正仁親王, Yoshi-no-miya Masahito Shinnō).

He received his primary and secondary schooling at the Gakushūin Peers' School. In late 1944, the Imperial Household Ministry evacuated Prince Yoshi and the Crown Prince to Nikkō, to escape the American bombing of Tokyo.

After the war, from 1947 to 1950, Mrs. Elizabeth Gray Vining tutored both princes and their sisters, the Princesses Kazuko, Atsuko, and Takako, in the English language. Her account of the experience is entitled Windows for the Crown Prince (1952).

Prince Yoshi received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from the Faculty of Science at Gakushuin University in 1958. He subsequently did postgraduate work in the Faculty of Science at Tokyo University. In 1969, he became a Research Associate of the Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research specializing in the study of cellular division. The results of his research have been reported in the technical journals of the Japanese Cancer Association, as well as of the American Association for Cancer Research.

In 1997, Prince Hitachi received an honorary doctorate from George Washington University in the United States, and in April 2001 received another from the University of Minnesota. In March 1999, he became an honorary member of the German Association for Cancer Research, in recognition of his significant scientific contributions to the field of cancer research.


On 30 September 1964, the Prince married Hanako Tsugaru (born 19 July 1940), fourth daughter of the late Yoshitaka Tsugaru, a former count and a descendant of the daimyō of Tsugaru Domain. The following day, Emperor Shōwa granted him the title Hitachi-no-miya (Prince Hitachi), and authorization to start a new branch of the Imperial Family in celebration of his wedding.

Prince Hitachi and Princess Hitachi have their official residence in a palace in large gardens off Komazawadori in Higashi, Shibuya.[1] They have no children.

Public serviceEdit

Prince Hitachi is the honorary president of a wide variety of charitable organizations, especially those involving international exchange. Most recently, Prince and Princess Hitachi visited Nicaragua and El Salvador, to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with both countries in October 2005. They also made a visit to France in September 2007 and Peru, marking the celebration of 110 years since the establishment of a Japanese community in this country, June 2009.

Titles and stylesEdit

Mon of the Hitachi branch of the Imperial Family
  • 28 November 1935 – 1 October 1964: His Imperial Highness The Prince Yoshi
  • 1 October 1964 – present: His Imperial Highness The Prince Hitachi


National honoursEdit

Foreign honoursEdit

Honorary degreeEdit

Honorary positionsEdit

  • Member of the Imperial House Council
  • President of the Japanese Society for the Preservation of Birds
  • President of the Japanese Society for Disabled Children
  • President of the Japan Institute of Invention and Innovation
  • President of the Japan-Denmark Society
  • President of the Dainippon Silk Foundation
  • President of the Japanese Society for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities
  • President of the Japan Art Association
  • President of the Tokyo Zoological Park Society
  • President of Maison Franco-Japonaise
  • President of the Princess Takamatsu Cancer Research Fund
  • Honorary President of the Japan-Sweden Society
  • Honorary President of the Japan-Belgium Society
  • Honorary President of the Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research
  • Honorary President of Association Pasteur Japon
  • Honorary Vice-President of the Japanese Red Cross Society



External linksEdit

Masahito, Prince Hitachi
Born: 28 November 1935
Lines of succession
Preceded by
Prince Hisahito of Akishino
Line of succession to the Japanese throne
3rd in line
Last in line
Order of precedence in Japan
Preceded by
Prince Hisahito of Akishino
HIH The Prince Hitachi
Succeeded by
local precedence