Atsuko, Princess Yori (順宮厚子内親王)
7 March 1931
(m. 1952; died 2012)
Atsuko Ikeda (池田 厚子, Ikeda Atsuko, born 7 March 1931), formerly Atsuko, Princess Yori (順宮厚子内親王, Yori-no-miya Atsuko Naishinnō), is the fourth daughter of Emperor Shōwa and Empress Kōjun. As such, she is the older sister of Emperor Emeritus Akihito. She married Takamasa Ikeda on 10 October 1952. As a result, she gave up her imperial title and left the Japanese Imperial Family, as required by law. Later, she served as the most sacred priestess (saishu) of the Ise Grand Shrine between 1988 and 2017.
Princess Atsuko was born at the Tokyo Imperial Palace on 7 March 1931, her father is the Emperor Showa (Hirohito), her mother is the Empress Kojun. Her childhood appellation was Yori-no-miya (順宮). She had three elder sisters, the Princess Shigeko Teru-no-miya, the Princess Sachiko Hisa-no-miya (died as a baby) and the Princess Kazuko Taka-no-miya.
As with her elder two 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 Gakushūin Peer's School, and was also tutored along with her siblings in English language by an American tutor, Elizabeth Gray Vining during the American occupation of Japan following World War II. She graduated from Gakushuin University Women's College in March 1952.
On 10 October 1952, Princess Yori married Takamasa Ikeda (池田 隆政, Ikeda Takamasa, 21 October 1926 – 21 July 2012), 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 her grandmother 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 groom's father and the bride's mother, the Empress, were first cousins, making the couple second cousins.
In October 1988, Ikeda succeeded her ailing elder sister, Kazuko Takatsukasa, as the most sacred priestess (saishu) of the Ise Shrine. She served in that capacity until 19 June 2017, whereupon she was succeeded by her niece, Sayako Kuroda. She also served as the Chairperson of the Association of Shinto Shrines until June 2017.
The Ikedas had no children.
Titles and styles
Atsuko, Princess Yori
(before her marriage)
|Reference style||Her Imperial Highness|
|Spoken style||Your Imperial Highness|
- 7 March 1931 – 10 October 1952: Her Imperial Highness Princess Yori
- 10 October 1952 – present: Mrs. Takamasa Ikeda
- Grand Cordon of the Order of the Precious Crown
|Ancestors of Atsuko Ikeda|
- 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.