Crown Prince Hirohito’s Tour of Europe, 1921.
Emperor Pu Yi (“The Last Emperor”), State Visit to Tokyo, 1935.
“[Crown Prince Hirohito] was especially eager to entertain the Prince of Wales, who visited Japan in 1922, for Edward had treated him kindly during his own tour of Europe [in 1921].
“On one occasion during Edward’s visit, the Regent suggested a game of golf. Wearing a cap and plus-fours, [Hirohito] managed to hit the ball only after several futile attempts. To prevent his host from losing face, the future King Edward VIII records in his memoirs, ‘By design I developed a disastrous hook.’ Edward adds, the next day ‘He was as deft as I was clumsy’ when the Regent introduced him to the traditional court pastime of catching ducks with long-handled nets.
“The golf vignette, though in itself trivial, is emblematic of the way the Regent wanted to imitate the freer lifestyle of his English guest. But he had already been given notice that this would be difficult. In December 1921, the Regent gave an informal party for friends from the Peers’ School. They played records from London and Paris and drank much whisky, a gift from the Duke of Atholl which the Crown Prince had brought back to Japan.
“Afterwards, [Hirohito] was sharply reprimanded by Prince Saionji [genro and former prime minister] for this rowdy lapse of decorum. He was beginning to learn the constraints of court convention which had imprisoned Taisho and would increasingly restrict him as well.”
– Emperor Hirohito and Showa Japan: A Political Biography, by Stephen Large, 2013