Japan’s former "sad princess" yesterday acted in her official capacity as empress for the first time, visiting the headquarters of the charity, whose honorary president she has been since her husband Naruhito’s coronation. The stress that affected her life after marriage seems to be over.
Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Empress Masako yesterday visited the headquarters of the Japanese Red Cross, whose honorary president she became on 1st May. This is her first official engagement.
Known for years as Japan’s "sad princess", the 55-year-old sovereign gave a brief speech to the dignitaries present at the charity’s headquarters.
The choice of venue is not accidental. A year ago, the then Princess Masako visited the same organisation together with her mother-in-law, the current Empress Emerita Michiko.
That was the first time in 15 years that she had taken part in an event associated with the Imperial Family, thus showing an improvement over the stress that had characterised the start of her marriage.
Daughter of a diplomat and trained to follow in her father’s footsteps, Empress Masako met the then Prince Naruhito at the University of Tokyo in 1986 and the two got married in 1993.
After eight years she gave birth to a daughter, Princess Aiko, who is excluded from the throne because of Japan’s ancient imperial law of male primogeniture.
In 2005 the Japanese government started to consider the possibility of allowing women to ascend to the Chrysanthemum throne, but the birth of a son to Prince Akishino – the brother of the current emperor – ended the process as his son Hisahito has the right to reign over the country.