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Fumihito, Crown Prince of Japan[1] (皇嗣文仁親王, Kōshi Fumihito Shinnō, born 30 November 1965) is a member of the Japanese imperial family. He is the brother of Emperor Naruhito and the younger son of Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko. He is the heir presumptive to the Chrysanthemum Throne, meaning that if his elder brother Emperor Naruhito had a son he will lose his position as Crown Prince of Japan. Since his marriage in June 1990, he has had the title Akishino-no-miya (generally translated into English as Prince Akishino) and has headed his own branch of the imperial family.[2]

Crown Prince of Japan
Prince and Princess Akishino during their visit to México City (2014) (cropped).jpg
Prince Akishino during his visit to Mexico City, October 2014
BornFumihito (文仁)
(1965-11-30) 30 November 1965 (age 53)
Imperial Household Agency Hospital, Tokyo Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan
Kiko Kawashima (m. 1990)
HouseImperial House of Japan
MotherMichiko Shōda


Early life and educationEdit

The prince was born on 30 November 1965 at the Imperial Household Agency Hospital, Tokyo Imperial Palace in Tokyo. His given name is Fumihito. His mother, Empress Emerita Michiko, is a convert to Shinto from Roman Catholicism. His childhood appellation was Prince Aya (礼宮 Aya-no-miya). He attended the primary and secondary schools of the Gakushuin. He played tennis in primary and secondary schools of the Gakushuin.

In April 1984, he entered the Law Department of Gakushuin University, where he studied law and biological science. After graduating from the university with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science, he studied the taxonomy of fish at St John's College, Oxford in the United Kingdom from October 1988 to June 1990.

Upon the death of his grandfather, Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito), on 7 January 1989, he became second-in-line to the throne after his elder brother, Crown Prince Naruhito.

Prince Fumihito received a PhD degree in ornithology from the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in October 1996. His doctoral dissertation was titled, "Molecular Phylogeny of Jungle Fowls, genus Gallus and Monophyletic Origin of Domestic Fowls". He conducted field research in Indonesia in 1993 and 1994, and in Yunnan Province in the People's Republic of China. When the Emperor Emeritus was then Crown Prince, he introduced tilapia to Thailand as an important source of protein. Tilapia can be easily cultured and Prince Fumihito, who is also known as "catfish specialist," has managed to maintain and expand the aquacultural studies with the people of Thailand.

Prior to Fumihito's birth, the announcement about the then-Crown Prince Akihito's engagement and marriage to the then-Ms. Michiko Shōda had drawn opposition from traditionalist groups, because Shōda came from a Roman Catholic family.[3] Although Shōda was never baptized, she was educated in Catholic schools and seemed to share the faith of her parents. Rumors also speculated that Empress Kōjun had opposed the engagement. After the death of Fumihito's paternal grandmother Empress Kōjun in 2000, Reuters reported that she was one of the strongest opponents of her son's marriage, and that in the 1960s, she had driven her daughter-in-law and grandchildren to depression by persistently accusing her of not being suitable for her son.[4]

Marriage and issueEdit

On 29 June 1990, Prince Fumihito married Kiko Kawashima, the daughter of Tatsuhiko Kawashima (professor of economics at Gakushuin University) and his wife, Kazuyo.

The couple met when they were both undergraduates at Gakushuin University. Like his father, the present Emperor Emeritus, the Prince married outside the former aristocracy and former collateral branches of the imperial family. Upon marriage, he received the title Prince Akishino (Akishino-no-miya – strictly "Prince Akishino") and authorization from the Imperial Household Economy Council to form a new branch of the Imperial Family. The marriage was bitterly resented by officials at the Imperial Household Agency, as well as Prince Akishino's paternal-grandmother Empress Dowager Nagako.


Prince and Princess Akishino have two daughters and one son:


The Prince and Princess Akishino in December 2005

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.[2] He is a visiting professor of Tokyo University of Agriculture.

Prince and Princess Akishino also foster friendly relations with foreign countries by representing Japan at select international events.[5] For example, they traveled to the Netherlands in August 2009 to commemorate 400 years of trade between the Netherlands and Japan. They were invited by the Dutch government and were hosted by Queen Beatrix in The Hague. Their public activities included meeting Japanese language students, visiting the Siebold House, a university hospital, and two other museums. At the Dutch National Archives, they attended the opening of a major exhibition of Japan-related material, "From Here to Tokyo, 400 Years of Trade with Japan"; they were accompanied by Dutch Princess Laurentien who lived and studied in Japan in her youth. In addition, this official visit also included talks with the Dutch prime minister. On other occasion, they traveled to Hungary in March 2007.

In addition, Prince Akishino carried out public duties on behalf of the Emperor when he was hospitalized.[6] He and other members of the imperial family visited the affected areas after the Great East Japan earthquake in March 2011.[6]

In accordance with legislation passed allowing his father's abdication, he became heir presumptive to the throne on 30 April 2019.

Other interestsEdit

Prince Akishino is a big fan of the Beatles and an avid tennis player. As a student, Fumihito ranked among the top ten doubles tennis players in the Kantō Region.

He is also known as a successor to the Arisugawa school of calligraphy.

Titles, styles and honoursEdit


  • 30 November 1965 – 29 June 1990: His Imperial Highness The Prince Aya
  • 29 June 1990 – 30 April 2019: His Imperial Highness The Prince Akishino
  • 1 May 2019 – present: His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince of Japan


National honoursEdit

Foreign honoursEdit

Honorary degreesEdit

Honorary positionsEdit

  • Reserve Member of the Imperial House Council
  • President of Yamashina Institute for Ornithology
  • President of Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums
  • Patron of the Society for the Protection of Mitera Sennyuji (Mitera Sennyuji is the temple in which the Imperial memorial tablets are enshrined)
  • Patron of the Social Welfare Organization "Saiseikai" Imperial Gift Foundation Inc.
  • Honorary President of World Wide Fund for Nature Japan
  • Honorary Patron of Japan Tennis Association
  • Honorary Patron of the Japan-Netherlands Society
  • Honorary Patron of Association for All Nippon Gourd Fanciers
  • Honorary President of Japan Water Prize Committee
  • Honorary President of the Waksman Foundation of Japan INC
  • Honorary Vice President of the Siam Society
  • Researcher Extraordinary of the University Museum, the University of Tokyo
  • Guest Professor of the Tokyo University of Agriculture
  • Visiting Researcher of the Center for the Promotion of Integrated Sciences, the Graduate University for Advanced Studies


  1. ^ "English Titles and Basic words relating to the Imperial Succession" (PDF). Imperial Household Agency. 10 April 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Kunaicho: personal histories Archived 26 July 2007 at WebCite
  3. ^ Herbert P. Bix, "Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan", New York, 2001, p. 661
  4. ^ "Japan's Dowager Empress Dead At 97". CBS News. 16 June 2000. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  5. ^ Kunaicho: Fostering friendly relations with foreign countries
  6. ^ a b Komatsu, Natsuki (1 December 2011). "Prince Akishino's remarks show Imperial family crisis". The Daily Yomiuri. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Blogspot
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 October 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2017.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ Italian Presidency, S.A.I. Akishino Principe di Giappone
  11. ^ Decoraties Staatsbezoeken Japan en Republiek Korea Archived 4 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine - website of the Dutch Royal House
  12. ^ Prince Akishino wearing the Order
  13. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado

External linksEdit