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Telling the story of 400 years of British royal contact with Japan

Press Association

Visit of Edward, Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII (1894-1972) to Tokyo 1922

Gelatin silver print | 15.1 x 20.4 cm (image) | RCIN 2000493

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Group photograph showing Crown Prince Hirohito, later Emperor Shōwa (1901-1989), walking in uniform on the left, next to his mother, Empress Teimei (1884-1951), who appears to be chatting to Edward, Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII (1894-1972). On his right is said to be Prince Higashifushimi Yorihito (1867-1922). The man walking behind is probably the translator. This was taken during the Prince of Wales's official visit to Japan in the Spring of 1922, following his successful royal tour of India in 1921-22.

By the time the Prince of Wales arrived in Japan, the Emperor Taishō (1879-1926) had retired from his royal duties due to ill health. Thus, the prince was mainly entertained by the Empress Teimei and the Prince Regent. Many press images of the visit, such as this photograph taken at the Imperial Gardens in Shinjiku, demonstrate the warm hospitality he received. However, the Prince of Wales could communicate with the empress only through an interpreter, and even then their conversations were limited to subjects such as the weather and the cherry blossom.

Text adapted from Japan: Courts and Culture (2020)