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Prince Hisahito, Japan’s future Emperor, celebrates 12th birthday with bubbles

His Imperial Highness Prince Hisahito of Akishino, the only son of Fumihito, Prince Akishino, and Kiko, Princess Akishino, turned 12 on Thursday, 6 September. To mark his birthday, Prince Hisahito, along with his sisters, Princess Mako and Princess Kako of Akishino, posed before the media as they traditionally do on his birthday. The imperial siblings had fun as they played with bubbles.

Prince Hisahito, who is a sixth-grade student at Ochanomizu University Elementary School, will graduate from elementary school in March and discussions are underway among Imperial Family members as to which junior high school he will attend.

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Despite being the son of Emperor Akihito’s younger son, Prince Hisahito is the Emperor’s only grandson, and as such, he is expected to one day become the Emperor of Japan.

Crown Prince Naruhito, the current heir to the throne of Japan, and Crown Princess Masako have only one child: Aiko, Princess Toshi. As a female, Aiko is not in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne, and thus her father is followed in the line of succession by his brother, Prince Akishino, and his nephew, Prince Hisahito.

That happens because according to the Imperial House Law of 1947, women are not only ineligible to ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne, but they must also renounce their titles and membership of the Imperial House when they marry commoners.

As such, not only is the Crown Prince’s daughter excluded from the line of succession, but also every other female born member of the family, including Prince Hisahito’s older sisters, Princess Mako and Princess Kako.

That leads to an increasingly smaller Imperial Family, not only regarding the line of succession as Prince Hisahito is the only heir in the younger generation but also concerning members of the family who can carry out official engagements.

And when Emperor Akihito abdicates next year on 30 April, Prince Hisahito will become second in line to the throne, and his father will become Japan’s Crown Prince.

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