Birthday Celebrations for Japanese Royals

  December 2, 2009 at 9:12 am by

View the image at IHA

Japanese Royals have not one but three causes for celebrations these days – birthdays of Prince Mikasa, Prince Akishino and Princess Aiko.

Prince Akishino celebrated his 44th birthday on Monday. To mark it, the IHA released a set of pictures of the Prince with his family. Prince Akishino gave an interview on the occasion of his birthday, where he expressed some interesting views on the Succession Laws as well as the general role of the Imperial Family in the country’s future. In particular, he said: “I think it might be necessary to listen to the opinions of the Crown Prince and other parties concerned.”

View the image at IHA

Princess Aiko, meanwhile, celebrated her 8th birthday on Tuesday. To commemorate the occasione, new pictures of the little Princess and her parents were released. Some new information was also made available: Aiko’s interests include writing Kanji characters, calligraphy, poetry, gardening, playing piano and violin. Aiko, who is a second-year student at Gakushūin Primary School, is also a keen athlete; she took part in a relay race in October and was instrumental in helping her team win the competition. The Princess enjoys theatre and was given the role of a witch who realizes children’s wishes in a recent school play. Aiko is also trusted to take care of the class goldfish.

Prince Mikasa, the oldest living member of the Imperial Family, celebrates his 94th birthday today. The IHA released a statement congratulating the Prince. They also provided new information on the Prince’s health, which has deteriorated in recent years; just a month ago, Prince Mikasa was hospitalised with a minor cardiac arrest and a year ago, in June 2008, he was admitted to hospital after acute heart failure. The Prince is the only surviving paternal uncle of Emperor Akihito.


View the image at IHA

Prince Akishino was born on November 30, 1965 as the second son of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. As most members of his family, he attended Gakushūin school and later studied Law and Biology at Gakushūin University. Like his father, he showed great interest in marine biology and studied the taxonomy of fish at Oxford University for two years. He received a PhD for General Research and a PhD in ornithology in 1996. 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.

The Prince met his future wife, Kawashima Kiko, at Gakushūin Univesity and the couple married on June 29, 1990. Upon his marriage, the Prince (whose given name is Fumihito) was given the title “Akishino-no-miya” and formed a new branch of the Imperial Family. The couple are parents to 3 children: Princess Mako (born October 23, 1991), Princess Kako (born December 29, 1994) and Prince Hisahito (born September 6, 2006). Under current Imperial Succession Laws, Prince Akishino is second in the line of the throne, while Prince Hisahito (the first male born to the Imperial Family in decades), is third.

View the image at Sankei

Princess Aiko was born on December 1, 2001. She is the only child of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako. Her name, which was chosen by her parents, means “a person who loves others”. Her formal title is Princess Toshi. Although she is the only child of the Crown Princely couple, she is not in Line of the Succession to the Japanese Throne because of the agnatic primogeniture system. Her birth and lack of a male Heir in the Imperial Family sparked a debate on whether changes in the Imperial Succession Laws allowing women to inherit the Throne were needed. Although the changes were widely supported by people and most Govenrment parties, the process was halted after the birth of Prince Hisahito, the son of Prince and Princess Akishino. As of now, Princess Aiko is not in the line of the succession.

View the image at IHA

Prince Takahito was born on December 2, 1915 as the youngest son of Emperor Taisho and Empress Teimei. After graduating Gakushūin school in 1932, he joined the Imperial Japanese Army Academy; he was commissioned as a sub-lieutenant in 1936. In December 1935, his brother, Emperor Shōwa granted him the title “Mikasa-no-miya” and authorization to form a new branch of the Imperial Family.

He married Yuriko Takagi on October 22, 1941. The couple have 5 children:

  • Princess Yasuko, born April 26, 1944. Upon her marriage, Yasuko left the Imperial Family and lost her titles; she is currently known as Yasuko Konoe. Yasuko is married to Tadateru Konoe, the younger brother of former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa and adopted grandson of former Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe. Their only son is Tadahiro Konoe.
  • Prince Tomohito, born April 9, 1946. He married Nobuko Aso, daughter of Takakichi Asō (chairman of Asō Cement Co.) and Kazuko (the daughter of former Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru), and the sister of former Prime Minister Tarō Asō. They have two daughters, Princess Akiko (born December 20, 1981) and Princess Yoko (born October 25, 1983).
  • Prince Katsura, born February 11, 1948. Prince Katsura has been paralyzed from the waist down since suffering a series of strokes in May 1988. He is unmarried.
  • Princess Masako, born October 23, 1951. Upon her marriage Masako left the Imperial Family and lost her titles; she is currently known as Masako Sen. Masako is married to Masayuki Sen, the elder son of Sen Shoshitu XV, and the sixteenth hereditary grand master the Urasenke Japanese Tea Ceremony School. They have 3 children – sons Akifumi and Takafumi, and a daughter, Makiko.
  • Prince Takamado, born December 29, 1954. He married Hisako Tottori, the eldest daughter of Shigejiro Tottori (former President, Mitsui & Co.). They had 3 daughters: Princess Tsuguko (born March 8, 1986), Princess Noriko (born July 22, 1988) and Princess Ayako (born September 15, 1990). Prince and Princess Takamado were the most widely travelled couple and one of the most active members of the Imperial Family. On November 21, 2002 Prince Takamado collapsed from ventricular fibrillation and died at hospital of heart failure. His eldest daughter, Princess Tsuguko, often represents the Imperial Family abroad: for instance, she was the Imperial Family’s official representative during the Silver Wedding anniversary celebrations of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg.

Prince Mikasa continued his army career and became a major in 1941. He served as a staff officer in the Headquarters of the China Expeditionary Army at Nanjing, China from January 1943 to January 1944. Having witnessed the Japanese atrocities against Chinese civilians, the Prince wrote a stinging indictment of the conduct of the Imperial Army. Although the document was suppressed at the time, it surfaced in 1994. The Prince became more interested in history and archaeology after the war and pursued studies in History, Literature, Archaeology, Middle East and Semitic languages.

To learn more, visit the threads dedicated to Princess Aiko, Prince Akishino, the Mikasa Family and the Imperial Family of Japan.

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