Imperial Princess Katsuranomiya Sumiko (桂宮淑子内親王)

Imperial Princess Katsuranomiya Sumiko (February 22, 1829 - October 3, 1881) was Emperor Ninko's third Princess. Her birth mother was Azechi no naishi (lady-in-waiting), Kiyoko KANROJI. Her childhood name was Tokinomiya. Her half younger brother was Emperor Komei, half younger sister was Imperial Princess Kazunomiya Chikako.

Brief personal history

On March 1, 1840, she was married to Imperial Prince Kaninnomiya Naruhito. She received the title to become Imperial Princess on October 18, 1842 just before she was getting married however, two days after this, on October 20 Imperial Prince Naruhito died and the marriage did not happen.

After her half younger brother, Imperial Prince Katsuranomiya Misahito died on February 11, 1863, since there was no one to succeed to the head of the Katsuranomiya family, Imperial Princess Katsuranomiya Sumiko succeeded to become the twelfth family head of the Katsuranomiya family. This was a very exceptional example of a woman being succeeded to Miyake (house of an imperial prince). After that she received Jusango (one of the respective title for Imperial Family or court nobles in the Heian period), Ippon (the first of Imperial Princess's rank) on June 5, 1866 and she was treated well. Since then she was called Katsura jugo no miya and her rank of seating order was higher than Emperor Komei's Nyogo (a consort of an emperor), the Empress Dowager Eisho (Jugo - same as Jusango - at that time).

She died in 1881 when she was fifty three years old. The funeral was held at Shokoku-ji Temple at Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture on October 20, 1881, and she was entombed in Sennyu-ji Temple in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City. After Imperial Princess Sumiko died, the Katsuranomiya family discontinued since there was no one to succeed to the family.

Personal Profile

She was very shy and she was in a palanquin while going on a walk in the Palace peering outside through a Bamboo blind. Her personality was contrary to Kazunomiya's who was very outgoing. There was a period when she used to live together with Kazunomiya.

It was Katsuranomiya mansion where Sumiko used to live and it is currently known as Honmaru (the keep of a castle) Palace of Nijo-jo Castle. Since she loved Noh play, a part of the Japanese-style room was arranged to use as a stage for Noh play, this room is still kept as the way it used to be.

[Original Japanese]