The Thames And I: A Memoir of Two Years at Oxford

By Prince Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan
(translated by Sir Hugh Cortazzi)
Global Oriental Publishing and The Japan Society, 2006
ISBN: 1-905246-06-4, pp150.

Please note this edition is no-longer available. For more information and to buy the new edition at special discounted price please see here.

In the mid-1980s Crown Prince Naruhito spent two years at Merton College Oxford, where he studied the history of transport on the river Thames. The Thames and I, translated by Sir Hugh Cortazzi and published in 1993, comprises the Prince’s reminiscences and recollections on his life and experiences during those years. The account of English university life he provides is both engaging and sensitive; offering an exceptionally rare glimpse into the personal life of a man whose privacy is usually closely guarded. His memoirs not only offer a rich account of academia at Oxford University, but convey a time of personal leisure and unparalleled freedom away from the public spotlight. In addition to detailing the preparation of his thesis, he tells of his love of photography and tennis and discusses his social life in the city. The Prince was clearly captivated with Oxford and life in England, stating that “this had been a happy time for me – perhaps I should say the happiest time of my life.” (p142) This book is a poignant contribution to cross-cultural analysis and also an exceptional insight into the profile of Prince Naruhito.


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