Meeting Emperor Naruhito in person is a limited opportunity for regular people, a majority of whom have only seen his solemn expression at ceremonies or gentle smile at receptions. However, Andrew B. Arkley, an old friend and schoolmate, has shed some light on the emperor's natural self to The Japan Times, including his friendliness and nickname in high school.

"He is always smiling and he is always very warm and thoughtful, and he goes out of his way to make people fit in and feel comfortable. He is the epitome of thoughtfulness," said Arkley, the general manager of a medical clinic in Yokohama and former Australian trading company owner.

As an exchange student of the Rotary Club then, the Melbourne native entered Gakushuin University's high school in Tokyo in April 1975 as a second year student and one of the school's first non-Japanese pupils. Arkley had known the emperor, then-Prince Naruhito, was among the first-year students, but couldn't tell who the prince was because every student wore the same school uniform.