Fumihito, Prince Akishino

Fumihito, Crown Prince Akishino[1][2] (皇嗣文仁親王, Kōshi Fumihito Shinnō, born 30 November 1965) is a member of the Japanese imperial family. He is the younger brother of Emperor Naruhito and the younger son of Emperor emeritus Akihito and Empress emerita Michiko. He is the heir presumptive to the Chrysanthemum Throne. Since his marriage in June 1990, he has had the title Akishino-no-miya (秋篠宮, Akishino-no-miya, generally translated into English as Prince Akishino) and has headed his own branch of the imperial family.[3]

Crown Prince of Japan
Prince Akishino during his visit to Mexico City, October 2014
BornFumihito (文仁)
(1965-11-30) 30 November 1965
Imperial Household Agency Hospital, Tokyo Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan
Kiko Kawashima (m. 1990)
HouseImperial House of Japan
MotherMichiko Shōda

Early life and education

The prince was born on 30 November 1965 at the Imperial Household Agency Hospital, Tokyo Imperial Palace in Tokyo. His given name is Fumihito. His mother, Empress Emerita Michiko, is a convert to Shinto from Roman Catholicism. His childhood appellation was Prince Aya (礼宮 Aya-no-miya). He attended the primary and secondary schools of the Gakushūin. He played tennis in primary and secondary schools of the Gakushūin.

In April 1984, he entered the Law Department of Gakushuin University, where he studied law and biological science. After graduating from the university with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science, he studied the taxonomy of fish at St John's College, Oxford in the United Kingdom from October 1988 to June 1990.

Upon the death of his grandfather, Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito), on 7 January 1989, he became second-in-line to the throne after his elder brother, Crown Prince Naruhito.

Prince Fumihito received a PhD degree in ornithology from the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in October 1996. His doctoral dissertation was titled, "Molecular Phylogeny of Jungle Fowls, genus Gallus and Monophyletic Origin of Domestic Fowls". He conducted field research in Indonesia in 1993 and 1994, and in Yunnan Province in the People's Republic of China. When the Emperor Emeritus was then Crown Prince, he introduced tilapia to Thailand as an important source of protein. Tilapia can be easily cultured and Prince Fumihito, who is also known as "catfish specialist," has managed to maintain and expand the aquacultural studies with the people of Thailand.

Prior to Fumihito's birth, the announcement about the then-Crown Prince Akihito's engagement and marriage to the then-Ms. Michiko Shōda had drawn opposition from traditionalist groups, because Shōda came from a Roman Catholic family.[4] Although Shōda was never baptized, she was educated in Catholic schools and seemed to share the faith of her parents. Rumors also speculated that Empress Kōjun had opposed the engagement. After the death of Fumihito's paternal grandmother Empress Kōjun in 2000, Reuters reported that she was one of the strongest opponents of her son's marriage, and that in the 1960s, she had driven her daughter-in-law and grandchildren to depression by persistently accusing her of not being suitable for her son.[5]

Marriage and issue

On 29 June 1990, Prince Fumihito married Kiko Kawashima, the daughter of Tatsuhiko Kawashima (professor of economics at Gakushuin University) and his wife, Kazuyo.[6]

The couple met when they were both undergraduates at Gakushuin University.[7][8] Like his father, the present Emperor Emeritus, the Prince married outside the former aristocracy and former collateral branches of the imperial family. Upon marriage, he received the title Prince Akishino (Akishino-no-miya – strictly "Prince Akishino") and authorization from the Imperial Household Economy Council to form a new branch of the Imperial Family. The marriage was bitterly resented by officials at the Imperial Household Agency, as well as Prince Akishino's paternal-grandmother Empress Dowager Nagako.[8]


Prince and Princess Akishino have two daughters and one son:


Prince Akishino serves as the president of the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology and the Japanese Association of Zoological Gardens and Aquariums. He is also the honorary president of the World Wide Fund for Nature Japan, the Japan Tennis Association, and the Japan-Netherlands Association.[3]

The Prince and Princess have made numerous official visits to foreign countries. In June 2002, they became the first members of the Imperial Family to visit Mongolia, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations.[9][10] In October 2002, they visited the Netherlands to attend the funeral of Prince Claus of the Netherlands.[11] In September 2003, the Prince and Princess made goodwill visits to Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, again, the first time ever members of the Imperial Family had visited these countries.[12][13] In March 2004, the Prince and Princess returned to the Netherlands for the funeral of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands.[11] In January 2005, they visited Luxembourg to attend the funeral of Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte.[11] From October to November 2006, they visited Paraguay to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Japanese emigration to that country.[14] In January 2008, they visited Indonesia for a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Republic of Indonesia.[15]

They visited Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania in May 2009 on the occasion of "Japan-Danube Friendship Year 2009"[16][17] and the Netherlands in August 2009 for the commemorative event of the 400th anniversary of the trade relations between Japan and the Netherlands.[18] They have also visited Costa Rica,[19] Uganda,[20] Croatia,[21] the Slovak Republic,[22] Slovenia,[23] Peru, and Argentina.[24][25]

In addition, Prince Akishino carried out public duties on behalf of the Emperor when he was hospitalized.[26] He and other members of the imperial family visited the affected areas after the Great East Japan earthquake in March 2011.[26] From June to July 2014, Prince Fumihito and Princess Kiko visited Republic of Zambia and United Republic of Tanzania.[27][28]

In accordance with legislation passed allowing his father's abdication, he became heir presumptive to the throne on 30 April 2019. In June-July 2019, the Crown Prince and his wife carried out the first official overseas visit by the imperial family following the accession of Emperor Naruhito. They visited Poland and Finland to participate in the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relationship between Japan and the two countries.[29] In August 2019, the couple and their son, Hisahito, arrived to Bhutan for a visit.[30]

Other interests

Crown Prince Akishino is a big fan of the Beatles and an avid tennis player. As a student, he ranked among the top ten doubles tennis players in the Kantō Region.

Crown Prince Akishino is also known as a successor to the Arisugawa school of calligraphy.

Titles and honours

Titles and styles

  • 30 November 1965 – 29 June 1990: His Imperial Highness The Prince Aya
  • 29 June 1990 – 30 April 2019: His Imperial Highness The Prince Akishino
  • 1 May 2019 – present: His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince of Japan (皇嗣殿下)


National honours

Foreign honours

Honorary degrees

Honorary positions

  • Reserve Member of the Imperial House Council
  • President of Yamashina Institute for Ornithology
  • President of Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums
  • Patron of the Society for the Protection of Mitera Sennyuji (Mitera Sennyuji is the temple in which the Imperial memorial tablets are enshrined)
  • Patron of the Social Welfare Organization "Saiseikai" Imperial Gift Foundation Inc.
  • Honorary President of World Wide Fund for Nature Japan
  • Honorary Patron of Japan Tennis Association
  • Honorary Patron of the Japan-Netherlands Society
  • Honorary Patron of Association for All Nippon Gourd Fanciers
  • Honorary President of Japan Water Prize Committee
  • Honorary President of the Waksman Foundation of Japan INC
  • Honorary Vice President of the Siam Society
  • Researcher Extraordinary of the University Museum, the University of Tokyo
  • Guest Professor of the Tokyo University of Agriculture
  • Visiting Researcher of the Center for the Promotion of Integrated Sciences, the Graduate University for Advanced Studies


  1. Their Imperial Highnesses Crown Prince and Crown Princess Akishino and their family - names - official website of the Imperial Household Agency
  2. "English Titles and Basic words relating to the Imperial Succession" (PDF). Imperial Household Agency. 10 April 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  3. Kunaicho: personal histories Archived 26 July 2007 at WebCite
  4. Herbert P. Bix, "Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan", New York, 2001, p. 661
  5. "Japan's Dowager Empress Dead At 97". CBS News. 16 June 2000. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  6. "Scenes from An Uncommon Marriage: Japan's Prince Aya Weds a Cinderella Psych Major, Kiko Kawashima". People. June 1990.
  7. "Princess Akishino's pregnancy". Japan Times. March 29, 2006.
  8. "Japanese Prince Plans To Marry A Commoner". Chicago Tribune. 13 September 1989.
  9. "Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino to Visit Mongolia". Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  10. "Prince, Princess to visit Mongolia". The Japan Times. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  11. "List of Overseas Visits by the Emperor, Empress and Imperial Family (1999–2008)". kunaicho.go.jp. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  12. "Japan-Fiji Relations". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  13. "Japanese Royal visit to Samoa" (PDF). Embassy of Japan in New Zealand. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  14. "Prince Akishino to visit Paraguay on Wednesday". AAJ News. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  15. "Indonesian president meets Japanese Prince Akishino". China View. Archived from the original on 22 August 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  16. "Prince and princess Akishino on official visit to Bulgaria". bulgarian.ibox.bg. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  17. "Political relations". Embassy of Romania to Japan. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  18. "Dutch appeal to visiting Prince Akishino". typepad.com. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  19. "Japanese royals visit Costa Rica". The Tico Times. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  20. "Japan royals visit Uganda". New Vision. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  21. "Japanese prince and princess Akishino to visit Croatia". dubrovnik.com. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  22. "Japan-Slovakia Relations". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  23. "Japanese Prince and Princes Akishino to Visit Slovenia". Slovenian Times. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  24. "Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko of Japan visit Peru". Peru this week. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  25. "Prince, Princess Akishino in Argentina". News on Japan. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  26. Komatsu, Natsuki (1 December 2011). "Prince Akishino's remarks show Imperial family crisis". The Daily Yomiuri. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  27. "Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino's visit to Zambia". Embassy of Japan in the Republic of Zambia. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  28. "Prince Akishino of Japan visits Serengeti and Ngorongoro over the weekend". The official website of Tanzania National Parks. Archived from the original on 27 March 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  29. "Japan's Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko leave for European trip". The Japan Times. 27 June 2019. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  30. "Japan's Crown Prince Akishino and family meet Bhutan's king". The Japan Times. 20 August 2019. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
  31. https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/9f/60/09/9f600931db65cf1846b54c81d2f8dfef.jpg
  32. Blogspot
  33. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 October 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  34. Italian Presidency, S.A.I. Akishino Principe di Giappone
  35. Decoraties Staatsbezoeken Japan en Republiek Korea Archived 4 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine - website of the Dutch Royal House
  36. Prince Akishino wearing the Order
  37. Boletín Oficial del Estado
Fumihito, Prince Akishino
Born: 30 November 1965
Lines of succession
Succession to the Japanese throne
1st in line
Succeeded by
Prince Hisahito of Akishino
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