Quoting from answers.com:
"Kawashima Kiko was born in Shizuoka Prefecture
on 11 September 1966
. She is the only daughter and elder child of Kawashima Tatsuhiko, professor
at Gakushuin University
, and his wife, Kazuko. She spent her preschool days in the United States
when her father taught at the University of Pennsylvania
and attended primary school in Vienna
, when her father taught there. The future princess became fluent in English and German. She received her undergraduate degree from the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Letters of Gakushuin University in 1989
. She subsequently began graduate study in psychology at Gakushuin and completed the first part of the doctorate in 1995.
Prince Fumihito first proposed marriage to Kawashima Kiko on 26 June 1986
, while they were both undergraduates at Gakushuin. The couple, however, did not announce their intent to marry for three years. The engagement received the formal sanction of the ten-member Imperial Household Council on 12 September 1989
. The wedding took place at the Imperial Palace on 29 June 1990
. The Imperial Household Economy Council had previous 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 Princess Akishino,
known informally as Princess Kiko.
The engagement and marriage of Prince Akishino to the former Kawashima Kiko broke precedent in several respects. First, at the time, the groom was still a graduate student at Gakushuin and married before his older brother, Crown Prince Naruhito
. Second, the princess was the first woman from a middle-class background to marry into the imperial family. Although Empress Michiko was a commoner, she was from a very wealthy family; her father was the president of a large flour-milling company. Finally, the engagement and marriage was widely reported to be a love match. The empress, though of common blood, was one of the candidates recommended to the imperial family by several prestigious women's universities."