Kiko, Princess Akishino
Princess Akishino on 23 December 2009.
|Spouse||Fumihito, Prince Akishino|
|Issue||Princess Mako of Akishino
Princess Kako of Akishino
Prince Hisahito of Akishino
|House||Imperial House of Japan|
11 September 1966 |
|Japanese Imperial Family|
Kiko, Princess Akishino (文仁親王妃紀子 Fumihito Shinnōhi Kiko?), born Kiko Kawashima (川嶋紀子 Kawashima Kiko?) on 11 September 1966, 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. Her parents brought her to Philadelphia in 1967 and lived in a second-floor, walk-up apartment with her parents in University City when her father enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania. He earned a doctorate at University of Pennsylvania in 1971 in regional science and later taught there. Meanwhile, Kiko mastered English and enrolled at the Lea School, 47th and Locust Streets.
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. The family returned to Japan in 1972, and Tatsuhiko Kawashima became a member of the faculty of Gakushuin University in Tokyo and later worked as an economics professor there. She lived with her parents and brother in a tiny on-campus apartment in Tokyo. She received her undergraduate degree from the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Letters of Gakushuin University in 1989.
She participated in the Ship for Southeast Asian 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. Following the announcement of her engagement she became Japan's most famous graduate student and high-school girls had taken to cutting their hair Kiko-style and mimicking her polite smile. Brokers were recommending pearl companies because she wore a strand to her first news conference.
In January 1990, the solemn deputy grand chamberlain of the Imperial Household Agency, Yasuo Shigeta, arrived via royal limousine at the modest four-room Tokyo apartment that Kiko shared with her parents and brother, bearing the traditional gifts all future imperial in-laws have received since the 16th Century. Early next month she began an elaborate form of imperial basic training. She learned the imperial family history and religious customs, the history of Japan and its constitution, court custom and decorum, calligraphy and traditional Waka poetry writing.
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. At one point, said a Japanese magazine, Fumihito became so angry over the Imperial Household Agency's opposition to the marriage that he threatened to renounce his royal status. When Fumihito first announced plans to marry Kawashima, the agency officials were livid. But Empress Michiko intervened and helped deflect the opposition. Additionally, the princess was the first woman from a middle-class background to marry into the imperial family and her humble status has led the Japanese media to dub her "the apartment princess". 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. In a country that seemed eager to see the imperial family shed its remoteness, the press had rejoiced in the Kawashimas' middle-class life.
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."
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)
Princess Akishino often accompanies her husband to attend a wide variety of official events within Japan. These events include the Festival of the Sea, the National High School Horse Riding Festival, the All Japan High School Cultural Festival, the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize Ceremony, the National Sports Festival, the National City Greening Festival and All Japan Lifelong Learning Forum. The couple is also 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.
Recent among these were the visit to the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania in May 2009 on the occasion of "Japan-Danube Friendship Year 2009", the visit to the Kingdom of the Netherlands in August 2009 for the commemorative event of the 400th anniversary of the trade relations between Japan and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the visit to the Republic of Costa Rica in January 2011 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Japan and the Republic of Costa Rica, the visit to the Republic of Uganda on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Japan and the Republic of Uganda, the visit to the Republic of Croatia, the Slovak Republic, and the Republic of Slovenia on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the diplomatic relations, and the visit to the Republic of Peru and the Argentine Republic in January to February 2014, on the occasion of the 140th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Japan and the Republic of Peru, and to commemorate 50 years since the immigration agreement between Japan and the Argentine Republic came in effect. 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.
Princess Akishino has also assumed the role of Patroness of the Japan Anti-Tuberculosis Association, succeeding the late Princess Chichibu in April 1994. As the Patroness, she attends various ceremonial events such as the Anti-Tuberculosis National Convention, the Central training seminar for branch leaders of Japan Anti-Tuberculosis Women's Society, and meetings with specialists who participate in the international training course in the National Tuberculosis Program Management. Also, Princess Akishino assumed the role of Patroness of the Social Welfare Juridical Person "Imperial Gift Foundation Boshi-Aiiku-Kai", succeeding Princess Mikasa in October 2010 and attends its annual national conventions and has been encouraging community volunteers of Aiiku-Han groups, which promote community health. She also attends the Regional Meetings and ceremonies of the Japanese Red Cross Society in her capacity as Honorary Vice-President of the organization.
The Princess has a strong interest in supporting female researchers who restart researches after childbirth and child care, and attends presentations by researchers supported by "Research Fellowship for Young Scientists - Restarted Post Doctoral fellowship" of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. She carries out research in areas related to health care, and was nominated as the Honorary Research Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science in February 2009.
Titles and styles
Kiko is styled as "Her Imperial Highness The Princess Akishino".
- Grand Cordon of the Order of the Precious Crown
- Netherlands: Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown (29 October 2014)
- Peru: Grand Cross of the Order of the Sun (2014)
- Spain : Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic (8 November 2008)
- 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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- , Decoraties Staatsbezoeken Japan en Republiek Korea
- , Princess Akishino receiving the Order
- Photo of Kiko wearing the order
- Boletín Oficial del Estado
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Princess Akishino.|
- Kunaicho | Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino and their family
- Kunaicho | 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