Japan’s Princess Kako of Akishino was born as the second child of the now Crown Prince Fumihito and Crown Princess Kiko; Kako Naishinnō was born at the Imperial Household Hospital in Tokyo on 29 December 1994. Her older sister is Princess Mako (b. 1991), and her younger brother is Prince Hisahito (b. 2006).
Kako followed her sister to Gakushuin Primary School and later to Gakushuin Girls’ Senior High School where she graduated in 2013. Her university education was at Gakushuin University, from 2013 to 2014 during which time she partook in a homestay programme in the United States; however, she left the university and transferred to the International Christian University, from which Princess Mako graduated. The Princess transferred because she wanted to “study English and a wide range of subjects.”
Kako also studied abroad, like her uncle Emperor Naruhito, in the United Kingdom. The Princess, who speaks English, Japanese and Japanese sign language, studied at the University of Leeds in 2017 and 2018; while there, she focused on performing arts and psychology.
Kako graduated from the International Christian University in March 2019 with a degree from the Division of Arts and Sciences.
Her Imperial Highness took part in figure skating from a young age and ranked in her age division. While in primary school, she skated for the Meiji-Jingu Gaien Figure Skating Club and competed in the Spring Cup Figure Skating Competition where she placed first in her division.
Kako is known to be very close with her mother and spent hours by her side in the hospital after the birth of her younger brother when she was 12. Crown Princess Kiko had to have a caesarean due to partial placenta previa. She was said to have visited every day and would do her homework in her mother’s room.
After becoming an adult (the age of majority in Japan is 20), Princess Kako began to represent the Imperial Family at official functions. She has undertaken solo visits to Austria and Hungary and accompanied her parents to Thailand when she was younger.
Princess Kako, like her older sister and cousin, Princess Aiko (the only child of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako), she is not in the line of succession. Japan does not allow women to reign in their own right or head their own branches of the family. Upon marriage to a commoner, female members of the family must relinquish their titles and roles in the Imperial Family. This has led to dwindling numbers in the Imperial Family, and the line of succession only has three people: her father, younger brother and 85-year-old great-uncle Prince Hitachi.
The Japanese government is considering allowing female members of the family to head their own branches and give them government roles upon their marriages; however, nothing has been officially decided.