The Japanese Imperial Family and Oxford University


The Japanese Imperial Family and Oxford University

Members of the Japanese Royal Family have been studying at Oxford since the 1920s.

The first member of the Imperial Family to attend Oxford was Prince Chichibu. He went to England in 1925 to study at Magdalene College. The prince’s studies were cut short in 1927 when he had to return to Japan after his father became ill. 

The next Japanese royal to go to Oxford was Emperor Tomohito. From 1968 to 1970, he studied Far-Eastern International Relations at Magdalene College, where he was a member of the rowing team.

The current Emperor of Japan, Emperor Naruhito, studied at Merton College in the 1980s. He wrote a book about his time at the university: ‘The Thames and I: A Memoir of Two Years at Oxford’. He played tennis for the university team and enjoyed going to the many pubs around the city.

The emperor’s younger brother, Prince Akishino, wanted to go to Oxford but was initially turned down by the Imperial Household Agency. However, in 1988 he went on to study the taxonomy of fish at St John’s College.

Empress Masako studied International Relations as a postgraduate at Balliol College from 1988 to 1990 before becoming a diplomat. She was the cox on an otherwise all-male rowing team.

The emperor’s niece, Princess Akiko, has completed two degrees at Oxford. She spent a year of her Bachelor’s at Merton College, studying Japanese Art History. She then returned to Oxford in 2004 as a doctoral student, passing her final examination in 2010.

  • Royal Family・・皇室
  • Prince・・王子
  • cut short・・中断する
  • become ill・・病気になる
  • Far-Eastern International Relations・・極東国際関係
  • The Thames・・テムズ川
  • the Imperial Household Agency・・宮内庁
  • taxonomy of fish ・・魚類の分類学
  • postgraduate・・大学院
  • diploma・・外交官
  • cox・・コックス(ボートでクルーのまとめ役をする人)
  • emperor’s niece・・天皇陛下の姪
  • Bachelor・・学部
  • doctoral student・・博士課程の生徒
  • pass・・通過する


皇族で最初にオックスフォードに通ったのは、秩父宮雍仁親王(ちちぶのみや やすひとしんのう)でした。彼は1925年にイギリスのモードリン・カレッジに留学しました。しかし、1927年に父の病気のために日本に帰国しなければならなくなったため、オックスフォード大学での勉強は中断されました。



天皇の弟の秋篠宮文仁親王(あきしののみや ふみひとしんのう)はオックスフォード大学への進学を希望したが、当初は宮内庁に断られた。しかし、1988年にセント・ジョンズ・カレッジで魚類の分類学を学ぶことになりました。




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