Prince Hisahito, the nephew of Emperor Naruhito and second in line to the Japanese imperial throne, turned 16 Tuesday after starting senior high school this spring.
The son of Crown Prince Fumihito graduated from Ochanomizu University Junior High School in March and entered a senior high school attached to the University of Tsukuba, also in Tokyo, the following month.
The senior high school, formally called Senior High School at Otsuka, the University of Tsukuba, is known for being a highly competitive educational institution.
He became the first member of the imperial family in the postwar era to enroll at a high school not affiliated with Gakushuin University, which was established in the 19th century as a school for aristocrats. Crown Prince Fumihito is known for his liberal education policy for his children.
As the emperor and former Emperor Akihito spent their senior high school years receiving education as heirs to the Chrysanthemum Throne, how the young prince will spend his years has drawn attention.
Prince Hisahito continues to be attracted to dragonflies, an interest he picked up during his elementary school years, and does related fieldwork on the grounds of Akasaka Estate, where he lives with his family, according to the Imperial Household Agency.
At school, he joined the badminton team.
During a three-day school excursion to the resort town of Tateshina, Nagano Prefecture, in late July, the prince practiced orienteering within the mountains and did some hiking on Mt. Tateshina, the agency said.
In the weeks leading up to his graduation from junior high school, the prince worked on a graduation performance with his classmates that included a choir concert and presentation of academic achievements.
Prince Hisahito has two elder sisters -- former Princess Mako, 30, who married out of the imperial family last year, and Princess Kako, 27 -- but they are not heirs to the throne as the Imperial House Law limits heirs to males paternally related to the emperor.
Since Emperor Naruhito only has a daughter, 20-year-old Princess Aiko, Prince Hisahito is second in line to the throne after his father. The only other heir remaining is the emperor's uncle Prince Hitachi, 86.
Japan princess eager to engage with public by passing on culture