Imperial Visits

Prince Takamatsu (1905–1987) and Princess Takamatsu (1911–2004) visited Chicago in 1931 during their fourteen-month tour of Europe and the United States (which substituted for a proper honeymoon). The younger brother of Emperor Hirohito, Prince Takamatsu was charged with making official visits to strengthen relations between Imperial Japan and powerful Western nations like Britain and Germany. The Daily Maroonreported that the couple had stopped by the campus to meet with students from Japan.

In 1965 the University welcomed three more visitors from Japan’s imperial family: Prince Mikasa (1915–2016) and Princess Mikasa (b. 1923), with their eldest daughter Princess Yasuko (b. 1944). They traveled to the United States for cultural purposes rather than with a diplomatic agenda, and the campus visit required discretion to keep it unofficial. The prince being a scholar of the ancient Middle East, the Oriental Institute was a natural choice for his campus tour. The University Archives preserves a letter inviting him back to teach courses on the ancient Middle East, but there is no record that this offer ever came to anything.   

In 1975 Emperor Hirohito (1901–1989) and Empress Nagako (1903–2000) toured the United States, an excursion highly publicized as a manifestation of the refortified Japan–U.S. relationship. As evidenced in other exhibit cases, Mr. Kasai and two Japanese-studies professors at the University worked behind the scenes to have Chicago included in their itinerary. During their stay in Chicago, the empress made a brief visit to the Silvain and Arma Wyler Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago to observe a play-therapy session.