Atsuko Ikeda

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Princess Atsuko
順宮厚子内親王
Princess Yori
Princess Atsuko edit.jpg
Princess Atsuko, c. 1951
Spouse Takamasa Ikeda
(1952–2012; his death)
Full name
Atsuko (厚子?)
House Imperial House of Japan
Father Emperor Shōwa
Mother Empress Kōjun
Born (1931-03-07) 7 March 1931 (age 83)
Tokyo Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan
Religion Shinto

Atsuko Ikeda (池田厚子 Ikeda Atsuko?, born 7 March 1931), formerly Princess Yori (順宮厚子内親王 Yori-no-miya Atsuko Naishinnō?), is the widow of Marquis Takamasa Ikeda (池田隆政 Ikeda Takamasa?, 21 October 1926 – 21 July 2012) and fourth daughter of Emperor Shōwa and Empress Kōjun. As such, she is the older sister to Emperor Akihito.

Biography[edit]

Princess Atsuko was born at the Tokyo Imperial Palace. Her childhood appellation was Yori-no-miya (順宮?).

As with her elder sisters, she was not raised by her biological parents, but by a succession of court ladies at a separate palace built for her and her elder sisters in the Marunouchi district of Tokyo. She graduated from the Gakushuin Peer’s School, and was also tutored along with her siblings in English language by an American tutor, Elizabeth Grey Vining during the American occupation of Japan following World War II. She graduated Gakushuin University Women's College in March 1952.

On 10 October 1952, Princess Yori married Ikeda Takamasa, the eldest son of former Marquis Nobumasa Ikeda and a direct descendant of the last daimyō of Okayama Domain, whom she had met at a Japanese tea ceremony at Kōraku-en gardens. The couple were engaged after only six months, but wedding plans had to be postponed due to the death of Empress Teimei in 1951 and subsequent period of mourning. Upon her marriage, Princess Yori became the second daughter of an emperor to relinquish her status as a member of the Japanese imperial family and become a commoner upon marriage, in accordance with the 1947 Imperial Household Law.

The former princess relocated to Okayama Prefecture, where her husband, a wealthy cattle rancher, has served as director of the Ikeda Zoo outside of Okayama city for over fifty years.

In 1965, she was hospitalized with sepsis, which was a cause of great concern for the Imperial Family, as her elder sister Shigeko Higashikuni had already died of stomach cancer.

In October 1988, Ikeda succeeded her ailing elder sister, Kazuko Takatsukasa, as the most sacred priestess (saishu) of the Ise Shrine. She also serves as the Chairperson of the Association of Shinto Shrines.

The Ikedas had no children.

Titles and styles[edit]

Styles of
Atsuko, Princess Yori
(before her marriage)
Imperial Coat of Arms
Reference style Her Imperial Highness
Spoken style Your Imperial Highness
Alternative style Ma'am
  • 7 March 1931 – 10 October 1952: Her Imperial Highness The Princess Yori
  • 10 October 1952 – present: Mrs. Takamasa Ikeda

Honours[edit]

See also List of honours of the Japanese Imperial Family by country

National honours[edit]

Ancestry[edit]

Gallery[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • Foreign Affairs Association of Japan, The Japan Year Book (Tokyo: Kenkyusha Press, 1939–40, 1941–42, 1944–45, 1945–46, 1947–48).
  • Takie Sugiyama Lebra, Above the Clouds: Status Culture of the Modern Japanese Nobility (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992).
  • "Hirohito's Daughter Wed: Princess Yori Married to Tokyo Commoner by Shinto Rites," New York Times 10 October 1952.
  • Bix, Herbert P. (2001). Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-06-093130-2.