Prince Takamado 1954-2002
Known in Japan as the "Canadian Prince", His Imperial Highness Prince Takamado was a cousin of HIH Emperor Akihito and seventh in line to the Chrysanthemum throne. After studying and graduating from the Department of Law in the Faculty of Law of Gakushuin University in 1978, Prince Takamado came to Canada to perfect his English. He did so by taking classes at Queen's University in Kingston from 1978 to 1981. It was there that he met Dr. Roderick Fraser, who later became the President of the University of Alberta. It was their long-standing friendship and the Prince's fondness for Canadian post-secondary education that led to discussions about naming the Japan Centre in his honour.
Prince Takamado worked for the Japan Foundation from 1978 until his death and dedicated himself to the promotion of Japanese language and culture throughout the world. He and his Princess were well-known for their patronage of the performing arts and for their support of education and the environment.
When accepting an honourary degree from the University of Alberta, Princess Takamado related the Prince's fondess for Canada. "For my late husband, Canada was a really special country," said the princess. "It was the first time that he had travelled outside of Japan, and it was the first time that he had lived away from home. It was indicative of the warmth of the Canadian people that he felt so comfortable that he extended his stay from the original two, to three years. He never ceased to talk about how happy he had been.
"I have always believed that the basis of his way of life - you might call it his philosophy - owed much to his education in Canada."
Prince Takamado passed away on November 21, 2002. He was only 47 years old.