imperial drive by


Emperor Akihito paid a visit to the Osaka University campus today, the first time in history that a Japanese Emperor has ever visited Osaka University.  I’m not 100% sure what the reason for the visit was, but apparently it involved a talk given by the Emperor concerning his scholarly interests, which may or may not be related to an exhibit about the founding of Osaka University.  It may seem strange to think of the Emperor of Japan having “scholarly interests,” but the imperial family is very well educated.  Prince Akishino, for example, has a PhD in ornithology.  His doctoral dissertation is titled “Molecular Phylogeny of Jungle Fowls, genus Gallus and Monophyletic Origin of Domestic Fowls.”

Security was relatively tight, with several of the main roads through campus closed to traffic for significant portions of the afternoon.  Classes were held as usual, however, although you needed a university picture ID to get onto the campus grounds.  The visit itself was kept hush hush, with no reason given on the signs that announced the enhanced security measures and maps of the street closures on campus for why these special measures were being taken.  Still, even though the visit was never publicly announced, everyone on campus seemed to know about it well in advance.  Word travels fast.  I took these photos from one of the many special standing areas that were set up for the viewing of the imperial motorcade.  The Emperor — who wore an impeccably unchanging expression of friendly benignity as the motorcade drifted by —  is clearly well practiced in the smile-and-wave department.


4 Responses to “imperial drive by”

  1. Last year, as I think you know, I took a trip to Cambodia. On my first visit to Angkor Wat a big group of Japanese suits turned up suddenly. I asked one of the local touts and was promptly told of the immanent arrival of the ‘Japanese King’.

    Sure enough 10 minutes later a huge Toyota motorcade arrived and out stepped the Crown Prince (not the ‘King’) with his Canon D-SLR in hand.

    I snapped a shot or two on my camera and left. Later in the afternoon I popped into Bayon for the second time as I was expecting great light and the same suits reappeared.

    I waited around with two girls from Osaka and had a wonderful 30 minutes or so with the Cambodia drivers and it was worth it because we were eventually treated to a smile and a personal wave from the Crown Prince as he left the temple.

    I’ll show you the photos when you visit if you like.

    • 2 Trane DeVore

      Get those photos out! I’m coming to Ikuyama . . .

      • Inuyama :-)

      • 4 Trane DeVore

        I knew that!

        I’ve been catching up on emails all day, so fast typing and a tired brain likely got the best of me. I’d like to think that it’s really because I’m so excited to visit Inuyama that I was thinking 行きたい! to myself and the verb worked its way into the place name.

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