Profile of Prince Tomohito of Mikasa / 「寬仁親王殿下」プロフィール

Profile of Prince Tomohito of Mikasa
Prince Tomohito of Mikasa was born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1946, the first son of Takahito, Prince Mikasa. He graduated from Gakushuin University in 1968 and studied at Oxford University. After he finished his studies, the Prince focused on four themes: the welfare of the disabled, sports promotion, youth development and international friendship. He was known as an athlete and served as president of the Ski Instructors Association of Japan, becoming known as a pioneer in the coaching of skiing for the disabled. His open character made him popular among the Japanese people, who came to know him as “the Bearded Prince.”
In 1990, Prince Tomohito became honorary president of the Japan Series of World Cycling Championships and led the development of a training system for cyclists. He continued his work even after an operation for cancer of the lower esophagus. In 1995, he published Inochi no Jikan (Time of Life) with Hisae Sawachi, a disabled writer, and Tomiya Yamada, a patient with muscular dystrophy and activist for patients’ rights with Sendai Arinomamasya.
The Prince underwent 16 operations after 1991, but he continued to perform his duties based on his passion for helping disabled athletes. He died on June 6, 2012.
Prince Tomohito is the author of Kozoku no Hitorigoto (Dialogue of the Royal Family), Omoide no Showa Tenno (Showa Emperor in Memory), Ima beru wo nugu Jentoruman no Gokui (Unveiled Secret of a Gentleman) and other books.


Prince Tomohito of Mikasa and bicycle race
During his lifetime, Prince Tomohito of Mikasa focused on four themes: the welfare of the disabled, sports promotion, youth development and international friendship. The man popularly known as “the Bearded Prince” spoke in a casual and familiar manner and made the imperial family seem more accessible to the Japanese people.
Prince Tomohito enjoyed various sports, and worked as president of the Ski Instructors Association of Japan. He was a pioneer in coaching skiing for disabled people.
Prince Tomohito also served as honorary president of the Japan Series of World Cycling Championships in 1990. After that, he worked tirelessly to support cyclists and promote cycling. In particular, the Prince worked for the internationalization of Keirin, a form of bicycle racing, under the slogan “World sport, Keirin!” In 1992, he established the Prince Tomohito Medal Cycling Tournament, and was instrumental in establishing Keirin as a new Olympic sport in Sydney in 2000.
In October 2000, the Prince launched a 12-year strategic project for the 2012 London Olympics. The Japanese team won a silver medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics and a bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Japan’s first international bicycle race, the Prince Tomohito Medal World Grand Prix for track and road racers was established to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Japan Series of the World Cycling Championships in 2009. With the blessing of the Prince, the NPO CSS-CYCLO was founded in April 2011 to support cycling sports in Japan.
It was hoped that the race would be a shot in the arm to Japanese riders hoping to win medals in London in 2012. However, the race did not go ahead due to the Prince’s poor health and the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake in March 2011.
The Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020 will be held in Tokyo. The members of CSS-CYCLO, inspired by our memories of the Prince who would have led us, has begun taking action toward Tokyo 2020, beginning with the Prince Tomohito Memorial World Grand Prix. CSS-CYCLO and its supporters will continue to work for the success of Asia’s largest international cycling race in the memory of Japan’s beloved Prince Tomohito.

Hitoshi Oyamada, Director of NPO CSS-CYCLO


NPO法人 CSSシクロ 代表 小山田 斉