Born on 9 April 1955, Nobuko Asō was the third daughter and youngest child of Takakichi Asō and Kazuko Yoshida. Her father was the chairman of the Aso Company and former member of the House of Representatives while her mother was the daughter of former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida.
Nobuko’s well-connected family was Roman Catholic, and she graduated from the Sacred Heart School in Tokyo before attending Rosslyn House College, UK. After graduating in 1973, she returned to Japan and taught English at a kindergarten in Tokyo.
It was while studying in the UK that she met her future husband, Prince Tomohito of Mikasa. He proposed to her in 1973 but was rejected because Nobuko was still young. By 1980, she accepted his proposal and the Imperial Household Agency announced their engagement on 18 April. Their engagement ceremony was held on 21 May and wedding ceremony on 7 November. Upon her marriage, she became Her Imperial Highness Princess Tomohito of Mikasa.
The couple had two daughters: Princess Akiko (b. 20 December 1981) and Princess Yōko (b. 25 October 1983).
Prince Tomohito had struggled with his health for quite some time and had beaten cancer in 1991. He was again diagnosed with cancer of the larynx in 2003, and after years of battling cancer and alcoholism, he died of multiple organ failure on 6 June 2012 when he was just 66-years-old.
A year later, Prince Tomohito’s household was merged with his parents, Prince and Princess Mikasa, where his widow and daughters were placed under his father’s household.Embed from Getty Images
Since her husband’s death, the Princess has continued her public duties and is very involved with Japan’s Red Cross, serving as their Vice President. She holds several other honorary roles with organisations that include being President of the Japan Rose Society and Honorary President of the Japan Building Maintenance Association.
Her Imperial Highness travels across the globe on behalf of Japan and has worked to help with the development of judo on the world stage and promotes sports through NSCA Japan. The Princess also works with restorations projects, nutrition, assistance for the disabled, youth development, and women’s health.Embed from Getty Images
She was entrusted by the Emperor Emeritus and Emperor with contributing to “the development of Japan’s agriculture by attending “Ninaite (bearers of agriculture) Summit”, hosted by the National Chamber of Agriculture, fostering the agricultural management development and the regional agriculture promotion through discussing and exchanging ideas by enthusiastic farmers,” according to the Imperial Household Agency.
The Princess is known to be an excellent cook and has had two recipe books published Shiki no katei ryori (Home Cooking Through the Seasons) and Omoide no saki niwa itsumo katei ryori (Memories are Made of Home-Cooked Meals).