Hisako, Princess Takamado

Presentation at the 125th Session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)

delivered 7 September 2013, Buenos Aires, Argentina


[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

[as translated from the French language]

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the International Olympic Committee:

It is a privilege to be here before you and to have this opportunity to speak here on the occasion of the session of IOC. Above all, on behalf of the people of Japan, allow me to say thank you.

In 2011, the northeast of Japan was struck by a massive earthquake and tsunami. At that time, the IOC and everyone in the sports world extended their hand of support. Japan will never forget this kindness, and in a spirit of appreciation, we want to step forward into the future.

And now, to ensure I am understood, please allow me to continue in English.

I imagine that the members of the Evaluation Commission are surprised to see me here. Well, I can assure them that I am just as surprised as they are. What I said in Tokyo regarding the role and position of our family still holds true.1 However, I am more than pleased that it has befallen me to personally convey our heartfelt thanks to each and every member of the IOC.

The IOC special aid program, the Tsubasa Project, has brought smiles to the faces of many children and given hope to young athletes. Tsubasa means "wing" in Japanese, and we hope that these young people will take wing and fly into the future of their dreams. You have, in the spirit of the Olympic Movement, given them something about which to dream, given them motivation. You have shown them that they should move forward with courage and conviction.

I have heard that an important aspect of the Olympics is the leaving of legacies. Well, your legacy will certainly live on in the hearts of these young people.

This may be the first time a member of our family has addressed you. But the Imperial Family of Japan has always been very active in supporting sport. A case in point: My late husband was a keen sportsman, and from him I have taken over the role of honorary president of some nine sports organizations. And I must say, they keep me very busy.

I would like to commend the IOC for giving form to the philosophy of the Olympic Movement -- and for doing it so well. I have met members of the Olympic Family on different occasions in the past but have never seen so many of you together, and it is an impressive sight indeed.

At the same time, it brings back many fond memories of shared moments with you. I am delighted to have been able to make new acquaintances during this visit, and I dare hope that our paths will cross again. Perhaps now that I have shared this special moment with you, you will, in the future, consider me to be an honorary, peripheral member of the Olympic Family.

Now, the presentation proper of Team Japan will begin. As you know, they have been working very hard; so I do hope that you will find the presentation persuasive.

Thank you so much for having given me this opportunity to address you.

Merci tous. [Thank you all.]

1 The context for this statement concerned the semblance of an inappropriate -- indeed constitutionally forbidden -- engagement in politics by the Imperial Family in having one of its members address the IOC at the behest of the Government of Japan. For additional insight see paragraphs 10 and 11 here. Further reading here.

Also in this database: ABE Shinzo 2013 Olympic Presentation Address

See also: Inspiring speeches by Para Olympian Sato Mami and French Japanese TV News Presenter Christel Takigawa

Page Updated: 8/19/22

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