Kiko, Princess Akishino (秋篠宮紀子親王妃, Akishino no miya Kiko-shinnōhi?), formerly Kiko Kawashima (川島紀子, Kawashima Kiko?, born September 11, 1966) is the wife of Prince Akishino, who is the second son of the Emperor Akihito and the Empress Michiko of Japan. The daughter of a university professor, she became the second commoner to marry into the imperial family; her mother-in-law, the Empress, was the first in 1959. She is also known as Princess Kiko.
Princess Kiko is the eldest daughter of Kawashima Tatsuhiko, professor of economics at Gakushuin University, and his wife, Kazuyo. She was affectionately called Kiki by friends and relatives in her childhood. She spent her preschool days in the United States when her father received a PhD in Regional Economy from the University of Pennsylvania and later taught there. Princess Kiko also attended elementary and high school in Vienna, Austria, when her father became the chief researcher at The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg, Austria, where he studied spatial science and NGO activities. The future princess became fluent in English and German. She participated in the Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Program (SSEAYP) in 1987 and continues to be a supporter of the program. She received her undergraduate degree from the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Letters of Gakushuin University in 1989. She subsequently began graduate study in psychology at Gakushuin and completed the first part of the doctorate in 1995. Princess Kiko was chosen as one of the Young Global Leaders for 2007, drawn from a poll of 4000 candidates.
Prince Akishino first proposed marriage to Kawashima Kiko on June 26, 1986 while they were both undergraduates at Gakushuin. The couple, however, did not announce their intent to marry for three years. The engagement received the formal sanction of the ten-member Imperial Household Council on September 12, 1989. The wedding took place at the Tokyo Imperial Palace on June 29, 1990. The Imperial Household Economy Council had previously granted the prince permission to establish a new branch of the imperial family and the Emperor granted him the title Akishino no miya (Prince Akishino) on his wedding day. Upon marriage, his bride became Her Imperial Highness Princess Akishino, known informally as Princess Kiko.