International royalsJapan

Who is Japan’s Aiko, Princess Toshi?

Aiko, Princess Toshi is the daughter and only child of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako of Japan.

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She was born on 1 December 2001 at the Imperial Household Agency Hospital in the Tokyo Imperial Palace. The Princess has two names, a personal one Aiko, and an official name, Toshi, and in a breach with tradition, these names were chosen by her parents and not the Emperor. The names are similar in meaning Aiko meaning “one who loves others” and Toshi meaning “one who respects others”.

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With her father soon due to take on the Chrysanthemum Throne, we may have expected that Princess Toshi would become the heir apparent, but this is not the case. Though the Japanese do not have a problem with a female ruler and have had a number in the past, they are always seen as temporary rulers as they believe succession where possible should be through the father’s bloodline. This was most recently enshrined in law with the Imperial Household Law of 1947, although a committee did look at the issue in 2005. Before the committee could report, Crown Prince Naruhito’s younger brother and his wife, Prince and Princess Akishino gave birth to a son, Hisahito. This takes Princess Toshi outside the successors to the throne.

The Princess began her education at the Gakushuin Kindergarten between 2006 and 2008, before moving on to elementary school, where sadly she had disrupted education due to bullying from her classmates. In 2010, this was eventually resolved, and indeed the Princess was allowed to hold parties for her fellow school pupils at the Togu Palace. Shortly after this, this poor Princess came down with pneumonia in 2011. It is said when around eight the young princess loved writing Kanji characters, calligraphy, playing the piano and violin and writing poetry.

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In 2014 she enrolled in Gakushuin Junior Girls High School, and now that she is older, she has joined her parents on some official engagements. No doubt once her father ascends the Chrysanthemum Throne we will see more of her.