was the third son of HIM Emperor Taishō (Yoshihito) and HIM Empress Teimei and a younger brother of the HIM Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito). He became heir to the Takamatsu-no-miya , one of the four shinnōke or branches of the imperial family entitled to inherit the Chrysanthemum throne in default of a direct heir. From the mid-1920s until the end of World War II, Prince Takamatsu pursued a career in the Japanese Imperial Navy, eventually rising to the rank of captain. Following the war, the prince became patron or honorary president of various organizations in the fields of international cultural exchange, the arts, sports, and medicine. He is mainly remembered for his philanthropic activities as a member of the Japanese imperial family.
Nobuhito was born at the Aoyama Palace in Tokyo to
then-Crown Prince Yoshihito and Crown Princess Sadako.
childhood appellation was Teru no miya
(Prince Teru). Like
his elder brothers, Prince Hirohito and Prince Yasuhito
, he attended the boy's
elementary and secondary departments of the Peers' School (Gakushuin
). When Prince Arisugawa Takehito
(1862 - 1913), the
tenth head of the collateral imperial house
of Arisugawa-no-miya, died without a male heir, Emperor Taishō
placed Prince Nobuhito in the house. The name of the house reverted
to the original Takamatsu-no-miya. The new Prince Takamatsu was a
fourth cousin, four times removed of Prince Takehito.
Prince Takamatsu attended the Imperial Japanese Naval
from 1922 to 1925. He received a commission as a
sub-lieutenant (second class) in December 1925 and took up duties
aboard the battleship Fusō
. He was promoted
to sub-lieutenant (first class) the following year after completed
the course of study at the Torpedo School. The prince studied at
the Naval Aviation School at Kasumigaura in 1927 and the Naval Gunnery School at Yokosuka in 1930 - 1931.
In 1930, he was
promoted to lieutenant
(first class) and
attached to Imperial Japanese Navy
in Tokyo. He became a squadron commander of
two years later and
subsequently was reassigned to the Fusō
. Prince Takamatsu
graduated from the Naval Staff
in 1936, after having been promoted to lieutenant commander
. He was promoted
to the rank of commander
in September 1940
and finally to captain
in 1942. From
1936 to 1945, he held various staff positions in the Naval General
Staff Office in Tokyo.
On February 4, 1930, Prince Takamatsu married Tokugawa Kikuko
1911 - December 17, 2004), the second daughter of Prince Tokugawa Yoshihisa
(peer). The bride was
a paternal granddaughter of Tokugawa
, the last Shōgun
, and the
maternal granddaughter of the late Prince Arisugawa Takehito.
Prince and Princess Takamatsu had no children.
The Second World War
1930s, Prince Takamatsu expressed grave reservations regarding
Japanese aggression in Manchuria and the
decision to wage war on the United States.
In 1991, his wife Princess
and an aide discovered a twenty-volume diary, written
in Prince Takamatsu's own hand between 1934 and 1947. Despite opposition
from the entrenched bureaucrats of the Imperial
Household Agency, she gave the diary to the magazine Chūōkōron which published
excerpts in 1995.
revealed that Prince Takamatsu bitterly opposed the Kwantung Army's incursions in Manchuria in September 1931, the expansion of the
July 1937 Marco Polo Bridge Incident into a full-scale war of aggression against
China and in November 1941 warned his brother, Hirohito that the Imperial Japanese Navy could not
sustain hostilities for longer than two years against United
States. He urged Emperor Shōwa to seek peace after
the Japanese naval defeat at the Battle of Midway in 1942; an intervention which apparently caused a
severe rift between the brothers.
After the Battle of Saipan
1944, Prince Takamatsu joined his mother Empress Teimei
, his uncles Prince Higashikuni
, Prince Asaka
, former prime minister Konoe Fumimaro
, and other aristocrats, in
seeking the ouster of the prime
, Tojo Hideki
After the surrender
After the war, Prince Takamatsu became the honorary president of
various charitable, cultural and athletic organizations including
the Japan Fine Arts Society, the Denmark-Japan Society, the
France-Japan Society, the Tofu Society for the Welfare of Leprosy
Patients, the Sericulture Association, the Japan Basketball
Association, and the Saise Welfare Society. He also served as a
patron of the Japanese Red Cross
In 1975, the Bungei Sunjū
published a long
interview with Takamatsu in which he told of the warning he made to
his brother Hirohito on November 30, 1941, the warning he made to
him after Midway and that, before the surrender, he and Prince
Konoe had considered asking for the emperor's abdication. The
interview implied that the emperor had been a firm supporter of the
Greater East Asia War
the prince was not.
In 1991, Princess Takamatsu and an aide discovered a twenty-volume
diary, written in Prince Takamatsu's own hand between 1934 and
diary, which the magazine Chuo
Koron obtained, revealed the late prince had opposed the
Kwantung Army's incursions in Manchuria in September 1931 and the expansion of
the July 1937 Marco Polo Bridge Incident into a full-scale war against China.
Prince Takamatsu died of lung cancer
February 3, 1987 at The Red Cross Medical Center in Tokyo. His
remains were buried at Tokyo's Toshimagaoka Cemetery.
Kase Hideaki, Takamatsu no miya kaku katariki
shunjû, February 1975, pp.193, 198, 200