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Indiana University

A Md. man's chance meeting of Japan's Crown Prince Akihito in 1953

A Md. man's chance meeting of Japan's Crown Prince Akihito in 1953

Late last month, Japan’s emperor Akihito abdicated his supreme office because of increasing ill health. Thus ends his 30-year reign on the Chrysanthemum Throne, the world’s oldest continuing monarchy.

I had the good fortune to meet Akihito more than 60 years ago at Haverford College at the beginning of my senior year. It was Sept. 15, 1953, and the 19-year old crown prince was in the United States en route home after representing his country at the coronation in Westminster Abbey of Queen Elizabeth II. My job was to welcome Akihito on behalf of Haverford’s student body. It was a perfunctory duty, perfunctorily performed. But for me it was a tiny tug at history’s sleeve.

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