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Takatsukasa Wedding, 1950
30 September 1929|
Tokyo Imperial Palace, Tokyo City, Japan
|Died||26 May 1989
|Burial||Nison-in, Ukyō-ku, Kyoto|
(m. 1950; d. 1966)
|Issue||Naotake Takatsukasa (adopted)|
|House||Imperial House of Japan|
Kazuko Takatsukasa (鷹司和子 Takatsukasa Kazuko, 30 September 1929 – 26 May 1989), formerly Kazuko, Princess Taka (孝宮和子内親王 Taka-no-miya Kazuko Naishinnō), was the wife of Toshimichi Takatsukasa and third daughter of Emperor Shōwa and Empress Kōjun. As such, she was an elder sister to the present Emperor of Japan, Emperor Akihito.
Princess Taka was born at the Tokyo Imperial Palace. Her childhood appellation was Taka-no-miya (孝宮). As was the practice of the time, she was not raised by her biological parents, but by a succession of court ladies at a separate palace built for her and her younger sisters in the Marunouchi district of Tokyo. She graduated from the Gakushuin Peer’s School in March 1948, and spent a year in the household of former Chamberlain of Japan Saburo Hyakutake learning skills to be a bride. On 21 May 1950, she married Toshimichi Takatsukasa, the eldest son of ex-Duke and guji of Meiji Shrine, Nobusuke Takatsukasa. The marriage received much publicity as it was the first marriage of a member of the imperial family to a commoner.
However, on 28 January 1966, Toshimichi Takatsukasa was found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning at the apartment of his mistress, Michiko Maeda, a Ginza nightclub hostess, giving rise to widely speculative rumors in the Japanese press about his alleged double suicide.
Her misfortunes were not over, as on 22 August 1966, a knife-wielding intruder broke into her home in the middle of the night, and assaulted her, causing injuries to her right and left hands resulting in hospitalization for one week. A shocked Emperor Shōwa ordered that she relocate to within the Tōgū Palace in Akasaka, Tokyo, where she lived until her death of heart failure at the age of 59.
From 1974 to 1988 she served as chief priestess (saishu) of Ise Shrine.
The Takatsukasas had no children, but adopted Naotake Matsudaira (born 1945) of the former Ogyu Matsudaira clan, as their heir. Formerly President of NEC Telecommunications Systems, he is currently chief priest of Ise Shrines.
Titles and styles
Kazuko, Princess Taka
(before her marriage)
|Reference style||Her Imperial Highness|
|Spoken style||Your Imperial Highness|
- 30 September 1929 – 21 May 1950: Her Imperial Highness The Princess Taka
- 21 May 1950 – 26 May 1989: Mrs. Toshimichi Takatsukasa
- Grand Cordon of the Order of the Precious Crown
|Ancestors of Kazuko Takatsukasa|
- Takie Sugiyama Lebra, Above the Clouds: Status Culture of the Modern Japanese Nobility (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992).
- Bix, Herbert P. (2001). Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-06-093130-2.
- Deceased and former members of the Imperial family at the Wayback Machine (archived October 27, 2009)
- Time Magazine Feb 6 1950 on wedding
- New York Times obituary