King Charles Mentions Hello Kitty and Pokémon in Japanese State Banquet Speech

As Britain rolls out the red carpet for Japan during a three-day State Visit, it is time to enhance diplomatic ties between the two countries. And as King Charles spoke this evening of the links between Japan and the UK, he gave a special mention to Japanese phenomenons Hello Kitty and Pokémon.

“It has been a pleasure to learn of the British stories behind certain Japanese cultural icons,” the King said in a speech ahead of the banquet in the Palace ballroom. “Perhaps you would allow me to note one particular individual who turns fifty this year, raised in a London suburb with her twin sister, a self-made entrepreneur worth billions of dollars, and a U.N.I.C.E.F Children’s Ambassador on top of all that. So I can only wish a very happy birthday to…Hello Kitty!”

Later in his speech, the King also spoke of “the Pokémon phrase gotta catch ‘em all,” saying that he did not have such luck with his recent attempts at fishing. In more serious parts of his address, the King described the partnership between Japan and the UK as having “deep roots.” “Our partnership is also one that continues to grow and flourish, to put out new shoots and branches,” he said. Charles opened and closed his speech with a word or two in Japanese.

Emperor Naruhito also delivered a speech in which he spoke frankly of “the sad period during which the friendly relationship between our two countries suffered,” before later describing the relationship as “accelerating in various areas.” “Our bilateral relations have never been more robust,” he said.

the emperor and empress of japan state visit to the united kingdom
Emperor Naruhito, King Charles, Empress Masako, Queen Camilla, and Prince William walk into the ballroom of Buckingham Palace.WPA Pool - Getty Images

Among the approximately 150 guests at the banquet were members of the royal family and the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Also there was the leader of the Labour party, Keri Starmer, who is currently campaigning for his party to be in power after the July 4 general election. Andrew Lloyd Webber was also seated at the horseshoe table along with YouTuber Chris Broad, a Brit who posts under the name Abroad in Japan. Also dining was chef Miho Sato, who grew up in Japan and is now head sushi chef at London’s top Japanese restaurant The Aubrey.

Guests dined on a starter of poached Scottish langoustines on a nest of Cucumber with Basil Mousse, chilled Tomato consommé. This was followed by baked fillet of Cornish turbot, with herb butter wrapped in lettuce and sorrel cream sauce. There was also a selection of summer vegetables, creamed potato and spinach croquette, a salad of green beans and quail eggs. Dessert was an ice cream bomb with peach Sorbet insert, on a bed of compressed peaches.

The State Banquet table was decorated with floral displays including roses from the Buckingham Palace gardens and Windsor Castle as well as acer trees, known as Japanese maple.

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