Dedication to Royal Personality - Prince Takamado- 27 th November 2002

Personal Association with the Prince

  It is with the deepest regret that we learned of the sudden death of Prince Takamado of Japan. The 47 year old prince collapsed while playing squash at the Canadian Embassy. Takamado, also honorary president of the Japan Football Association, attended the May 31 opening ceremony in Seoul for this year's World Cup soccer finals co-hosted by Japan and South Korea. He was the first among the imperial family to be officially invited by the South Korean government. A graduate of Gakushuin University, he studied at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada from 1978 to 1981. From 1981, the Prince began working part-time for the Japan Foundation.

Prince Takamado married Hisako Tottori in December 1984. A photography buff, he recently published a collection of photos and essays titled ‘Sugao No Toki' (An Instance of Real Life ) drawn from his visits abroad. He was an authority on ballet, regularly writing reviews of performances. Princess Hisako studied at Cambridge University in England.

Personal Association with the Prince

The Prince heard Chandrakant play a concert at the India/Japan 50 years diplomatic relations event in Tokyo. It was a memorable evening with the ambassador, diplomats and guests enjoying music, dance and food. When the Prince heard Chandrakant play, he said to the ambassador that he had wanted such a teacher. He requested Chandrakant contact the embassy . The Prince was so keen and wondered why the teacher did not contact him; nevertheless, he requested a meeting as soon as possible. Eventually a visit by Chandrakant to the Prince was arranged. Chandrakant was collected by a diplomat, taken to the Prince's residence and directed to the room where the Prince was waiting.  

The Prince made himself completely available. He had his sitar ready. Seated together on couches we started talking with the Prince; a diplomat, Chandrakant and myself being present. The Prince showed exhaustive knowledge of traditional music as he himself could play a number of instruments. He asked interesting questions such as: "How did Indian music get promoted?”. Chandrakant answered "Kings were supporting music". He then asked: "How will a one-hundred-years old sitar sound ?", "How to play?", "How to tune?" and so on . Chandrakant took out his sitar and demonstrated how to hold the instrument. He then started tuning the sitar. The prince was very keen and absorbed in every action.

It is an imperial code to sit in a respectable position when in the presence of royalty. At this point Chandrakant sat on the floor and the prince on a chair. When Chandrakant finished tuning his sitar, to our surprise, the Prince also sat with him on the floor and took up his position with the sitar, immediately sitting in a perfect posture. Chandrakant showed him where to place his hand. The Prince showed a deep seriousness about the sitar . Various people came in and out of the room, but it was obvious the Prince did not want to be disturbed. He spent two and half hours with Chandrakant. The room was filled with an air of music. At the conclusion of this time the Prince came with us all the way to the porch to bid farewell. This is very rare for the Royal family. He then shook hands, walked to the car and waved good-bye . We felt a warm and deep affection from the Prince's handshake.

It was very saddening to hear about the death of Prince Takamado . On the day we heard this news, in the morning I had spoken to a secretary about a schedule of sitar lessons for the Prince. We were told he would call back, however, no call came. Then we heard the news that the Prince had fallen down. We requested an appointment with the Princess for condolences.

Apparently on the day the lesson had been completed with Chandrakant, the Prince was so excited and very serious about learning sitar. The Princess had seen the proposal and knew all about it. The Prince heard Chandrakant play Raga Nihonindo . He was very happy to listen to it and had identified the notes.

------Pooja and Chandrakant Sardeshmukh

Aticle published in Indian News Paper