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

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

by

non-fiction, , japan, Autobiography, Cultural

(from back cover)
From the Foreword

'The Thames and I is a charming and unusual memoir. Both Prince Naruhito's father and grandfather had visited Britain when they had been Crown Prince. But no-one in direct succession to the throne of Japan had ever studied outside Japan Before, let alone at a British university. A Prince's life is one of privilege but also, inevitably, one marked by custom and constraint. A student's life is very different. His Highness evokes the life of the University, and particularly his college, with engaging detail and a sensitive memory for his impressions at the time.'


(from front flap)
Translated by the late Hugh Cortazzi and first published in hardback in 2006, this reprint in paperback is published to mark the ascent to Japan's imperial throne in 2019 of Crown Prince Naruhito.

Prior to becoming Crown Prince in 1989, following the death of his grandfather Emperor Showa, Prince Naruhito studied at Merton College, Oxford (featured), from June 1983 to October 1985. His research topic was the history and functioning of the River Thames, Britain's second longest river, as a commercial highway in the period 1750–1800. The Prince's two years at Oxford marked the first time that anyone in direct succession to the throne had ever studied outside Japan.

In 1993, he published a record of his time at Oxford under the title Thames to tomo ni. The memoir, which includes a colour plate section incorporating photographs taken by the Prince, explores his daily life, studies and recreational experiences, including discovering beer and being banned from entering a disco because he was wearing jeans.

The Thames and I is the first autobiographical work of a future Japanese emperor to be published in English. It will be welcomed by those with a special interest in Japan as well as the wider readership seeking greater insight into the man who will occupy the Chrysanthemum throne.


(from Amazon UK)
Hardback published 2006; softback reprint published to mark ascendancy to imperial throne in 2019. Became Crown Prince of Japan in 1989, on death of his grandfather Emperor Showa, Prince Naruhito studied at Merton College, Oxford, 1983–1985. This marked the first time that anyone in direct succession to the throne had ever studied outside Japan.

Title:The Thames and I: A Memoir of Two Years at Oxford
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781898823988
Format Type:

    The Thames and I: A Memoir of Two Years at Oxford Reviews

  • Soupko

    Perhaps for obvious reasons, this memoir does not delve too deeply into topics that often feature in personal accounts - e.g. relationships, or self-reflection. It rather skims the surface as a brief ...

  • A.

    The Thames and I is a delightful memoir of Emperor Naruhito's time studying at Merton College, Oxford in the 1980s. Much of the text is derived from the English language diaries he kept for writing pr...

  • Einar Engström

    Just a really fun and intriguing look into culture clash and British high society. Probably the best memoir I’ve had the pleasure of reading....

  • 8Percent Erik

    It shouldn't be overlooked that this book is a historical oddity, we rarely get any insight out of Japan's Imperial line apart from staged speeches and the occasional postmortem released poetry. With ...