Meet Crown Princess Masako of Japan (雅�?皇太�?妃殿下). She is both loved and vilified by the Japanese people while she has publicly struggled with emotional distress. Read more about it below. Also read her biography and see photos and a video.

Japan’s Crown Prince Naruhito has gone to the Japanese public once again on behalf of his wife, Japan’s sad princess. He has asked the people of Japan to continue to understand and support his wife as she struggles to deal with situational depression and anxiety.

“I would like the public to understand that Masako is continuing to make her utmost efforts with the help of those around her,�? the 48-year-old prince told a news conference at his palace in Tokyo.

“Please continue to watch over her kindly and over the long-term,�? Naruhito said.

His appeal comes at a time when the public has started turning against the Crown Princess for her lengthy retreat from the public eye and recent sightings of her participating in activities that are not considered appropriate for a member of the Imperial family. She has been seen out with friends, leaving her daughter in the care of others and enjoying expensive meals entertainment. This may not seem like infractions to Westerners, but Japanese royalty is expected to live an austere life and their decisions and expenditures must be approved by a committee that controls the Imperial household.

Crown Princess Masako Biography

Masako Owada (�?和田 雅�?) was born on December 9, 1963 in Tokyo, Japan. She is 44-years-old. She is the daughter of a high level career diplomat, Hisashi Owada. She has two younger twin sisters, Setsuko and Reiko. The family lived abroad during Her Imperial Highness’s childhood, due to her father’s appointments. When she was just two-years-old, the family moved to Moscow. The family returned to Japan and she attended Denenchofu Futaba private girls’ school in Tokyo throughout her primary school years. The family moved to the United States when her father was appointed vice ambassador to the United States and accepted a guest professorship at Harvard University. While in the United States, she attended and graduated from Belmont High School in Belmont, Massachusetts. She was the president of the National Honor Society while in high school.

The Princess graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Harvard University. She also attended graduate courses in International Relations at Balliol College, Oxford University. She also studied at the University of Tokyo while her father was a professor there.

Prior to her marriage, Princes Masako was a rising star in Japanese diplomacy in her own right. She was a modern, Western educated career woman, something that is still not the norm in Japanese society. She was employed by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She traveled widely and met with world leaders. She served as a translator in negotiations with the United States on issues of superconductors.

Apparently, as a well educated career woman, she was well aware of the restrictions of the Japanese Imperial life. She turned down repeated proposals from His Imperial Highness Naruhito, before finally accepting his offer for marriage. She married Crown Prince Naruhito on June 9, 1993 becoming only the second commoner to enter the Imperial household. Her mother-in-law, Empress Michiko, being the first commoner to join Japan’s Imperial Family when she married Emperor Akihito.

Her primary duty as the Crown Princess being to produce a male heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne. This is said to have been a very difficult realization for a woman who had envisioned herself a Japanese version of Princess Diana and had experienced a life in which she had more control over her own destiny. The Japanese Imperial House does not have the freedoms of European royalty and she is not free to make decisions regarding supporting causes or even how to dress or what she can spend her allowance on.

The princess has rarely been seen in public and has barely done any of her official duties since 2003. The has been described as ‘ailing’, suffering from an ‘adjustment disorder’ which is a form of anxiety and depression that is brought on by situational stresses and difficulties. It is generally felt that the pressure she has endured to produce a male heir is largely responsible for her depression. She was the subject of a book by Australian investigative journalist, Ben Hills, Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne. The book outlines the ways in which the Imperial Household controls the Princesses every move and hold her a virtual prisoner in the palace.

The Crown Princess experienced a miscarriage in 1999. She then gave birth to HIH Princess Aiko on December 1, 2001. The little girl is adorable, but Japanese law does not allow a daughter to ascend the throne. There were plans to change the line of ascension to the oldest child of the Crown Prince as opposed to the current law that requires ascension to go to the oldest son of the Crown Prince. However, Princess Kiko, the wife of Crown Prince Naruhito’s brother Prince Akishino, gave birth to a son on September 6, 2006. This birth negated the need to continue work on changing the laws of succession in order to maintain the world’s longest standing line of hereditary monarchy.

Crown Prince Naruhito received a great deal of criticism and rebuke from the Imperial Household for making his wife’s struggle with depression public. In 2004, he let the public know that his wife was suffering from stress related depression. He blamed the rigors and pressures of imperial life and the repression of her activities as well as her personality.

Princess Masako speaks Japanese, English, German and French. Her hobbies are tennis, hiking, skiing and music.

Crown Princess Masako – Video