Takahito, Prince Mikasa, who was the oldest living royal, has died of cardiac arrest at the age of 100, the Imperial Household Agency has confirmed. He was the youngest brother of Emperor Hirohito and the uncle of the current Emperor Akihito.
He was born on 2 December 1915 as Prince Takahito and the fourth son of Emperor Taisho. He graduated from the Military Academy in 1936 and served in the cavalry regiment. He graduated from the Military Staff College in 1941 and served as an Imperial Japanese Army officer under a pseudonym in 1943. He was a major when the Second World War ended. fter the war he studied Ancient Oriental history and taught at several universities. As the only living member of the Japanese Imperial family with military experience, he was a great advocate for peace.
On 22 October 1941, Prince Mikasa married Yuriko Takagi and they had five children. He has long suffered from heart problems and he underwent surgery for this in 2012. He recovered from this surgery but suffered acute pneumonia in May of this year. He remained in hospital due to a weakened heart function. His condition suddenly deteriorated and he died at 8.34am. He had been fifth in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne at the time of his death. There are now only four men remaining in the line of succession.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his condolences over Prince Mikasa’s death in a statement read out by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga at a news conference Thursday morning.
Prince Mikasa “supported his elder brother (Emperor Hirohito) as well as the current Emperor, contributing to the peace of the country and the welfare of its people,” the statement said.
He is survived by his wife, who is 93, two daughters and nine grandchildren. His three sons all predeceased him.
A date for his funeral will be announced at a later time.