Prince Hisahito, Emperor Akihito’s grandson who is third in line to the Imperial throne, turned 11 on Wednesday.
His birthday came days after the announcement that his elder sister, Princess Mako, will marry her longtime boyfriend, Kei Komuro. The prince has already met Komuro, 25, and will attend their wedding ceremony scheduled in fall next year.
The son of Prince Akishino, the younger of the Emperor’s two sons, and Princess Kiko, the prince is likely to draw more attention as he will be second in line to the throne after the 83-year-old Emperor’s abdication that could take place as early as December next year.
Prince Hisahito, a fifth-grader at an elementary school in Tokyo affiliated with Ochanomizu University, has often visited the Imperial Palace and the Imperial Residence to see the Emperor and Empress Michiko with his parents.
Following the Emperor’s rare video address last year that hinted at his desire to step down due to his advanced age, the Diet enacted a law to allow him to abdicate. His abdication would be the first in about 200 years.
Last December, the prince, along with his parents, visited the sites of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki for the first time.
While observing his parents, he carefully offered flowers and bowed deeply in Nagasaki Peace Park, where the ground zero monument dedicated to victims of the bombing sits.
In May, he watched a Summer Grand Sumo Tournament bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan and visited the Sumo Museum as part of an off-school learning program.