On March 17, Kako, 28, the second daughter of the Akishino family, attended the “Cherry Tree Planting Ceremony” held at Kairakuen Garden in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture. Kako, who appeared in a spring-like blue gradient skirt, was energetic as she toured various places in Ibaraki Prefecture after the ceremony was over.
Kako, wearing no mask for the first time in a long time, gave the press a dainty smile. However, behind that smile, Kako is actually not at peace.
I hear that there have been a lot of discussions among the family members about Kako’s living alone. Currently, Prince Akishino’s family is preparing to move into the Akishinomiya Residence in Moto-Akasaka, Tokyo, where renovation work has been completed. However, Kako is the only one who has not made preparations for the move and has chosen to live alone in the temporary residence. I heard that Prince Akishino had a meeting with Kako in an attempt to persuade her to abandon the move, saying, ‘I can’t explain this to the people,’ but she did not change her mind.
Kako is 29 years old this year. She is 29 years old this year, and she probably has a strong desire to be independent and separate from her family. However, there is a reason why Prince Akishino is particularly sensitive about Kako living alone. Yuji Odabe, professor emeritus at Shizuoka University of Social Welfare, points out that Kako’s current situation is particularly complicated.
Kako is a very conspicuous person, partly because of her cheerful and free-spirited personality. She will probably be a central figure in the next celebrations, and she is also a person who attracts the public’s attention. The situation that Kako is in is by no means easy. A major reason for this is the ongoing debate over the Women’s Imperial Family.
The female imperial family is a system that allows female members of the Imperial Family to remain members of the Imperial Family after marriage and have their own family as the head of the family, which is not permitted under the current Imperial Household Law. Discussions on the “Women’s House of the Imperial Family” began around 2005, and in 2009, a final report by a panel of experts was submitted to the government for full consideration. As of 2011, however, the debate has stalled and no conclusion has yet been reached.
“She is still in the midst of discussions about whether she will remain in the Imperial Family after her marriage, how any children born from the marriage will be treated, and what position Kako’s marriage partner will hold. If Kako were to get married now, in the midst of the discussions, and leave the Imperial Family immediately in accordance with the current system, she would be ignoring the voices of the people, who want to discuss the issue at length. The Akishino family, which has already damaged the public’s trust even just because of the Komuro problem, could further damage its image. Prince Akishino will have no choice but to be sensitive about Kako’s living alone and her marriage,” said Odabe.
Since the beginning of this year, Kako has been more energetic in her official duties. Will she one day be as free in her private life as her older sister Mako?
Photo： Courtesy of Japan Magazine Publishers Association