Emperor Naruhito of Japan's Life in Photos

hrh crown prince of japan plants cherry tree
Emperor Naruhito's Life in PhotosSean Gallup - Getty Images

When Emperor Naruhito's father, Akihito, unprecedentedly abdicated in 2019, Emperor Naruhito acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne, and his ruling era was named "Reiwa," which translates to “Beautiful Harmony.” He was the first emperor to have studied abroad, doing two years of research at Oxford, and the second, after his father, to marry a commoner.

Emperor Naruhito and his wife, Empress Masako, have one daughter together, Princess Aiko. Since they do not have a son, the throne will pass to Naruhito's nephew, Prince Hisahito, the son of Naruhito's brother, Fumihito. As a result, Fumihito is the Crown Prince.

Here, see photos of Naruhito throughout his life—from black-and-white childhood photos to present-day paparazzi shots.


Naruhito, or Prince Hiro, was born on February 23, 1960, in the Imperial Household Agency Hospital in Tokyo Imperial Palace. He is the eldest son of the former Emperor Akihito and former Empress Michiko.

japan royals naruhito
JIJI PRESS - Getty Images


Here, Prince Hiro holds the hand of his mother, Empress Michiko, who wears a traditional Japanese yukata gown while they walk on the grounds of the Togu Palace in Tokyo.

prince hiro
Keystone - Getty Images


Crown Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko hold Prince Hiro's hand as they walk on the beach in Japan in the summery month of June. Naruhito wears a white hat—both functional and adorable.

hayama beach
Keystone - Getty Images


The day before his third birthday, Prince Hiro poses for an official photo in a traditional kimono. Crane, ocean, and cloud motifs can be seen on the opulent cloth.

prince hiro's birthday
Keystone - Getty Images


Prince Hiro pushes a bicycle he just received for his fifth birthday.

le prince heritier du japon naruhito
Keystone-France - Getty Images


Prince Naruhito wears the uniform and the cap of his primary school, Gakushuin, as he walks around a field.

japanese crown prince naruhito wearing his school uniform in 1966
Keystone-France - Getty Images


In this precious photo, Prince Hiro paddles a wooden boat with his hands at the Children's Land playground in Yokohama.

prince hiro
Keystone - Getty Images


Prince Hiro confidently rides his horse in the park of the Togu Palace. Reportedly, he was able to jump over relatively low obstacles on horseback.

japanese crown prince naruhito riding in 1969
Keystone-France - Getty Images


The Crown Princess Michiko gazes lovingly at two of her children, Prince Hiro and Princess Nori, as they sit on an elevated tree branch in the park of the Togu Palace in Tokyo. Michiko wears a traditional yukata.

crown princess michiko and children
Keystone - Getty Images


Prince Hito practices the violin at Togu Palace. He continued playing multiple string instruments throughout his life, taking inspiration from his cellist father, Akihito, and his mother, Michiko, an accomplished pianist.

prince hiro
Keystone - Getty Images


Here, Prince Hiro plays tennis with Emperor Akihito, who loves the sport dearly, around the time of Hiro's 13th birthday at Togu Palace.

japanese royalty at tennis
Keystone - Getty Images


Prince Hiro and the late Japanese Ambassador Shigeru Yoshida arrive in Sydney on their way to Melbourne for an unofficial two-week visit.

prince naruhito
Fairfax Media Archives - Getty Images


Tomohide Gomi, Honorary Professor of Tokyo University, lectured Prince Hiro on the 'Manyoshu' poetry anthology for his 17th birthday.

prince hiro
Keystone - Getty Images


Prince Hiro wears the coronet presented to him during his coming-of-age ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

prince hiro
Keystone - Getty Images


Prince Hiro, 26, escorts Diana, Princess of Wales, at Shugakuin in Kyoto.

royalty prince and princess of wales tour of japan
PA Images - Getty Images


Pictured here are Crown Prince Naruhito, no longer Prince Hiro, and Masako Owada, the second commoner to marry into the imperial lineage, during their official engagement at Togu Palace in Toyko.

prince naruhito and masako owada at togu palace in tokyo, japan on april 28, 1993
Kurita KAKU - Getty Images


Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan and his future wife Masako Owada pose for photographs in traditional Japanese dress a couple of days prior to their wedding.

crown prince naruhito and crown princess masako to mark 11th wedding anniversary
getty images - Getty Images


Following their 13-minute private wedding ceremony on June 9, the newlywed Crown Prince Naruhito and the Crown Princess Masako bow before Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the Imperial Palace, expressing their gratitude.

crown prince naruhito and crown princess masako to mark 11th wedding anniversary
getty images - Getty Images


The two newlyweds pose for a post-wedding photograph. Masako wears a stunning diamond tiara and necklace set, while Naruhito wears a red sash and emblem symbolizing his imperial status.

the newly wed crown prince naruhito l and his wi


As part of a performance of "Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini for Piano and Orchestra" by the Gakushuin Orchestra, Crown Prince Naruhito played the viola.

japan crown prince
Pool - Getty Images


Crown Prince Naruhito And Crown Princess Masako leave the Imperial Hospital one week after the birth of their infant daughter, Princess Aiko.

crown prince naruhito and crown princess masako as the royal couple leaves the imperial hospital with their infant daughter princess aiko in tokyo, japan on december 08, 2001
Kurita KAKU - Getty Images


Crown Prince Naruhito holds his daughter, Princess Aiko, as they arrive, with Crown Prince Masako, at the Tokyo station after a week-long vacation.

japanese royal family
Koichi Kamoshida - Getty Images


The imperial couple spent a four-day visit to New Zealand, where they hiked, surrounded by beautiful nature, learned about indigenous traditions, and met with the country's officials. Pictured behind Naruhito and Masako is Bowen Falls.

their imperial highnesses crown prince natuhito an
Barry Harcourt - Getty Images


At a garden party in Tokyo, the imperial family, including Empress Michiko, Emperor Akihito, Crown Prince Naruhito, and Crown Princess Masako, walk down the garden at Akasaka imperial garden. The women are seen here in traditional kimono.

japan royal emperor garden party
Yuriko Nakao - Getty Images


Crown Prince Naruhito smiled as he took a picture of the photographers in Lisbon during his five-day trip to Portugal. Later during the visit, he attended the royal wedding of Crown Prince Felipe of Spain.

portugal japan naruhito
MIGUEL RIOPA - Getty Images


Crown Prince Naruhito, Crown Princess Masako, and their daughter, Princess Aiko, visit Oku-Shigakogen Ski Resort In Okushigakogen, where they huddle in an igloo.

princess aiko, crown prince naruhito, crown princess masako visit oku shigakogen ski resort in okushigakogen, japan on february 22, 2005
Kurita KAKU - Getty Images


In this picture released by the Imperial Household Agency, the family, dressed in shades of purple, picks mandarin oranges together during a stroll through their Togu Palace residence garden in Tokyo.

japan's princess aiko in tokyo, japan on november 30, 2005
Pool Interagences - Getty Images


During a visit to the archaeological ruins of Uxmal in the state of Yucatan, Naruhito, in a straw, cowboy hat, smiles for the camera.

japan's crown prince naruhito poses for
Stringer - Getty Images


For Father's Day, Crown Prince Naruhito accompanied his daughter, Princess Aiko, to the open house classes at her school, the Gakushuin Kindergarten.

japan royal father
ITSUO INOUYE - Getty Images


The proud parents teach their daughter, Princess Aiko, how to write kanji, the characters used in Japanese writing.

princess aiko practices how to write kanji, or chinese characters used in japanese writing in tokyo, japan on november 22, 2009
Kurita KAKU - Getty Images


Adorned with his imperial emblems, Naruhito attends the Wedding of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Daniel Westling in Stockholm, Sweden.

wedding of swedish crown princess victoria daniel westling arrivals
Dominique Charriau - Getty Images


The mother, father, daughter, dog, and cat pose in their residence for an official family portrait.

japanese royal photo session
Kurita KAKU - Getty Images


In the gardens of Bellevue Palace in Berlin, Germany, Crown Prince Naruhito and German President Christian Wulff plant a cherry tree together during the Japanese Prince's two-day visit to Germany.

hrh crown prince of japan plants cherry tree
Sean Gallup - Getty Images


Naruhito and Masako, in royal garb, attend the abdication of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and the Inauguration of King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands in Amsterdam.

inauguration of king willem alexander as queen beatrix of the netherlands abdicates
Pascal Le Segretain - Getty Images


Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan, Prince Felipe of Spain, and Princess Letizia of Spain take a picture together in Madrid during Naruhito's six-day official visit to Spain. This trip reinforces the 400th anniversary of bilateral ties between the nations.

spanish royals and japanese crown prince naruhito attend dinner gala
Carlos R. Alvarez - Getty Images


During his visit to Spain, Prince Naruhito visits students in a classroom at Vicente Neria in Coria del Rio in Sevilla, Spain.

crown prince naruhito visits seville
Pool - Getty Images


Naruhito, in casual working-out clothes, jogs around the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, two days before his 55th birthday.

japan royals
KAZUHIRO NOGI - Getty Images


French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito at the Chateau de Versailles in France. Naruhito is visiting France to celebrate the 160th anniversary of signing the first diplomatic and trade treaty between France and Japan.

french president emmanuel macron receives crown prince naruhito of japan at chateau de versailles
Chesnot - Getty Images


The Crown Prince becomes Emperor on October 22. Pictured here, Emperor Naruhito gives a speech during the ceremony while dressed in traditional garb at the Imperial Palace.

API - Getty Images


Emperor Naruhito attends the Diet session, the parliament of Japan.

le nouvel empereur naruhito
Katsumi KASAHARA - Getty Images


Two days before Emperor Naruhito's 60th birthday, Naruhito gave a speech at a press conference marking the 75th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War Two. He expressed "deep remorse" over Japan's wartime past, hoping for world peace.

emperor naruhito of japan turns 60
Pool - Getty Images


Governor Ganjar Pranowo showed the beauty of the Borobudur temple to Emperor Naruhito in Magelang, Central Java.

indonesia japan diplomacy royals
DEVI RAHMAN - Getty Images


Upon welcoming Kenya's President William Ruto to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako smiled; Masako was in a traditional kimono, and Naruhito was in a classic suit.

japan kenya diplomacy royal
KAZUHIRO NOGI - Getty Images


Following the example of the ex-Emperor Akihito and ex-Emperor Michiko, Naruhito and Masako bow to pay their respects to the damage done due to a large-scale fire following a 7.5 magnitude earthquake on New Year's Day in the city of Wajima, Ishikawa prefecture.

topshot japan quake royals
JAPAN POOL - Getty Images

You Might Also Like