The Mikasa Family Thread


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:previous: better photos of Princess Akiko at the purification ceremony (Misogi-no-gi) on on May 4 before the Aoi Festival at Shimogamo Shrine. The festival is held on May 15.

AP Images, Mainichi


 
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On March 22nd, Princess Yohko visited Matsushita Care and homes of users of the communication support device Commune in Kagoshima Prefecture. Residents and Matsushita Care staff were too nervous but Princess Yohko's friendly and kind personality put people at ease. She spoke slowly using the device and everyone regained their composure.

Princess Yohko also worked with residents on muscle-building exercises devised by Kanoya University of Physical Education and had a lively conversation with a 98 year old resident. All were moved by the royal visit and reenergized.

Matsushita Care provides services such as home care, day service, housekeeping, exercise, hospital visit assistance, etc. Princess Yohko visited Kagoshima Prefecture March 22-24 for the Welfare Equipment Exhibition and Seminar.

Photos: matsushita-care.com

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On May 4th, Princess Yohko privately attended Round 2 of the 2024 Autobacs Super GT series, "Fuji GT 3 Hours Race" at Fuji Speedway in Shizuoka Prefecture.

 
On May 7th, Princess Yōko attended 81th All Japan Three Cushion Championship (billiards) at the Yorigaseki Sports Building in Shibuya, Tokyo.

Source/photos: Facebook
 
Updates from Princess Akiko's cultural organization Shinyusha

On March 30th, the first session of this year’s 3-part cooking class on bento was held. Participants made a cherry blossom bento under the guidance of chef Masato Miyazawa from Kyoto restaurant Doppo: boiled scallops with bamboo shoots, deep-fried lotus root and shrimp.

Photos: Facebook - Shinyusha

On April 20th, Shinyusha held its Reiwa 6 (2024) Annual Meeting and Gratitude Gathering at Kyoto Brighton Hotel. The event began with a talk session between Princess Akiko, embroidery artist Toshiaki Nagakusa and rakugo performer Tatekawa Shinohachi about the differences between Kanto and Kansai. Then, the 2023 business report and 2024 business plan were announced with discussion on new workshop ideas. Plans include a lacquer Noh project to be held in November for Noto earthquake recovery.

Photos: Facebook - Shinyusha

On May 11th, the “Japanese tea recommendations: How to enjoy tea according to the situation” online workshop was held. Panelists covered teas for morning, noon and evening such as hoijcha with ginger at night.

Photos: Facebook - Shinyusha
 
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On May 16th, Princess Akiko attended the opening ceremony of the 2024 DUNLOP CUP / 45th National Junior Tennis Championships at Yoshida Memorial Tennis Training Center in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture.

Photo: Facebook - Tennis.TTC

 
On May 19th, Princess Yohko attended the awards and closing ceremony of the 2024 DUNLOP CUP / 45th National Junior Tennis Championships at Yoshida Memorial Tennis Training Center in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture.

Photo: ameblo.jp blog - sakamuratennis
 
Updates from Princess Akiko's cultural organization Shinyusha

On March 30th, the first session of this year’s 3-part cooking class on bento was held. Participants made a cherry blossom bento under the guidance of chef Masato Miyazawa from Kyoto restaurant Doppo: boiled scallops with bamboo shoots, deep-fried lotus root and shrimp.

Photos: Facebook - Shinyusha

On April 20th, Shinyusha held its Reiwa 6 (2024) Annual Meeting and Gratitude Gathering at Kyoto Brighton Hotel. The event began with a talk session between Princess Akiko, embroidery artist Toshiaki Nagakusa and rakugo performer Tatekawa Shinohachi about the differences between Kanto and Kansai. Then, the 2023 business report and 2024 business plan were announced with discussion on new workshop ideas. Plans include a lacquer Noh project to be held in November for Noto earthquake recovery.

Photos: Facebook - Shinyusha

On May 11th, the “Japanese tea recommendations: How to enjoy tea according to the situation” online workshop was held. Panelists covered teas for morning, noon and evening such as hoijcha with ginger at night.

Photos: Facebook - Shinyusha
HIH Princess Akiko certainly seems to be a very active , and involved individual in may aspects of Japanese society .
 
Princess Yuriko turned 101 on June 4 and remains in recovery at St. Luke's International Hospital.

Princess Yuriko, Oldest in Japan's Imperial Family, Turns 101 | Nippon.com
[...] Princess Yuriko is staying at St. Luke's International Hospital in Tokyo from March 3 after being diagnosed with a mild case of cerebral infarction and aspiration pneumonia. She is able to communicate and is rehabilitating such as seating in a wheelchair, but she cannot eat or drink, the agency said.

Buichiro Kuroda, vice head of the agency, said that the organization is paying close attention to the princess given her very old age, although she is in stable condition. [...]
 
:previous: More about Princess Yuriko on the occasion of her 101st birthday:

- According to NHK, Princesses Akiko, Hisako and Tsuguko visited her at the St. Luke's International Hospital today on the occasion of her birthday. Princess Akiko carried a bouquet of flowers.
- Hiroko Mizushima, of the Association for the Promotion of the Culture of Ethnic Costumes, a close friend of Princess Yuriko, who has worked to spread kimono culture for many years and met her at a party to celebrate her 100th birthday last year, said: "This is the 101st birthday. I hope her healing continues and improves. I would be happy if I could see her in good health again. I am deeply grateful for our relationship, and even if only to a small extent, I hope that she will please continue to watch over me forever".

NHK included a photo of Princess Yuriko at the event on her 100th birthday last year in the video in the article:
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Granddaughter Princess Akiko gave an interview to FNN on the occasion of Princess Yuriko's 101st birthday, and said: "She has spent most of her time now, in a wheelchair. Lately, the amount of time she's been able to do things has been increasing little by little, and the number of things she's able to do on her own, like using her hands, has increased".

Article: FNN


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Princess Akiko's June article for "Into Japan Waraku" is about her grandfather Prince Mikasa and Japanese dance.

People incorrectly think she is an expert on Japanese performing arts because she often attends kabuki, noh, and other traditional performances. She has never considered learning such arts. While Princess Akiko has many friends and acquaintances in these areas, it is a different relationship from master and friend to master and student. She has also seen so many great performances that training now would be a frustrating experience.

However, grandfather Prince Mikasa studied Japanese dance. He tried a variety of dance styles, including square dancing, folk dancing, social dancing, ice dancing, and jazz dancing. After retiring from ice dancing, Prince Mikasa at around age 70 began taking lessons in 1989 from a classmate's daughter who was a teacher from the Hanayagi school. He had lessons about twice a month at home. He collected many books and materials about Japanese dance, including 60 reports.

After several months of training, the first performance was held on April 6, 1990, in the dining room of the Mikasa residence, where Prince Mikasa performed three pieces: the Nagauta Fujimusume, the Suehirogi Tarokaja, and Tokimasa, with Princess Yuriko acting as the sound engineer. A proper program was prepared, and a "backstage procedure chart" detailed the timing of turning on the cassette deck, the procedure for opening and closing the door, and how far to rewind the cassette tape. Princess Akiko's cousin Tadahiro Konoe wore a "Press" armband, was in charge of photography, and the friendly but serious atmosphere of the family was endearing.

Source/photos: 「えー!」と思わず声が出たことも。祖父・三笠宮殿下の「日本舞踊」のお姿【彬子女王殿下が次世代に伝えたい日本文化】 | 和樂web 美の国ニッポンをもっと知る!

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Princess Akiko's memoir of her time at Oxford "Red and blue gown: Oxford study abroad record" was republished in April and has become a bestseller, selling over 100,000 copies. She granted an exclusive interview to Fuji TV.

 
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To mark the 12th anniversary of Prince Tomohito’s death, FNN posted an article about the late Prince from its interview with Princess Akiko on her republished and trending Oxford memoir.
  • Emperor Naruhito and her father are Akiko’s "seniors" at Oxford. FNN will share the relationship between Emperor Naruhito and Princess Akiko at a later date.
  • Prince Tomohito repeatedly told Akiko “You’re going to Oxford” while she was growing up.
  • His most enjoyable time was at Oxford and Akiko believes he wanted her to have that experience.
  • When Princess Akiko changed plans and pursued a doctoral program, Prince Tomohito allowed her to extend her study abroad on the condition she publish a “study abroad diary.”
  • He felt the lengthy overseas absence needed justification. As an Imperial family member, she had a duty to properly report on the results of her work to the people who supported her.
  • Prince Tomohito also published a memoir about his time at Oxford at 25 years old. It was her father’s dream they publish a memoir together.
  • When asked what he'd think of the social media buzz recently about her book, Princess Akiko said Prince Tomohito was an extremely analog person and probably wouldn’t understand social media terms.
  • Prince Tomohito didn’t use a computer, writing everything by hand. He mainly communicated with her by letter when she was in the UK. Their exchanges included continuous arguments.
  • FNN’s correspondent Chitose Miyazaki met Akiko 20 years ago during her first study at Oxford. Prince Tomohito said his daughter was obsessed with research and he had no idea what she’s researching. Unlike him, she seems to like studying.
  • Despite such words, he was smiling and his pride was evident.
  • 11 years ago, Chitose Miyazaki interviewed Akiko on the 1st anniversary of Prince Tomohito’s death. She showed Miyazaki a thick file that contained copies of all the letters between father and daughter. Akiko thought about publishing them for a journal someday.
  • For example, Prince Tomohito listed 24 pieces of advice, spanning four A4 pages, about what to keep in mind while studying abroad, such as:
    • British customs
    • tips on improving English
    • dating to heart’s content but no decisions should be made on the spot. Always make sure you consider it again after returning to Japan.
  • strongly urged to be aware of responsibilities as an Imperial family member
  • to lead an honorable study abroad life that would justice to previous family members who studied at Oxford
  • 11 years ago, Princess Akiko could not bring herself to sit in her father’s seat. Now, she sits in it.
Just like her books, Princess Akiko is full of diverse anecdotes and humor. Reporters and cameramen were struggling to swallow their laughter so as not to pick up any unnecessary voices on the microphone. At the end of the hour-long interview, Princess Akiko revealed her current state of mind as follows.

"The weight of being a member of the imperial family has become more apparent the older I get," she said. "I feel more strongly the gratitude and awe that I have been given the opportunity to carry on the baton, and I feel that every day I feel the need to accept it fully and convey it."

Source, photos: FNN
 
Princess Akiko visited Wakayama Prefecture June 9-10 for the Ertugrul Memorial Ceremony in Kushimoto town. The event was hosted by the Turkish Embassy and the Turkish Navy in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Turkey. The Turkish corvette Kinaliada was anchored nearby. It departed Turkey in April and will visit 20 countries by mid-August.

The Ottoman frigate Ertuğrul was shipwrecked and sunk off the coast of Kushimoto in September 1890, killing over 500 people. Local residents rescued 69 people and the event became a point of friendship between the countries. The town holds a memorial ceremony every year on September 16.

Photos/info: Kyodo, Yomiuri, Sankei
Türk-Japon ilişkilerinin 100. yılında Kuşimoto'da “Ertuğrul Fırkateyni” şehitleri anıldı



 
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On June 16th, Princess Akiko attended the 75th Takamatsunomiya Kinen Keirin Cup final in Kishiwada, Osaka Prefecture.

The Princess presented the award to the winner and congratulated him.

Sources/photos/videos: Twitter 1, Twitter 2, Twitter 3, Twitter 4, Facebook

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Princess Akiko gave an interview to Mainichi in early June about her relationship with the UK, her trip to the country and her studies at Oxford. The newspaper article is subject to a fee.

The Princess shared memories of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, speaking about how they supported and reassured her ahead of her departure to the UK, sharing their memories in the country.

The article also features a photo of Princess Akiko during the interview.

Source/photo: Mainichi
 
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Princess Yohko visited Aichi Prefecture June 11-12 for the 34th Toyota Hikari no Sato Support Association General Meeting. She also visited Toyota Motor Corporation's Kamigo Plant, where people with disabilities are employed.

Photos: Livedoor blog - seibin2, netdenjd.com

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Besides Fuji TV and Mainichi, Princess Akiko also gave an interview to Asahi Shimbun on June 3 where she discussed her memoir "Red and Blue Gown: Oxford Study Abroad Diary."

Article requires subscription but some photos and preview are available. She was thrilled seeing her book in stores when it was first published in 2015. There was an impromptu autograph session. Akiko was in line at a bookstore and saw the woman in front was buying her book. Without hesitation, she said "Thank you, I'm the author." The woman was shocked and there was a bit of a panic.

Photos: Asahi, Asahi2
 
Princess Akiko's crowdfunding campaign to support Noto earthquake lacquerware artisans launched on June 19. She also gave a 90-minute interview to Weekly Bunshun about the initiative, which will be released on June 19 and 20.

Preview:
  • Behind her crowdfunding decision, which Princess Akiko said she made without consulting the Imperial Household Agency, were her grandmother Princess Yuriko's "lacquer puzzle" and her father Prince Tomohito's philosophy.
  • "We thought that raising funds through crowdfunding was the only option, so we decided on it without any coordination with the Imperial Household Agency. We thought about many ways to raise funds. We could have visited various companies to raise funds, of course. However, unless the general public knows about lacquer art and the current situation in Wajima, we cannot pass on the lacquer culture to the future. In that sense, we thought that crowdfunding, which reaches as many people as possible, would be the best option."
  • The topics covered were wide-ranging, including the daily struggles of not having a surname or resident registration, the joy of seeing her study abroad diary reprinted many times, and the "teachings" of Sanma Akashiya. She was also asked about the debate over the future of female members of the Imperial family.
  • Warm memories of visiting Shiroyone Senmaida Rice Terraces and local market in Wajima, Ishikawa around 2013.
Photos/sources (full articles require payment):
《1万字インタビュー》三笠宮家の彬子女王「私の使命」 | 週刊文春 電子版
《独占》三笠宮家の彬子さま(42)が語られる「能登支援のクラウドファンディングを始めた理由」 | 文春オンライン

FNN reports the goal is to raise 4 million yen, and donors will receive a message of gratitude from Princess Akiko, as well as works by young lacquer artisans.
 
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More photos of Princess Yōko at her 2019-2024 events:

- with Max Verstappen at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 6th, 2024 (Facebook, also on Instagram)
- with Chef Alessandro Strippoli of L'Opera Italian Restaurant in Myanmar during her visit in December 2019 (Facebook)
 
More photos of Mikasa Princesses during their 2023-2024 events:

- Princess Akiko at Aston Martin's 110th anniversary event at Sensō-ji Temple on November 18th, 2023 (Instagram)
- Princess Akiko at Kamigamo Shrine for the "Shato-no-Gi" ritual on May 15th, 2023 (Instagram, Instagram 2)
- Princess Akiko during Yabusame (mounted archery) at Shimogamo-jinja Shrine on May 3rd, 2023 (Instagram)
- Princess Akiko at the Lipovitan D Challenge Cup 2023 Pacific Nations Series match on July 29th, 2023 (Instagram)
- Princess Nobuko at the opening ceremony of Tokyo Flower Carpet 2024 on May 25th, 2024 (Instagram)
- Princess Nobuko leaving (or arriving?) the 2024 National Red Cross Convention at Meiji Jingu Kaikan on May 15th, 2024 (Instagram)
- Princesses Akiko and Yōko leaving (or arriving?) the New Year's Reception on January 1st, 2024 (Instagram)
- Princess Akiko during the last day and farewell dinner of "La Festa Primavera 2024" in Kyoto on April 22nd, 2024 (Instagram, Instagram 2)
- Princess Akiko at Shimogamo Shrine for the purification ceremony (Misogi-no-gi) of the Aoi Festival on May 4th, 2024 (Instagram, Instagram 2)
- Princess Akiko at Ertugrul Memorial Ceremony in Kushimoto on June 10th, 2024 (Instagram)
- Princess Akiko at the 100th anniversary of Japan-Türkiye diplomatic relations in Tokyo on June 13th, 2024 (Instagram)
 
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The All Japan Super Formula Championship Round 4 Fuji Race (July 20-21) at Fuji Speedway in Shizuoka Prefecture will be held as "Princess Yohko Cup" and renamed the 1st Princess Yohko Cup All Japan Super Formula Championship Round 4 Fuji Race. She will present the trophy.

Source: Superformula press release (Google translation below)
[...] Princess Yohko has made great efforts to promote the development and popularity of the automobile industry, including serving as president of the Tokyo Motor Show and Japan Mobility Show. The receipt of the Queen Yohko Cup this time was made possible by Her Imperial Highness' desire to honor racing athletes who compete in the world at speeds of 300 km/h, and to convey the joy of motorsports and cars to children, who will represent the future.

In recognition of this honor, Fuji Speedway and JRP will continue to work to promote Japanese motorsports entertainment and contribute to the sustainable development of the automotive industry for the future."
JRP = Japan Race Promotion

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On June 22nd, Princess Akiko gave a lecture at the 35th Arinomama Living Welfare Seminar in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. The social welfare corporation provides support for people with disabilities.

Video/photos: TBS, TBC

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More photos of Princess Akiko at the 75th Takamatsunomiya Memorial Cup Keirin G1 Race Final on June 16: cyclowired.jp , morecadence.jp

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Princess Akiko's crowdfunding campaign for Noto lacquer artisans quickly met its initial goal of 4 million yen. Launched on June 19th, the campaign reached 4,657,000 yen as of noon on the 21st with 222 donors. The next goal is 10 million yen.

Source: FNN
 
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On July 7th, Princess Akiko weeded rice fields in Niigata Prefecture with Kokugakuin University students and staff from her cultural organization Shinyusha. The rice workshop is in its 9th year.

Photos: Facebook

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On April 2, 2024, Princess Akiko attended the 8th World Federation Culture and Education Promotion Council Conference at the Hotel Grand Arc Hanzomon in Chiyoda, Tokyo. 60 people attended. After a lecture by swordsmith Shiro Ishida Kunihira, a charity auction was held with proceeds donated to Shinyusha.

Photos: wfm-ce.org
 
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