On October 10, Their Royal Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess went on separate visits on the final day of the cultural programme of their visit to Japan.
HRH the Crown Prince re-visited the village Higashi-Matsushima in the northern prefecture Miyagi. In June 2011, HRH the Crown Prince was the first foreign royal to visit the village and the area that had been severely hit by the tsunami in March 2011. During his visit in 2011, HRH the Crown Prince played football with some of the local children and talked to several of the villagers in order to encourage them to keep faith in this difficult situation. The villagers of Higashi-Matsushima were so touched by HRH the Crown Prince’s visit that they have sent the year’s first rice harvest to the Danish Royal Household since 2015, when they were first able to harvest rice again.
On October 10, HRH the Crown Prince was welcomed by countless school children waving Danish flags. He met with the children he had played football with back in 2011 and then played football with some of the younger children. He met with several of the people he had talked to during his previous visit and the reunion joy was great on both sides. The highlight of the day was the visit to the Earthquake Memorial Park, where HRH the Crown Prince paid his respect to the many victims of the 2011 natural disaster. Before leaving, HRH the Crown Prince also participated in Japanese calligraphy, very appropriately drawing the Japanese sign for “Heart”.
HRH the Crown Princess stayed in the Tokyo area to re-visit the Hans Christian Andersen Park in Funabashi. HRH the Crown Princess had previously visited the park during her visit official visit to Japan in 2005, where she was introduced to the park dedicated to the Danish fairy tale writer. The park combines playgrounds, flower displays, Danish goods and an interactive children’s museum in the spirit of H.C. Andersen – and HRH the Crown Princess got to experience all of it during her stay.
Ready to welcome HRH the Crown Princess in the park were 2000 local school children, countless senior citizens and a school for disabled children waving Danish flags and yelling welcome in Japanese, English and Danish. HRH the Crown Princess of course spent a long time greeting the many spectators of different ages before going on with the rest of the programme. During her stay, HRH the Crown Princess, together with Minister for Culture Mette Bock, inaugurated the park’s newest playground and visited booths selling Danish crafts and foods. She was also introduced to the museum’s exhibition, among other things, a nebuta, a giant Japanese paper festival float, in the shape of Rasmus Klump and his ship. An excellent example of combination of Danish and Japanese culture – and the anniversary we celebrate this year.
The Crown Prince Couple ended the day together at the National Archives of Japan where they, together with His Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince of Japan, were guided around the exhibition Japan and Denmark: Valuable Records of the Historical Relation. The exhibition is a part of the 150 years anniversary portfolio and features the original treaty from 1867, which started the Japanese-Danish relationship. The Royal and Imperial Highnesses were joined at the museum by four Danish ministers – Anders Samuelsen, Mette Bock, Esben Lunde Larsen and Ellen Trane Nørby.
The Crown Prince Couple visited Japan from October 8th to October 13th, the first three days with a cultural programme and the latter two days as part of the Danish Business delegation’s visit to Japan to promote Danish export.