Crown Princess Masako


Born: 9 December 1963
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
Best known as: The wife of Crown Prince Naruhito

Name at birth: Masako Owada

Masako Owada married Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito on 9 June 1993 and became Crown Princess Masako. A diplomat's daughter, Masako spent time as a child in both the United States and the Soviet Union (now Russia). She graduated from Harvard University in 1985 and later attended Oxford and the University of Tokyo while beginning a career in Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After her marriage she was closely watched by the Japanese public for signs that she might produce a male heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne. In 1999 she suffered a miscarriage after her pregnancy was publicly announced. On 1 December 2001 she gave birth to a girl, Princess Aiko. The Imperial Household announced in 2004 that Masako was suffering from adjustment disorder, a stress-induced mental condition; the official statement blamed the stress on "her special status as a crown princess, problems relating to her pregnancy and miscarriage, and her busy life."

Extra credit: Princess Kiko, wife of Naruhito's younger brother Prince Akishino, gave birth to a male heir to the imperial throne in 2006... Owada is Princess Masako's original family name; in Japan her birth name would be written as Owada Masako, with the family name first.

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