Fumihito, Prince Akishino

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Prince Akishino
Prince and Princess Akishino during their visit to México City (2014) (3) (cropped 2).jpg
Prince Akishino during his visit to Mexico City, October 2014
Born (1965-11-30) 30 November 1965 (age 52)
Imperial Household Agency Hospital, Tokyo Imperial Palace, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
Spouse Kiko Kawashima (m. 1990)
Issue Princess Mako of Akishino
Princess Kako of Akishino
Prince Hisahito of Akishino
Full name
Fumihito (文仁)
House Imperial House of Japan
Father Emperor Akihito
Mother Michiko Shōda
Religion Shinto

Fumihito, Prince Akishino (秋篠宮文仁親王, Akishino-no-miya Fumihito Shinnō, born 30 November 1965) is a member of the Japanese imperial family. He is the younger son of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko and currently second in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne.[1]

Since his marriage in June 1990, he has held the title of Akishino-no-miya (generally translated into English as Prince Akishino) and headed his own branch of the imperial family.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

The prince was born on 30 November 1965 at the Imperial Household Agency Hospital, Tokyo Imperial Palace in Tokyo. His given name is Fumihito. His mother, Empress Michiko, is a Shinto convert from Roman Catholicism. His childhood appellation was Prince Aya (礼宮 Aya-no-miya). He attended the elementary and secondary departments of the Gakushuin.

In April 1984, he entered the Law Department of Gakushuin University, where he studied law and biology. After graduating from the university with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science, he studied the taxonomy of fish at St John's College, Oxford in the United Kingdom from October 1988 to June 1990.

Upon the death of his grandfather, Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito), in January 1989, he became second-in-line to the throne after his elder brother, Crown Prince Naruhito.

Prince Fumihito received a PhD degree in ornithology from the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in October 1996. His doctoral dissertation was titled, "Molecular Phylogeny of Jungle Fowls, genus Gallus and Monophyletic Origin of Domestic Fowls". He conducted field research in Indonesia in 1993 and 1994, and in Yunnan Province in the People's Republic of China. When the current Emperor was still Crown Prince, he introduced tilapia to Thailand as an important source of protein. Tilapia can be easily cultured and Prince Fumihito, who is also known as "catfish specialist," has managed to maintain and expand the aquacultural studies with the people of Thailand.

Prior to Fumihito's birth, the announcement about the then-Crown Prince Akihito's engagement and marriage to the then-Ms. Michiko Shōda had drawn opposition from traditionalist groups, because Shōda came from a Roman Catholic family.[3] Although Shōda was never baptized, she was educated in Catholic schools and seemed to share the faith of her parents. Rumors also speculated that Empress Kōjun had opposed the engagement. After the death of Fumihito's paternal grandmother Empress Kōjun in 2000, Reuters reported that she was one of the strongest opponents of her son's marriage, and that in the 1960s, she had driven her daughter-in-law and grandchildren to depression by persistently accusing her of not being suitable for her son.[4]

Marriage and issue[edit]

On 29 June 1990, Prince Fumihito married Kiko Kawashima, the daughter of Tatsuhiko Kawashima (professor of economics at Gakushuin University) and his wife, Kazuyo.

The couple met when they were both undergraduates at Gakushuin. Like his father, the present Emperor, the Prince married outside the former aristocracy and former collateral branches of the imperial family. Upon marriage, he received the title Prince Akishino (Akishino-no-miya – strictly "Prince Akishino") and authorization from the Imperial Household Economy Council to form a new branch of the Imperial Family. The marriage was bitterly resented by officials at the Imperial Household Agency, as well as Prince Akishino's paternal-grandmother Empress Dowager Nagako.


Prince and Princess Akishino have two daughters and one son:

Since the third child is male, he is in the direct line of succession to the Imperial Throne and is likely to eventually succeed to the throne, unless Hisahito's uncle, Crown Prince Naruhito, produces a male heir, or the succession laws are changed (see succession controversy).[5]


The Prince and Princess Akishino in December 2005

Prince Akishino serves as the president of the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology and the Japanese Association of Zoological Gardens and Aquariums. He is also the honorary president of the World Wide Fund for Nature Japan, the Japan Tennis Association, and the Japan-Netherlands Association.[2] He is a visiting professor of Tokyo University of Agriculture.

Prince and Princess Akishino also foster friendly relations with foreign countries by representing Japan at select international events.[6] For example, they traveled to the Netherlands in August 2009 to commemorate 400 years of trade between the Netherlands and Japan. They were invited by the Dutch government and were hosted by Queen Beatrix in The Hague. Their public activities included meeting Japanese language students, visiting the Siebold House, a university hospital, and two other museums. At the Dutch National Archives, they attended the opening of a major exhibition of Japan-related material, "From Here to Tokyo, 400 Years of Trade with Japan"; they were accompanied by Dutch Princess Laurentien who lived and studied in Japan in her youth. In addition, this official visit also included talks with the Dutch prime minister.

In addition, Prince Akishino carried out public duties on behalf of the Emperor when he was hospitalized.[7] He and other members of the imperial family visited the affected areas after the Great East Japan earthquake in March 2011.[7]

As legislation has been passed allowing his father's abdication, he is expected to become heir-presumptive to the throne on April 30, 2019.

Other interests[edit]

Prince Akishino is a big fan of the Beatles and an avid tennis player. As a student, Fumihito ranked among the top ten doubles tennis players in the Kantō Region.

He is also known as a successor to Arisugawa school of calligraphy.

Titles, styles and honours[edit]

Styles of
Prince Akishino
Akisino no miya mon
Reference style His Imperial Highness
Spoken style Your Imperial Highness
Alternative style Sir


  • 30 November 1965 – 29 June 1990: His Imperial Highness The Prince Aya
  • 29 June 1990 – present: His Imperial Highness The Prince Akishino


National honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]

Honorary degrees[edit]

Honorary positions[edit]

  • Reserve Member of the Imperial House Council
  • President of Yamashina Institute for Ornithology
  • President of Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums
  • Patron of the Society for the Protection of Mitera Sennyuji (Mitera Sennyuji is the temple in which the Imperial memorial tablets are enshrined)
  • Patron of the Social Welfare Organization "Saiseikai" Imperial Gift Foundation Inc.
  • Honorary President of World Wide Fund for Nature Japan
  • Honorary Patron of Japan Tennis Association
  • Honorary Patron of the Japan-Netherlands Society
  • Honorary Patron of Association for All Nippon Gourd Fanciers
  • Honorary President of Japan Water Prize Committee
  • Honorary President of the Waksman Foundation of Japan INC
  • Honorary Vice President of the Siam Society
  • Researcher Extraordinary of the University Museum, the University of Tokyo
  • Guest Professor of the Tokyo University of Agriculture
  • Visiting Researcher of the Center for the Promotion of Integrated Sciences, the Graduate University for Advanced Studies


Name Birth Marriage Issue
Princess Mako of Akishino 23 October 1991
Princess Kako of Akishino 29 December 1994
Prince Hisahito of Akishino 6 September 2006


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Imperial Household Agency (Kunaicho): Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino; personal histories Archived 26 July 2007 at WebCite
  2. ^ a b c d e Kunaicho: personal histories Archived 26 July 2007 at WebCite
  3. ^ Herbert P. Bix, "Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan", New York, 2001, p. 661
  4. ^ "Japan's Dowager Empress Dead At 97". CBS News. 2000-06-16. Retrieved 2016-10-21. 
  5. ^ "Japan royal baby named Hisahito," BBC News. 12 September 2006.
  6. ^ Kunaicho: Fostering friendly relations with foreign countries
  7. ^ a b Komatsu, Natsuki (1 December 2011). "Prince Akishino's remarks show Imperial family crisis". The Daily Yomiuri. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  8. ^ https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/9f/60/09/9f600931db65cf1846b54c81d2f8dfef.jpg
  9. ^ Blogspot
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 October 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2017. 
  11. ^ Italian Presidency, S.A.I. Akishino Principe di Giappone
  12. ^ Decoraties Staatsbezoeken Japan en Republiek Korea Archived 4 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine. - website of the Dutch Royal House
  13. ^ Prince Akishino wearing the Order
  14. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado

External links[edit]

Fumihito, Prince Akishino
Born: 30 November 1965
Lines of succession
Preceded by
The Crown Prince
Line of succession to the Japanese throne
2nd position
Succeeded by
Prince Hisahito of Akishino
Order of precedence in Japan
Preceded by
The Crown Prince
HIH The Prince Akishino
Succeeded by
Prince Hisahito of Akishino