Heisei is the reign name of the present emperor who succeeded his father on 7 January 1989. In 1956, he became particularly famous for marrying a commoner, someone from outside the Imperial court nobility. It was a popular match, partly because the couple played tennis in Karuizawa, an old post-town on the Nakasendo and a modern resort area, and generally behaved in ‘democratic’ and ‘modern’ ways which were catchwords of the time. The emperor and his family have maintained an openness to the public. They reflect strongly the middle class ideals of many Japanese.