King Charles honours 'deep roots partnership' with Japan in Hello Kitty and Pokemon-inspired speech

King Charles

King Charles hosted the Emperor of Japan at a State Banquet

Getty
Dorothy Reddin

By Dorothy Reddin


Published: 25/06/2024

- 21:36

Updated: 25/06/2024

- 21:48

The King and Queen hosted the Emperor and Empress of Japan at a State Banquet

King Charles honoured the UK's "deep roots partnership" with Japan in a Hello Kitty and Pokemon-inspired speech on Tuesday evening.

The King and Queen hosted the Emperor and Empress of Japan at a State Banquet, which was attended by Prince William and the Duchess of Edinburgh.


King Charles, 75, gave a passionate speech, mentioning many Japanese cultural references as they relate to the UK.

Speaking some Japanese, Charles said: "My wife and I are so delighted to be able to welcome you to Buckingham Palace this evening. EI-KOKU NI O-KAERI NASAI [Welcome back to Britain]."

King Charles

King Charles hosted the Emperor of Japan at a State Banquet

Getty

The King also listed many Anglo-Japanese "shared roots".

He continued: "Your Majesties, ours is a partnership with deep roots. For over 400 years, our nations have inspired each other, learning from each other's experiences and enriching our industries, cuisines and cultures with elements borrowed and shared.

"Even our hobbies have shared roots; for it was English climbers like Walter Weston in the late nineteenth century, enraptured by the Japanese landscapes they encountered, who helped to introduce recreational mountain climbing in Japan.

"This is a passion which so many British and Japanese now have in common - not least, at an individual level, Your Majesty and myself!"

King Charles and Queen Camilla

King Charles and Queen Camilla hosted the banquet at Buckingham Palace

PA

The grandfather of five also spoke about his previous visits to Japan, including his first visit in 1970.

Charles stated: "I saw something of this on my first visit to Japan in 1970 when I toured the first Japanese World Expo in Osaka.

"As a 21-year-old, the innovations I saw left me with a lasting impression of the power of blending the traditions of Eastern and Western civilisations, together with progress in science and technology for the benefit of all.

"My four further visits to Japan since then, and my engagements with your people and companies over the years, lead me to believe that the impressive links forged between our economies and our businesses have built on those same ideals."

King Charles and Queen Camilla

Queen Camilla dazzled in a Fiona Clare dress this evening

Reuters

In a humorous reference to Helly Kitty, a famous children's toy, the King added: "Equally, it has been a pleasure to learn of the British stories behind certain Japanese cultural icons.

"Perhaps you would allow me to note one particular individual who turns 50 this year, raised in a London suburb with her twin sister, a self-made entrepreneur worth billions of dollars, and a Unicef Children's Ambassador on top of all that.

"So I can only wish a very happy birthday to... Hello Kitty!"

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Prince William

Prince William was also photographed at the event without Princess Kate

PA

The King also paid a sweet tribute to his grandchildren Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, nine, and Prince Louis, six.

Charles said: "I am only sorry to report that I haven't had any better luck with more recent attempts at fishing - the Pokémon phrase "gotta catch 'em all" may resonate with my grandchildren, but for me, it is, perhaps, aspirational..!"

King Charles ended the speech with more attempts at Japanese, concluding: "And so, it is with a sense of great affection and optimism that I propose a toast to Your Majesties and the Japanese people, and to the next 400 years of Japanese-British relations. KAN-PAI! [Cheers!]"

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