The daughter of a career diplomat and former Ambassador to the United Nations, Masako was born in Tokyo in 1963. Growing up in several countries due to her father’s career, Princess Masako is an intelligent, sporty, educated woman who speaks six languages: English, Russian, French, Japanese, Spanish and German.

During her high school years, her father was appointed a guest lecturer at Harvard and the family moved to Boston. Masako went on to graduate from Harvard University/Radcliffe College with a BA in Economics. Returning to Japan, she successfully applied to join the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, one of only 3 women and 25 men.

Crown Prince Naruhito met Masako when she was 22 and was immediately attracted to her – spending the next six years trying to convince her to marry him. His proposals were politely turned down as Masako did not want to give up her diplomatic career and did not believe she would be well suited to palace life. However, she accepted his third proposal and they were married in a traditional ceremony in June 1993.

After 8½ years of marriage, and a huge weight of expectation to produce a male heir to the throne, Princess Masako gave birth to a baby girl, Aiko on December 1, 2001. Since then she has mostly remained out of the public eye, reportedly due to emotional disorders which many speculate are caused by the pressure to produce an heir and adjusting to life in the Imperial Family.

“At times I experience hardship in trying to find the proper point of balance between traditional things and my own personality.”