Fate of Japan's imperial dynasty rests on shoulders of 13-year-old

High in the Himalayan country of Bhutan 13-year-old Hisahito is getting in touch with nature,

It's a carefree moment for a young man facing a daunting future as Emperor of Japan.

Hisahito is the only male royal of his generation

The task of carrying on the imperial line is squarely on his shoulders.

Japan will hold a formal enthronement ceremony for the current emperor on October 22nd.

But according to the rules of succession, Emperor Naruhito will be the last of his immediate family to ascend the Chrysanthemum Throne.

The birth of his only child - a daughter, Princess Aiko - sparked a debate about whether the country should change the rules so that a female heir could inherit.

Then Hisahito - the emperor's nephew - was born and that debate was put on hold.

Some, however, are still pushing for change

They say expectations for Hisahito are too much for one young man.

Hidehiko Kasahara is a professor at Keio University


"Amending the law to accept an emperor from a female line would strongly enhance the stability of imperial succession. It would give females the right to the throne, so the number of people eligible to succeed would increase."

Polls show most ordinary Japanese are in favour of allowing royal women to either inherit the throne or pass it on to their children.


"We shouldn't think about gender in this day and age. We've had female emperor in the past, so I think it would be quite natural to have another."

But for now, hopes are still pinned on Hisahito.

Experts say Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his conservative backers are not likely to revive the succession debate any time soon