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Aiko, Princess Toshi (敬宮愛子内親王, Toshi-no-miya Aiko Naishinnō, born 1 December 2001) is the only child of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan.[1]

Princess Toshi
Princess Aiko cropped 1 Crown Prince Naruhito Crown Princess Masako and Princess Aiko 20160801.jpg
Princess Aiko at the Science Museum in Tokyo, August 2016
BornAiko (愛子)
(2001-12-01) 1 December 2001 (age 17)
Imperial Household Agency Hospital, Tokyo Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan
HouseImperial House of Japan
MotherMasako Owada

Early lifeEdit


Princess Aiko was born on 1 December 2001 at 2:43 PM in the Imperial Household Agency Hospital in Tokyo Imperial Palace, the first child and only daughter of the then-Crown Prince and Crown Princess, Naruhito and Masako.[2][3]


In a break with tradition, the name of the princess was chosen by her parents, instead of by the Emperor. It was selected from clause 56 of Li Lou II, one of the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Mencius. Aiko, the princess's personal name, is written with the kanji characters for "love (愛)" and "child (子)" and means "a person who loves others".[4] The princess also has an imperial title, Princess Toshi (敬宮 toshi-no-miya), which means "a person who respects others".[4]

Personal lifeEdit

Princess Aiko began her education at Gakushuin Kindergarten on 3 April 2006.[5] She left kindergarten on 15 March 2008.[6]

On her eighth birthday, it was revealed her interests include but are not limited to: writing Kanji characters, calligraphy, jump rope, playing piano and violin, and writing poetry.[7]

In early March 2010, Aiko began to stay home from school due to not getting along with other girls and being bullied by her elementary school classmates.[8] Aiko returned to school on a limited basis on 2 May 2010. After returning to school, a senior palace official said that she would attend a limited number of classes accompanied by her mother, upon advice from a doctor at the Crown Prince's household.[9]

In November 2011, Aiko was hospitalized with pneumonia.[10] In 2014, she enrolled at the Gakushuin Girl's Junior High-school.[11]

In the summer of 2018, she made her first solo trip abroad to attend a summer program at Eton College.[12] After her return she confidently answered questions from the press and took on the role of emcee for her school's dance team performance. Reports from an unnamed palace source close to the family reported that Aiko converses with her family more as an adult than as a child, and the source credited Aiko with providing Masako with emotional support in her new role as Empress.[13]

Public lifeEdit

She visited a special exhibition on the 150th anniversary of Japan–Italy diplomatic relations on 5 April 2016 at the Tokyo museum.[14] Since turning 16, she has accompanied her parents at public appearances.[15]

Succession to the throneEdit

Princess Aiko (center) with the Imperial Family (November 2013)

The Imperial Household Law of 1947 abolished the Japanese nobility; under provisions of this law, the imperial family was streamlined to the descendants of Emperor Taishō.[16] The laws of succession in Japan prevent inheritance by or through the female line.


The birth of Princess Aiko sparked debate in Japan about whether the Imperial Household Law of 1947 should be changed from the current system of agnatic primogeniture to absolute primogeniture, which would allow a woman, as firstborn, to inherit the Chrysanthemum Throne ahead of a younger brother or male cousin. Although Imperial chronologies include eight empresses regnant in the course of Japanese history, their successors were always selected from amongst the members of the paternal Imperial bloodline, which is why some conservative scholars argue that the women's reigns were temporary and that male-only succession tradition must be maintained in the 21st century.[16] Though Empress Genmei was followed on the throne by her daughter, Empress Genshō,[17] Genshō herself was succeeded by her brother's son, thus keeping the throne in the same agnatic line; both Genshō and Genmei, as well as all other empresses regnant and emperors, belonged to the same patriline.

A government-appointed panel of experts submitted a report on 25 October 2005, recommending that the Imperial succession law be amended to permit absolute primogeniture. On 20 January 2006, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi used part of his annual keynote speech to address the controversy when he pledged to submit a bill to the Diet letting women ascend to the throne in order that the Imperial throne be continued into the future in a stable manner. Koizumi did not announce a timing for the legislation to be introduced nor did he provide details about the content, but he did note that it would be in line with the conclusions of the 2005 government panel.[18]

Birth of male cousinEdit

Proposals to replace agnatic primogeniture were shelved temporarily after it was announced in February 2006 that the-then Crown Prince's younger brother, Fumihito, Prince Akishino, and his wife, Kiko, Princess Akishino, were expecting their third child. On 6 September 2006, Princess Kiko gave birth to a son, Hisahito, who was third in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne at the time of the birth under the current law, after his uncle, the then-Crown Prince, and his father, Prince Akishino.[19][20][21] The prince's birth provided the first male heir to be born in the imperial family in 41 years. On 3 January 2007, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe announced that he would drop the proposal to alter the Imperial Household Law.[22] Therefore, at this time, it seems unlikely that the succession laws will be changed to allow Princess Aiko to ascend the throne.

Titles and stylesEdit

Aiko is styled as "Her Imperial Highness The Princess Toshi".


  1. ^ Maygar, James; Ujikane, Keiko (July 13, 2016). "Japan Emperor, Symbol of National Unity, Said to Seek Abdication". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  2. ^ "Girl Born to Japan's Princess". The New York Times. 1 December 2001. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  3. ^ French, Howard W. (8 December 2001). "Japan: A Name For The Royal Baby". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  4. ^ a b Colin Joyce (2001-12-08). "Japan's princess named 'one who loves others'". The Daily Telegraph, 8 December 2001.
  5. ^ Japan's Princess Aiko, 4, starts kindergarten. redOrbit. April 10, 2006. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
  6. ^ Princess Aiko finishes kindergarten. The Japan Times. March 16, 2009. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  7. ^ Princess Aiko celebrates 8th birthday Archived 2009-12-03 at the Wayback Machine. The Mainichi Daily News. December 1, 2009. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  8. ^ "Japan princess 'bullied by boys'". BBC News. 5 March 2010.
  9. ^ "Princess Aiko returns to school". The Japan Times. Tokyo. 2 May 2010.
  10. ^ Demetriou, Danielle (3 November 2011). "Japan's Princess Aiko suffering from pneumonia". Daily Telegraph. London.
  11. ^ "Princess Aiko enters high school". 8 April 2017 – via Japan Times Online.
  12. ^ "Princess Aiko heads to Britain to attend course at Eton College". The Asahi Shimbun. Tokyo. July 23, 2018. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  13. ^ Ogata, Yudai; Nakada, Ayako (January 1, 2019). "Support from Aiko, public behind Masako's new confidence". The Asahi Shimbun. Tokyo. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  14. ^ "Japan-Italy diplomatic relations 150th anniversary special exhibition". Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  15. ^ "Princess Aiko turns 17, says she is enjoying school life". The Japan Times. Tokyo. December 1, 2018. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  16. ^ a b "Life in the Cloudy Imperial Fishbowl," The Japan Times. 27 March 2007.
  17. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 56.
  18. ^ "Japan bill to let women on throne". BBC News. January 20, 2006. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
  19. ^ "Japan princess gives birth to boy". BBC News. 6 September 2006. Retrieved 6 September 2006.
  20. ^ Walsh, Bryan (5 September 2006). "Japan Celebrates: It's a Boy!". Time. Retrieved 16 November 2011..
  21. ^ Yoshida, Reiji (27 March 2007). "Japan's Imperial Family: Life in the Cloudy Imperial Fishbowl". The Japan Times. FYI (weekly column). Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  22. ^ "Report: Japan to drop plan to allow female monarch". USA Today. McLean, VA: Gannett. The Associated Press. January 3, 2007. ISSN 0734-7456. Retrieved October 20, 2011.

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