Japan’s Princess Kako of Akishino has returned home after a nine-month stay in the United Kingdom where she studied at the University of Leeds. She flew into Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and arrived on Friday afternoon where she was greeted by Imperial Household Staff.
Through the Imperial Household Agency, Her Imperial Highness said, “I had an enjoyable and fruitful nine months in Britain. I will treasure my experiences there.”
As members of the media gathered to greet her, she smiled politely at those assembled who were welcoming her home. Kako stayed in a dormitory with other students and studied performing arts and psychology while at Leeds. She also travelled to Portugal and Spain with a female friend during their spring holiday.
Her final year at the International Christian University in Tokyo will begin in September.
The 23-year-old Princess is not the only member of her family to study in the UK. Crown Prince Naruhito studied at Oxford’s Merton College, while Crown Princess Masako studied international relations at Balliol College, Oxford – both in the 1980s. Kako’s older sister, Princess Mako also received her Masters in Art Museum and Gallery Studies from the University of Leicester. It was revealed earlier this month that Princess Aiko, the only child of the Crown Prince Couple, is due to attend summer school at Eton College from late July to early August, according to the Japan Times citing sources close to the matter.
Kako, the granddaughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, is the younger daughter of Fumihito, Prince Akishino and his wife, Princess Kiko. Fumihito will be the Crown Prince of Japan upon his father’s abdication and elder brother, Naruhito’s ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne next year. Emperor Akihito will abdicate on 30 April 2019, and Naruhito will become the 126th Emperor to ascend the throne on 1 May 2019.
Women are not entitled to ascend the Japanese throne; so, Kako, her older sister Princess Mako and cousin, Princess Aiko are not in the line of succession. Only one of the Emperor and Empress’s grandchildren has succession rights – their grandson, Prince Hisahito (11). Hisahito is the younger brother of Princesses Mako and Kako. As it stands now, he will one day be Emperor of Japan – barring any unforeseen circumstances or a change in the succession laws.