Yoshihito, Prince Katsura

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Prince Katsura
Prince Yoshi.jpg
Born (1948-02-11)11 February 1948
Kamiōsaki, Shinagawa, Tokyo, Japan
Died 8 June 2014(2014-06-08) (aged 66)
University of Tokyo Hospital, Tokyo, Japan
Burial 17 June 2014
Toshimagaoka Imperial Cemetery, Bunkyo, Tokyo
Full name
Yoshihito (宜仁)
House Imperial House of Japan
Father Takahito, Prince Mikasa
Mother Yuriko Takagi

Yoshihito, Prince Katsura (桂宮宜仁親王, Katsura-no-miya Yoshihito Shinnō, 11 February 1948 – 8 June 2014) was a member of the Imperial House of Japan and the second son of Takahito, Prince Mikasa and Yuriko, Princess Mikasa. He was a first cousin of Emperor Akihito. Originally known as Prince Yoshihito of Mikasa, he received the title Prince Katsura (Katsura-no-miya) and authorization to start a new branch of the Imperial Family on 1 January 1988 at age 39. He died of a heart attack on 8 June 2014, aged 66.

Early life and education

Prince Yoshihito (second from right) with (from left to right) his brother Prince Tomohito, his mother Princess Mikasa, and his sister Princess Yasuko, c. 1950

The Prince was born at the Mikasa Family Home at Kamiōsaki, Shinagawa, Tokyo.

He graduated from the Department of Political Studies in the Faculty of Law of Gakushuin University in 1971. Between 1971 and 1973, he studied at the Graduate School of the Australian National University, in Canberra, Australia. After his return to Japan, he worked as an administrator at the Japan Broadcasting Corporation from 1974 to 1985.

Public service

In 1982, the Prince returned to Australia as part of the Japanese delegation in honor of the tenth anniversary of the Australia-Japan Society. He also visited New Zealand to strengthen ties and friendly diplomatic relations. Despite his disabilities following a series of strokes in 1988, he took an active role in public service, and appeared regularly at award ceremonies, diplomatic events, and as President of various charity organizations.

In July 1997, Prince Katsura again visited Australia, to help promote an exhibition of the traditional sport of sumo, with exhibition matches held in Sydney and Melbourne.

Health issues and death

Prince Katsura suffered a series of strokes in May 1988 and had surgery for acute subdural hematoma.[1] Finally he became paralyzed from the waist down, forcing him to use a wheelchair.[2] Despite this, he remained active in public life and appeared regularly at award ceremonies, diplomatic events, and as president of various charity organizations. However, he had been hospitalized on and off since 2008 due to sepsis.[1][2] In early 2014, the Prince was diagnosed with an unspecified illness that affected and deteriorated his heart. In the early morning hours of 8 June 2014, he suffered a massive heart attack, and despite best efforts he was pronounced dead at 10:50 AM local time. He was 66 years old.[3][4] On 17 June 2014, the main funeral service for Prince Katsura, called "Renso no Gi", was held at Toshimagaoka Imperial Cemetery in Tokyo.[5] About 560 dignitaries including the members of Imperial Family attended the funeral. Prince and Princess Mikasa, Prince Katsura's parents, acted out the duty of chief mourners and his niece, Princess Akiko, hosted the ceremony.[6]


Prince Katsura never married and left no legitimate children. As his brothers only had daughters themselves, his death marked the end of his father's branch of the Imperial Family and also his own branch. As a result, the number of households in the Imperial family dropped to four, excluding those led by Emperor Akihito and Crown Prince Naruhito. He was survived by his parents.[7]

Titles and styles

Styles of
Prince Katsura
Katura no miya mon
Reference style His Imperial Highness
Spoken style Your Imperial Highness
  • 11 February 1948 – 1 January 1988: His Imperial Highness Prince Yoshihito of Mikasa
  • 1 January 1988 – 8 June 2014: His Imperial Highness The Prince Katsura




Honorary positions

  • President of the Japan Australia New Zealand Society, Inc.
  • President of the Agricultural Society of Japan
  • President of the Japan Forestry Association
  • President of the Japan Art Crafts Association
  • President of the Japanese Urushi Craft•Art Association



  1. ^ a b "Emperor's cousin, Prince Katsura, dies at 66". Japan Today. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Prince Yoshihito died". imperialfamilyjapan.wordpress.com. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  3. ^ "Japan's prince Katsura, cousin of Emperor Akihito, dies at 66". The Straits Times. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Prince Katsura, cousin of Emperor Akihito, dies at 66". The Japan Times. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  5. ^ "Funeral held for Prince Katsura". The Japan Times. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  6. ^ "Funeral held for emperor's cousin, Prince Katsura". Japan Today. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  7. ^ Prince Katsura's death marks the end of his branch of the Imperial Family
  8. ^ Italian Presidency Archived 28 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine, S.A.I. Yoshihito di Mikasa Principe del Giappone

External links

  • His Imperial Highness Prince Katsura at the Imperial Household Agency website
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