Kiko, Princess Akishino
Princess Akishino during her visit to Mexico City, October 2014
11 September 1966 |
|Spouse||Fumihito, Prince Akishino (m. 1990)|
|Issue||Princess Mako of Akishino
Princess Kako of Akishino
Prince Hisahito of Akishino
|House||Imperial House of Japan|
Kiko, Princess Akishino (文仁親王妃紀子 Fumihito Shinnōhi Kiko), born 11 September 1966 as Kiko Kawashima (川嶋紀子 Kawashima Kiko), is the wife of Fumihito, Prince Akishino, the second son of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan. She is also known as Princess Kiko.
Kiko was born in Shizuoka, Japan. She is the eldest daughter of Kazuyo and Tatsuhiko Kawashima. The family moved to Philadelphia in 1967 while her father attended the University of Pennsylvania. He earned a doctorate at University of Pennsylvania in 1971 in regional science and later taught there.
Kiko attended elementary and high school in Vienna, Austria, when her father became the chief researcher at The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg, Austria, where he studied spatial science and NGO activities. The future princess became fluent in English and German. In 1972, they moved back to Japan, and her father taught economics at Gakushuin University in Tokyo. She lived with her parents and brother in a tiny on-campus apartment in Tokyo. She graduated from the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Letters of Gakushuin University with a Bachelor of Letters degree in Psychology in 1989 and received a Master of Humanities degree in Social Psychology from the Graduate School of Gakushuin University in 1995. She received the PhD degree in Humanities from Ochanomizu University.
She participated in The Ship for Southeast Asian and Japanese Youth Program (SSEAYP) in 1987 and continues to be a supporter of the program.
Prince Fumihito first proposed marriage to Kiko Kawashima on 26 June 1986 while they were both undergraduates at Gakushuin. Three years later, Imperial Household Council announced the engagement on 12 September 1989 and the engagement ceremony was held on 12 January 1990. No marriage date would be set until the official one-year mourning period ended for Fumihito's grandfather, Emperor Hirohito, who had died in January 1989.
The wedding took place at an exclusive shrine at the Tokyo Imperial Palace on 29 June 1990. The Imperial Household Council had previously granted the prince permission to establish a new branch of the Imperial Family and the Emperor granted him the title Akishino-no-miya (Prince Akishino) on his wedding day. Upon marriage, his bride became Her Imperial Highness The Princess Akishino, known informally as Princess Kiko. As of tradition dictates, upon her entry into the imperial family and like other members, she received a personal emblem (o-shirushi (お印)): iris setosa (hiougi-ayame (檜扇菖蒲)).
The engagement and marriage of Prince Akishino to the former Kiko Kawashima broke precedent in several respects. At the time, the groom was still a graduate student at Gakushuin and married before his older brother, Crown Prince Naruhito. Officials at the Imperial Household Agency opposed to the marriage. The first woman from a middle-class background to marry into the imperial family, she was given the nickname "the apartment princess" by the media. Although Empress Michiko was also born a commoner, she was from a very wealthy family; her father was the president of a large flour-milling company.
The Princess had said repeatedly that she wanted to finish her master's degree, if circumstances permitted. She completed her post-graduate studies in psychology between her official duties and received her master's degree in psychology in 1995. She is known for her continuing interest in deaf culture and the Deaf in Japan. She learned Japanese sign language and she is a skilled sign language interpreter. She attends the "Sign Language Speech Contest for High School Students" held every August, and "Praising Mothers Raising Children with Hearing Impairments" every December. In October 2008, she participated in the "38th National Deaf Women's Conference." She also signs in informal Deaf gatherings.
In March 2013, Kiko was granted PhD degree in Psychology at the Graduate School of Humanities and Sciences, Ochanomizu University, for her thesis titled "Knowledge, perceptions, beliefs and behaviors related to tuberculosis: A study based on questionnaire surveys with seminar participants of the National Federation of Community Women's Organizations for TB Control and female college students."
While being pregnant with her third child, Kiko was diagnosed with placenta praevia. The princess also suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome osteoporosis aggravated by child-nursing, a symptom common among middle-aged women, her doctor said on 14 December 2007.
Since 1997, Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko and their children have maintained a principal residence on the grounds of the Akasaka Estate in Motoakasaka, Minato, Tokyo. The couple have two daughters and one son:
- Princess Mako (眞子内親王 Mako Naishinnō, born 23 October 1991)
- Princess Kako (佳子内親王 Kako Naishinnō, born 29 December 1994)
- Prince Hisahito (悠仁親王 Hisahito Shinnō, born 6 September 2006)
The Prince and Princess are called upon to meet with important overseas visitors to improve diplomatic relations. The Princess was chosen as one of the Young Global Leaders for 2007, drawn from a poll of 4000 candidates.
The Prince and Princess have made numerous official visits to foreign countries. In June 2002, they became the first members of the Imperial Family to visit Mongolia, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations. In October 2002, they visited the Netherlands to attend the funeral of the Prince Claus of the Netherlands. In September 2003, the Prince and Princess made goodwill visits to Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, again, the first time ever members of the Imperial Family had visited these countries.  In March 2004, the Prince and Princess returned to the Netherlands for the funeral of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands. In January 2005, they visited Luxembourg to attend the funeral of Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte. From October to November 2006, they visited Paraguay to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Japanese emigration to that country. In January 2008, they visited Indonesia for a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Republic of Indonesia.
They visited Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania in May 2009 on the occasion of "Japan-Danube Friendship Year 2009" and the Netherlands in August 2009 for the commemorative event of the 400th anniversary of the trade relations between Japan and the Netherlands. They have visited Costa Rica, Uganda, Croatia, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Peru, and Argentina. From June to July 2014, Prince Fumihito and Princess Kiko visited Republic of Zambia and United Republic of Tanzania. They attended the ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relationship between Japan and Zambia.
Titles, styles and honours
- 11 September 1966 – 29 June 1990: Miss Kawashima Kiko
- 29 June 1990 – present: Her Imperial Highness The Princess Akishino
- Japan: Paulownia Dame Grand Cordon of the Order of the Precious Crown
- Japan: Dame of the Decoration of the Red Cross
- Japan: Recipient of the Red Cross Medal
- Belgium: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown
- Netherlands: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown
- Peru: Grand Cross of the Order of the Sun
- Spain: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic
- Sweden: Commander Grand Cross of the Order of the Polar Star
- Patroness of the Japan Anti-Tuberculosis Association
- President of the Imperial Gift Foundation Boshi-Aiiku-kai
- Honorary Vice-President of the Japanese Red Cross Society
- Honorary Research Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
|Princess Mako of Akishino||23 October 1991|
|Princess Kako of Akishino||29 December 1994|
|Prince Hisahito of Akishino||6 September 2006|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Princess Akishino.|
- Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino and their family at the Imperial Household Agency website
- Press Conference on the Occasion of the Birthday of His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino (2006)
- CNN | Japan's Princess Kiko has boy
- BBC | Japan welcomes imperial baby boy
- CNN | Japan's new prince meets public
|Order of precedence in Japan|
The Crown Princess
HIH The Princess Akishino
The Princess Toshi