The Prince and Princess Akishino of Japan visited the Pope on Thursday, accompanied by other representatives from the country of the rising sun, with whom the Vatican has had diplomatic relations with since 1942.
It was a private gathering, lasting just over 20 minutes, with the second successor in line to the Japanese throne and his wife, who wore a traditional blue kimono.
After they arrived, it was soon time to exchange gifts.
"I brought a gift from Japan, I hope you like it."
"It's a nice gesture, I appreciate it so much."
The Japanese prince presented Pope Francis a large porcelain glass made in Arita, an area famous in Japan for these pieces, and a framed photo with the emblem of the imperial family.
Pope Francis returned the favor by giving them his encyclical on nature, Laudato si'.
The Japanese prince departed from the Pope in a very warm way. Pope Francis had a message for them.
"I wanted to especially thank you for one thing: prayer."
"Pray for me, and give my greetings to the Emperor and the Empress."