Aiko, Princess Toshi

Princess Toshi

Princess Aiko (center) in 2013
Born (2001-12-01) 1 December 2001
Hospital of the Imperial Household, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
Full name
Aiko (愛子)
House Imperial House of Japan
Father Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan
Mother Masako, Crown Princess of Japan
Religion Shinto

Aiko, Princess Toshi (敬宮愛子内親王 Toshi-no-miya Aiko Naishinnō, born 1 December 2001) is the only child of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako of Japan.[1]


On 1 December 2001, the Crown Princess gave birth to a baby girl. lt was their first child after 8 years of marriage for the then 37 years-old crown princess and the 41 years-old crown prince. The baby was born at 2:43 PM and was 49.6 centimeters tall and weighed 3,103 grams. The crown prince was in the delivery room during the birth and the crown princess was attended by a 12-person medical team with four doctors.


In a break with tradition, the name of the princess was chosen by her parents, instead of by the Emperor. It was selected from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Mencius. In clause 56 of Li Lou II, Mencius said "One who loves the others will be constantly loved by them; one who respects others will be constantly respected by them. (人者人恆之,人者人恆之。)"

Aiko, the princess's personal name, is written with kanji character for "love (愛)" and "child (子)" and means "a person who loves others."[2] The princess also has an imperial title, Princess Toshi (敬宮 toshi-no-miya) which means "a person who respects others."[2] This formal title will be dropped if she marries a commoner.

Personal life

Princess Aiko began her education at Gakushuin Kindergarten on April 3, 2006.[3] She left kindergarten on March 15, 2008.[4] On 18 March 2014, Princess Aiko finished at Gakushuin elementary school and on 6 April 2014 she entered Gakushuin Girl's Junior High-school.

On her eighth birthday, it was revealed her interests include but are not limited to: writing Kanji characters, calligraphy, jump rope, playing piano and violin, and writing poetry.[5]

In early March 2010, Aiko began to stay home from school due to, along with other girls, being bullied by her elementary school classmates.[6] Aiko returned to school on a limited basis on May 2, 2010. After returning to school, a senior palace official said that she would attend a limited number of classes accompanied by her mother, upon advice from a doctor at the Crown Prince’s household.[7]

In November 2011, Aiko was hospitalized with pneumonia.[8]


The Imperial Household Law of 1947 abolished the Japanese nobility; under provisions of this law, the imperial family was streamlined to the descendants of Emperor Taishō.[9] The laws of succession in Japan forbid inheritance by or through females. If the laws were changed, Aiko would be second in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne.


The birth of Princess Aiko sparked debate in Japan about whether the Imperial Household Act of 1947 should be changed from the current system of agnatic primogeniture to absolute primogeniture, which would allow a woman, as firstborn, to inherit the Chrysanthemum Throne ahead of a younger brother or male cousin. Although Imperial chronologies include eight empresses regnant in the course of Japanese history, their successors were always selected from amongst the members of the paternal Imperial bloodline, which is why some conservative scholars argue that the women's reigns were temporary and that male-only succession tradition must be maintained in the 21st century.[9] Though Empress Gemmei was followed on the throne by her daughter, Empress Genshō,[10] Genshō herself was succeeded by her brother's son, thus keeping the throne in the same agnatic line; both Genshō and Gemmei, as well as all other empresses regnant and emperors, belonged to the same patriline.

A government-appointed panel of experts submitted a report on 25 October 2005, recommending that the Imperial succession law be amended to permit absolute primogeniture. On 20 January 2006, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi used part of his annual keynote speech to address the controversy when he pledged to submit a bill to the Diet letting women ascend to the throne in order that the Imperial throne be continued into the future in a stable manner. Koizumi did not announce a timing for the legislation to be introduced nor did he provide details about the content but he did note that it would be in line with the conclusions of the 2005 government panel.

Birth of male cousin

Proposals to replace agnatic primogeniture were shelved temporarily after it was announced in February 2006 that the Crown Prince's younger brother, Fumihito, Prince Akishino and his wife Kiko, Princess Akishino were expecting their third child. On 6 September 2006, at 8:27 a.m. (Japan Standard Time), Princess Kiko gave birth to a son, Hisahito, who is third in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne under the current law, after his uncle, the Crown Prince and his father, Prince Akishino. The prince's birth provided the first male heir to be born in the imperial family in 41 years. On 3 January 2007, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe announced that he would drop the proposal to alter the Imperial Household Law. Therefore, it seems unlikely that the succession laws will be changed to allow Princess Aiko to become Empress regnant.

Royal functions

She visited a special exhibition on the 150th anniversary of Japan-Italy diplomatic relations on 5 April 2016 at the Tokyo museum.[11]

Titles and styles

Styles of
Aiko, Princess Toshi
Reference style Her Imperial Highness
Spoken style Your Imperial Highness
Alternative style Ma'am

Aiko is styled as Her Imperial Highness The Princess Toshi.



  2. 1 2 Colin Joyce, "Japan's princess named 'one who loves others'", The Daily Telegraph. 08 Dec 2001.
  3. Japan's Princess Aiko, 4, starts kindergarten. redOrbit. April 10, 2006. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
  4. Princess Aiko finishes kindergarten. The Japan Times. March 16, 2009. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  5. Princess Aiko celebrates 8th birthday. The Mainichi Daily News. December 1, 2009. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  6. "Japan princess 'bullied by boys'". BBC News. 5 March 2010.
  7. "Princess Aiko returns to school". The Japan Times. Tokyo. 2 May 2010.
  8. Demetriou, Danielle (3 November 2011). "Japan's Princess Aiko suffering from pneumonia". Daily Telegraph. London.
  9. 1 2 "Life in the Cloudy Imperial Fishbowl," The Japan Times. 27 March 2007.
  10. Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 56.
  11. "Japan-Italy diplomatic relations 150th anniversary special exhibition". Retrieved 13 May 2016.

External links

Aiko, Princess Toshi
Born: 1 December 2001
Order of precedence in Japan
Preceded by
The Princess Akishino
HIH The Princess Toshi
Succeeded by
Princess Mako of Akishino
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