National

Prince Hisahito, grandson of Emperor Akihito and third in line to the throne, turns 12

Kyodo, JIJI

Prince Hisahito, Emperor Akihito’s grandson and soon-to-be second in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne following the abdication of the Emperor next spring, turned 12 on Thursday.

After the 84-year-old Emperor abdicates next April 30, his eldest son Crown Prince Naruhito will ascend the throne and his brother Prince Akishino — the only other member of his generation in the Imperial family — will become first in line to succeed him.

Prince Hisahito, the only male of his generation, will then become second in line.

Imperial House Law states that only males with male lineal descent from emperors can ascend the throne.

Prince Hisahito is a sixth-grade student at Ochanomizu University Elementary School in Tokyo and is keen to learn about the history of war.

On Aug. 10, Prince Hisahito and his mother, Princess Kiko, visited a memorial for atomic bomb victims in Hiroshima, which was devastated by a U.S. nuclear bomb on Aug. 6, 1945.

After visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the prince talked with an 80-year-old female hibakusha and wrote a report on what he learned for school.

In late July, Prince Hisahito visited a war-related facility at Tokyo’s Shokei-kan museum for his social studies research assignment. Displayed at the exhibition were materials that depicted the hardships experienced by sick and wounded servicemen during and after World War II.

Late last month, Prince Hisahito joined a three-day school trip to the city of Aizuwakamatsu and the Urabandai highland area in Fukushima Prefecture. During the trip, he practiced zazen, a form of meditation.

The prince often enjoys playing “hand baseball,” a baseball game without a bat, with his friends after school. He is also interested in studying kanji.

The Imperial family is discussing where the prince will study after he graduates from elementary school next March. His elder sisters, Princess Mako and Princess Kako, have both studied abroad.

An official of the agency said it does not know which junior high school the prince will attend.