Princess Akiko (明子女王)

Princess Akiko (1638 - August 2, 1680) was a member of the Japanese Imperial Family. She was born in the Edo period as a daughter of Takamatsunomiya Imperial Prince Yoshihito who was Emperor Gomizunoo's son and became a nyogo (a consort of an emperor) of Emperor Gosai. Her mother was Princess Kame (Hojuin) who was a daughter of the lord of the Fukui domain, Tadanao MATSUDAIRA and adopted daughter of Hidetada TOKUGAWA.

His father, Imperial Prince Yoshihito passed away without having a son in 1638 when Princess Akiko was born. Thus, the sixth son of Emperor Gomizunoo, Hidenomiya received the Imperial order for being an Imperial Prince and he became Imperial Prince Nagahito (Emperor Gosai), then took over the Takamatsunomiya family. Princess Akiko was informally decided to be a princess of Imperial Prince Nagahito. In 1651, their wedding ceremony was held after the genpuku (coming-of-age ceremony) of Imperial Prince, then she gave birth to Yaonomiya (latter-day Imperial Princess Tomoko) three years later in June 1654. On September 20 (old lunar calendar) of the same year, Emperor Gokomyo passed away, then Atenomiya (Emperor Reigen) was supposed to ascend the throne, but he was too young to be the Emperor and Imperial Prince Nagahito was enthroned. Imperial Prince Nagahito succeeded to the throne in November of the same year and assumed the throne in January 1655. Princess Akiko gave birth to Hachijonomiya Imperial Prince Osahito (later, took over the Hachijonomiya family) on May 14 of the same year. Akiko had been called nyogo without receiving the Imperial order for being a nyogo after Emperor Gosai assumed the throne, but she received the order in 1656. In January 1663, Emperor Gosai transferred the imperial throne to Emperor Reigen.

Princess Akiko died of illness on July 8, 1680 at the age of 43 and was posthumously named 妙吉祥院聖輔義英太夫人. Her grave is located at the Daitoku-ji Temple, Ryuko-in in Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture.

[Original Japanese]