Princess Kako of Japan has marked her 28th birthday with new official portraits – after taking on the official duties left by her older sister Princess Mako, who has moved to New York with her commoner husband.
Kako, niece of Emperor Naruhito, posed up a storm at the Akasaka imperial property residence in Tokyo on December 2, ahead of celebrating her birthday today.
In the photographs, the princess, dressed in a white jumper and jacket with a cream pleated skirt, walks through a scenic woodland.
The younger daughter of Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko has spent the past year actively filling in for her older sister, Mako Komuro, who relocated to New York in 2021, according to the Japan Times.
Princess Kako of Japan has marked her 28th birthday with new official portraits – after taking on the official duties left by her older sister Princess Mako, who has moved to New York with her commoner husband
Princess Kako took over as honorary president of the Japan Tennis Association and president of the Japan Kogei Association following her sister’s departure.
Who is Princess Kako of Japan?
Princess Kako is a grandchild of Japan’s former Emperor Akihito and the younger daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko.
Her father and younger brother Prince Hisahito, 12, became the first and second in line to the throne, respectively, when the Emperor, 85, abdicated.
Her uncle Emperor Naruhito now sits on the Chrysanthemum Throne.
Princess Kako’s full title is Her Imperial Highness Princess Kako of Akishino, and she’s declared her wish to support her uncle rather than continuing her education or taking up a career.
When her uncle became Emperor, her father Prince Akishino became Crown Prince, and her brother became second in line to the throne even though he is younger.
The royal family will not consider the idea of an Empress being the sole ruler.
She also visited urban green infrastructure events this year, which her sister used to attend.
It was reported the former princess Mako is working as an unpaid volunteer at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art after giving up her titles – and a $1.3 million payout – to marry her ‘commoner’ college sweetheart.
In November, it was revealed that Mako’s husband Kei Komuro has passed the New York bar exam after two failed attempts.
Meanwhile, Mako is working in the iconic museum’s Asian art collection, helping to put together an exhibit of paintings inspired by the life of a 13th century monk who introducing Buddhism in Japan, according to the Japan Times.
The Upper East Side museum is a 10-minute drive from the luxury one-bedroom apartment in Hell’s Kitchen that she shares with husband and aspiring lawyer Kei Komuro, 30.
The couple were engaged for eight years before tying the knot last October in a small civil ceremony in Tokyo.
Because only male members of the Japanese imperial family are allowed to wed non-royals, Mako’s decision to marry for love means that she is no longer considered a princess and any future sons will not be in the line of succession for the emperorship.
Mako and Kei met in 2013 when they were both studying at the International Christian University outside Tokyo, where she studied art and cultural heritage. She went on to work as a special researcher at Tokyo’s University Museum.
Earlier this year, the Crown Prince Akishino officially became the heir to the throne following Emperor Naruhito’s accession in 2019.
Mako gave up her royal titles after marrying her ‘commoner’ boyfriend Kei Komuro in Tokyo in October 2021. Above, the couple announce their engagement in 2017
Kako, niece of Emperor Naruhito, posed up a storm at the Akasaka imperial property residence in Tokyo on December 2, ahead of celebrating her birthday today
The younger daughter of Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko has spent the past year actively filling in for her older sister, Mako Komuro, who relocated to New York in 2021
Nahurito, who ascended the throne himself following the abdication of his father, Emperor Akihito, does not have a male heir, and according to Japanese succession rules, only a man can ascend the throne.
In April, Crown Prince Akishino travelled to the holy shrine at Ise, Mie, where he completed the ritual known as Rikkoshi no Rei, which all heirs to the Chrysanthemum Throne are asked to do.
The ritual first began in 2020, when Nahurito had to send envoys across Japan to locations which have a strong link with the Imperial family, to report that Fuhimito will be his heir.
In the photographs, the princess, dressed in a white jumper and jacket with a cream pleated skirt, walks through a scenic woodland
The locations included Ise Jingu, a Shinto shrine complex in Mie Prefecture, the mausoleum of Emperor Jinmu, Japan’s mythical first Emperor, in Nara Prefecture, and the mausoleum of Emperor Showa, Emperor Naruhito’s grandfather.
After the envoys reported on the news, ceremonies were performed at each sites.