Historically Japan's imperial dynasty was unlike western royal families in several respects. First, unlike the Habsburgs, the Tudors and other European dynasties, the Japanese imperial dynasty rarely faced the prospect of extinction. Until Yamagata Aritomo and the later Meiji oligarchs put a stop to the practice following the marriage of Crown Prince Yoshihito to Kujo Sadako, concubines and polygamy were the norm in the Imperial Household. Second, while emperors and imperial princes had "official" consorts, their male offspring by various court ladies (many from the Fujiwara and other kuge families) and concubines were potentially eligible to succeed. Being of imperial descent, however, did not automatically make a prince eligible to succeed to the throne. Descendants of an emperor in the female line were not eligible successors. [The Japanese throne has always passed through the male line. Occasionally an emperor's daughter succeeded to the throne in her own right. The succession never passed from mother to son or from mother to daughter.] Descendants of an emperor in the male line generally enjoyed "imperial status" down to the fifth generation. They thereafter ceased to be imperial kin and merged into the non-royal aristocracy.
The expense of maintaining so many persons at the Imperial Court and need to control the number of potential successors led Emperor Konin (reigned 770-780) to institute the practice of giving his younger sons an aristocratic surname (kabane). These sons and their descendants ceased to be considered members of the Imperial Family and were excluded from the succession. The practice continued into the Heian Period (794-1185). In 825, Emperor Saga (reigned 809-824) awarded the kabane Minamoto no Ason to several of his non-heir children. In 814, Emperor Kwammu (reigned 781-806) created the kabane Taira no Ason for his grandson Takamune. Thereafter all persons cut off from the Imperial Family and their descendants were surnamed either Minamoto (Genji) or Taira (Heishi). The name of the Emperor from whom they descended distinguished the various "de-royalized" families from one another. There were thus Saga Genji the Uda-Genji, the Murakami-Genji (Genji means "Minamoto family"), etc. Similarly, there were Kammu Heishi, Kontaku Heishi, Nimmyo Heishi (Heishi means "Taira family"), etc. Some of the Minamoto families, notably the Murakami-Genji (the ancestors of the Kitabatake and Tsuchimikado families), became kuge and were eligible for the highest offices in the Imperial Court (except the offices of kwampuko and sessho, the hereditary offices of the Fujiwara). Most of the Taira and Minamoto families, however, went to the provinces and eventually merged with the daimyo.
The Japanese imperial institution differed from most Western royal houses in two other respects: (1) the frequent use intra-lineage adoption and (2) endogamy.
From the 1300s' onward, occasionally non-heir sons of an emperor formed collateral branches of the Imperial Family. If the main Imperial Family failed to produce an heir, one of the imperial branch houses -- the shinnōke-- would provide the future emperor. The heads of these houses were Shinnō (imperial prince) in perpetuity. Strict male primogeniture governed the succession to these princely titles. Regardless of the genetic distance between the head of a shinnōke and the reigning emperor, the former continued to have imperial status. Emperor Gohanazono (reigned 1429-1464), for example, came from the Fushimi-no-miya house. Emperor Kokaku (reigned 1780-1817), a great-grandson of the 113th Emperor Higashiyama (reigned 1687-1710) and the lineal ancestor of all subsequent emperors, came from the Kan'in-no-miya house.
The sons in the shinnōke were styled ō (prince of the imperial blood). Many of the shinnōke died out in a few generations. Just as a remotely related Shinnō could succeed to the throne in default of a direct heir, likewise an emperor's biological son, grandson, or a non-heir son from another shinnōke could succeed to sonless shinnōke. Prince Haruhito, the younger brother of Emperor Kokaku, for example, succeeded to the head of the Kan'in-no-miya house upon his brother's ascension to the throne. Similarly, the heads of these Imperial branch families were Shinnō -- a status historically reserved for the biological sons and grandsons of the emperor. The proliferation of Shinnō in these branch families, occasionally made it necessary to deny that status to the emperor's own sons. Thus, a prince of the imperial blood did not become a Shinnō unless explicitly designated as such by the emperor (Shinnō senge).
These cadet branches of the imperial line –the miyake –ranked just below the koshitsu or the immediate Imperial Family (the emperor, the crown prince, dependent Shinnō who would eventually branch out and form their own miyake, and Naishinnō who would marry out of the family or take up religious orders) in the national hierarchy. The koshitsu and the miyake, collectively, formed a single imperial lineage group (kozoku).
Historically, non-heir sons in both the main Imperial House and the branch houses had two career options. A non-heir son could "descend" to subject status with a noble title (see Genji and Heishi above) or enter the Buddhist priesthood as the head of a monzeki temple. During the Tokugawa bakufu (1605-1867), the latter practice became almost universal. Non-heir sons who entered the priesthood were styled Hoshinnō (literally priest Shinnō). These princely priests were automatically excluded from the succession, but could be recalled to "secular" status (and thus reinstated as potential successors), should the need arise. As Buddhists priests, such princes were supposed to be celibate. Any children that a Hoshinnō might have were not members of the Imperial Family and could not succeed to the throne. Naishinnō and Nyoō generally married into kuge or daimyo families. They also became Buddhist nuns or Shinto priestesses.
For most of Tokugawa period there were four imperial branches houses: the Fushimi, the Kan'in, the Arisugawa, and the Katsura households. These were hereditary titles, not surnames. Like the main Imperial Family, members of the shinnōke (and latter the ō-ke) did not have surnames. Only one man could hold the title at any one time. Occasionally the Tokugawa bakufu would allow the establishment of a new shinnōke, primarily as a means to keep the Imperial Court divided. The bakufu created the Kan'in-no-miya house in 1707 for exactly this purpose.
In the years following the Meiji Restoration (1868), the Satsuma-Chosou oligarchs sought to use the imperial institution to both unify the country and bolster Japan's standing relative to the Western powers. This necessitated the transformation of the previously secluded emperor into a visible symbol of the state and the creation of Western-style royal family. At the time, many Shinnō and ō headed Buddhist temples in and about Kyoto. Emperor Meiji recalled all Hoshinnō to secular status in 1873 and banned further entry of Shinnō (Naishinnō) and ō (Nyoō) into the Buddhist priesthood. He further directed eight sons of Prince Fushimi Kuniye to take over satellite branches that had become extinct or to found new princely houses. Between 1890 and 1906 the emperor directed the four non-heir sons of Prince Kuni Asahiko (1824-1891) and the younger son of Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa (1847-1895) -- both sons of Prince Fushimi Kuniye -- to form new princely houses -- the oke. With the exception of the existing Arisugawa-no-miya house, all of the Imperial Family's cadet houses were offshoots of the Fushimi-no-miya.
The Arisugawa-no-miya (until its extinction in 1913), Fushimi-no-miya, and the revived Kan-in-no-miya houses (in that order) could provide a successor to the throne, in default of a direct heir. The heads of these houses held the rank of Shinnō. The heads of new princely houses held the rank of ō (prince of the blood), except in the case of princes holding Shinnō status under the former practice of Shinnō senge. The 1889 Imperial Household Law fixed the succession on male offspring in the male line of Imperial ancestors. It also standardized the assignment of Shinnō (Naishinnō) and ō (Nyoō) status following (patrilineal) consanguineal proximity to the emperor. Both Shinnō (Naishinnō) and ō (Nyoō) were styled hidenka (roughly translated as Imperial Highness).
The deliberate proliferation of miyake in the Meiji period eventually created the problem of surplus imperial offspring. The 1907 amendment to the 1889 Imperial Household Law allowed non-heir sons in the miyake to leave the Imperial Family and receive peerages (generally "marquis" for the eldest non-heir and "count" for the younger sons). This was essentially a reactivation of pre-Meiji solution for surplus imperial sons. By 1943 there were nine noble families founded by former princes. Naishinnō and Nyoō could either: (1) marry into other Imperial Family branches (and thus retain their Imperial status), or (2) marry into kazoku families (and thus descend to subject status). The current Empress Dowager, for example, is the daughter of Kuni-no-miya Kunihiko. Emperor Meiji created the princely houses of Asaka-no-miya, Takeda-no-miya and Higashikuni-no-miya, in part, to provide a place for three of his surviving daughters. The second option, marriage into the kazoku, absorbed the majority of Nyoō. Another amendment to the Imperial Household Law in 1920 allowed Nyoō to marry into the former Royal House of Korea.
The entire Japanese Imperial Family descends from Prince Fushimi Kuniye, the 20th head of the Fushimi-no-miya house. By 1935, through dying off and branching out, there were eleven collateral branches of the Imperial Family -- nine oke and two shinnōke –in addition to the families of Emperor Shōwa's three brothers (jikamiya or closest princes) and the former royal family of Korea (Chosen). The head of each branch family received a substantial annuity from the civil list. The princely houses (in order of creation) were as follows:
The American occupation (1945-1952) saw a dramatic reduction in the number of Imperial Family members. The 1946 Constitution of Japan (in effect from May 3, 1947) formally abolished the peerage. A revised Imperial Household Law (promulgated on January 15, 1947 and in effect from May 3, 1947) narrowed the legal definition of the Imperial Family (koshitsu) to legitimate descendants of an emperor in the legitimate male line, excluding any females who marry outside of the family and their descendants. These provisions meant, in effect, that only the immediate family of Emperor Shōwa (excluding his married daughter, the former Princess Teru) and those of his three brothers -- Prince Chichibu (1902-1953), Prince Takamatsu (1905-1987) and Prince Mikasa (1915-present) -- would have imperial status. SCAP decreed that effective October 14, 1947 the 11 miyake would lose their imperial status. Their 51 members would become ordinary tax-paying citizens. On October 13, 1947, the newly reformed Imperial Household Council voted each princely family, except that of former Prince Yamashina Takehito (who had no dependents), a lump-sum payment from the civil list. The persons reduced to commoner status in 1947; their descendants are no longer members of the Imperial family. Many of them, however, maintain close ties with the Imperial Household. See Living Heads of Former Imperial Branch Families
Below are brief biographies of the major heads of the Imperial Family's collateral branches during the Meiji (1867-1912), Taisho (1912-1926), and early Showa (1926-1947) eras.
Prince Arisugawa (Takahito) [8th of the line]: (Arisugawa-no-miya Takahito-Shinnō). His Imperial Highness Prince Arisugawa Takahito was born on February 17, 1812 in Kyoto. He was the son of Prince Arisugawa Tsunahito (b. January 29, 1785, d. April 2, 1845) by Toshima Katsuko. Takahito-Shinnō succeeded his father as the head of the Arisugawa-no-miya house on April 2 1845. On June 2, 1848, he married Hiroko (Kishi-gimi) (b. at Kyoto December 1819; d. at Tokyo July 9 1875), the daughter of Nijō Narinobu, the minister of the left (Sadaijin) at the Imperial Court. After the Meiji Restoration, he served as chief of the general affairs bureau of shrines in the revived Jingikan (Department of Shinto Affairs). The prince was a master of waka poetry and of calligraphy. He wrote five chapters of the Imperial Oath and many inscriptions for various temples and shrines. His pen name was Shozan. Prince Takahito resigned as head of the Arisugawa-no-miya house in favor of his eldest son, Prince Taruhito, on September 9, 1871. He died in Tokyo on January 24, 1886. Prince Arisugawa Takahito had issue four sons and four daughters.
Prince Arisugawa (Taruhito) [9th of the line]: Arisugawa-no-miya Taruhito-Shinnō. His Imperial Highness Prince Arisugawa (Taruhito), Field Marshal, Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, was born in Kyoto in 1835, the son of Prince Arisugawa Takahito by Yūko (d. December 1, 1841), the eldest daughter of Saeki Yūjō. Emperor Ninko adopted Prince Taruhito, thus making the prince the adopted brother of Osahito Shinnō (the future Emperor Komei). On September 9, 1871, he formally succeeded to the Arisugawa-no-miya title upon his father's resignation. Prince Arisugawa was a close advisor to both Emperor Komei and his nephew by adoption, the Emperor Meiji. In 1867, Meiji appointed Prince Arisugawa sosai (a title equivalent to that of chief minister), in which capacity he commanded the army sent to subdue the last partisans of the Tokugawa shogunate (see Boshin Civil War, 1868-1869). He later led the army that suppressed the Satsuma Rebellion (1877). Prince Taruhito became engaged to Princess Kazu (Kazu no miya Chikako Naishinnō) the eighth daughter of Emperor Ninko [his sister by 'adoption'] on August 8, 1851. The bakufu cancelled the engagement to allow the princess to marry the Shogun Tokugawa Iemochi. Prince Arisugawa married twice. His first wife (married at Tokyo on March 14, 1870) was Sadako (Shige-hime) (b. at Edo, November 30, 1850, d. at Tokyo February 17, 1872), the eleventh daughter of Tokugawa Nariaki, the lord of Mito (ninth of the line). His second wife was Tadako (b. May 12, 1855, d. February 7, 1923), the seventh daughter of Count Mizoguchi Naohiro, the former lord of Shibata. Neither of these marriages produced children. The prince received the honorary rank of field marshal in 1878. From 1870 until the adoption of the cabinet system in 1885, Prince Arisugawa served as dajo daijin or lord president of the council of state. From 1889 to 1895, the prince served as chief of staff of the Imperial Army and a member of the Supreme War Council. Field Marshal Prince Arisugawa died on January 15, 1895 at Maiko near Kobe. He received a state funeral in Tokyo on January 24, 1895. His half-brother, Prince Takehito, succeeded as the tenth head of the house of the Arisugawa no miya.
Prince Arisugawa (Takehito) [10th of the line]: Arisugawa-no-miya Takehito-Shinnō. His Imperial Highness Prince Arisugawa (Takehito), Admiral of the Fleet, Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, Grand Order of Merit, Order of the Golden Kite (3rd Class), GCB (UK), was born on February 11, 1862 in Kyoto, the son of Prince Arisugawa Takahito by Noriko (d. August 25, 1902) the daughter of Mori Kiyohiro. He held the title Sawa-no-miya. In 1874, the prince attended the Naval Academy and five years later, embarked upon the Iron Duke, then- the flagship of Britain's Royal Navy, for further training. In 1881, he was a cadet at the Naval Staff Officers College in Greenwich, England. Takehito succeeded to the Arisugawa-no-miya title upon the death of half-brother, Prince Taruhito, on January 15, 1895. During the first Sino-Japanese War (1894-95), he commanded the cruiser Matsushima. The Prince reached the rank of rear admiral in 1900. On December 11, 1880. Prince Takehito married Yasuko (b. March 15, 1864, d. June 30, 1923), the fourth daughter of Mayeda Yoshiyasu, the last daimyo of Kaya (or Kanazawa), in Tokyo on December 11, 1880. The marriage produced three children: Princess Isako (b. October 17, 1885, d. September 30, 1886), Prince Tanehito (b. September 22, 1887, d. at Etajima Naval Academy April 3, 1908); and Princess Mieko (b. February 14, 1891, d. April 25, 1933). Princess Arisugawa (Yasuku) was the matron of Tokyo Jikei Hospital and its honorary president (1907-1933). Prince and Princess Arisugawa made an extensive tour of Europe and American in 1889. In 1896, the prince represented Emperor Meiji at the Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria. He and his wife returned to Europe in 1905 to represent the emperor at the wedding of the German Crown Prince Wilhelm (1882-1951) to Duchess Cecile of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. He visited Great Britain on his way back to Japan. King Edward VII granted Prince Arisugawa the Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath. Emperor Meiji granted the prince the Order of the Golden Kite (3rd Class) for his service during the Russo-Japanese War. He advanced to the honorary rank of admiral of the fleet, July 2, 1913. Admiral of the Fleet Prince Arisugawa Takehito died two days later at Maiko, aged 52. Since the prince died without a male heir, the house of Arisugawa no miya became extinct. Shortly after his death, Prince Nobuhito (b. January 3, 1905, d. February 3, 1987), the third son of Emperor Taishō, received the title Takamatsu no miya and became regarded as the inheritor of the traditions of the house of Arisugawa no miya. On February 4, 1930, Prince Takamatsu married Kikuko (b. December 26, 1911), the daughter of Prince Tokugawa Yoshihisa [peer] (b. September 2, 1884, d. January 22, 1922) and the former Princess Arisugawa Mieko.
Prince Asaka (Yasuhiko) [1st of the line]: Asaka-no-miya Yasuhiko-ō. His Imperial Highness Prince Asaka (Yasuhiko), General, Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, was born October 2, 1887 in Kyoto, the eighth son of Prince Kuni Asahiko (1824-1891). He was a half-brother of Princes Nashimoto, Higashikuni, Kuni (Kunihiko), and Kaya (Kuninori). He was the uncle of Empress Nagako and an uncle-in-law of Emperor Showa twice over. Prince Yasuhiko received his primary and secondary education at the Gakushuin. He graduated from the Military Academy and received a commission as a sub-lieutenant in 1908. Emperor Meiji directed Prince Yasuhiko to start a new princely house, Asaka-no-miya, on March 10, 1906. On May 6, 1909, Prince Asaka married Princess Fami (Fami no miya Nobuko Naishinnō, b. August 7, 1891, d. November 3, 1933) the eighth daughter of Emperor Meiji. Prince and Princess Asaka had two sons and two daughters. Between 1920 and 1923, he studied military tactics in France, along with his half-brother Princes Higashikuni and his cousin Prince Kitashirakawa Naruhisa (1887-1923). On April 1, 1923, Prince Asaka sustained severe injuries in the automobile crash that killed Prince Kitashirakawa and walked with a limp for the rest of his life. Prince and Princess Asaka visited the United States in 1925. He rose to the rank of major general and appointed an instructor at the Military Staff College in 1930. Prince Asaka became commander of First Imperial Guards Division and rose to the rank of lieutenant general in August 1933. In December 1935, Emperor Showa appointed him a member of the Supreme War Council. During the abortive 26 February 1936 Rebellion (see Niniroku Jiken) Prince Asaka pressed the Emperor to appoint a new government that would be acceptable to the rebels. The Prince's pro-Imperial Way Faction sentiments, as well as his connections to other right-wing army cliques, caused a rift between himself and his nephew, the Emperor. In November 1937, Prince Asaka became deputy commander of the Central China Area Army (under General Matsui Iwane) outside Nanjing (Nanking), then the capital of China. He commanded the final assault on Nanjing between December 2 and 6, 1937 (deputizing for the ill General Matsui). The Prince (or a member of his staff) allegedly issued an order to "kill all captives," thus providing official sanction for what became known as the "Nanjing Massacre" or the "Rape of Nanking" (December 10, 1937-February 10, 1938). Prince Asaka returned to Tokyo after massacres (but he was not disciplined). Prince Asaka rose to the rank of general in August 1939, but held no major military command for the rest of the Pacific War. In 1944, he colluded with Prince Higashikuni, his nephew Prince Takamatsu, and former Prime Minister Prince Konoe Fumimaro (1895-1945) to oust the Tojo cabinet. SCAP officials interrogated Prince Asaka about his involvement in the Nanjing Massacre on May 1, 1946, but did not bring him before the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE). Prince Asaka and his family became commoners on October 14, 1947. On December 18, 1951 Asaka was baptized by Thomas Asagore Wadida, the Roman Catholic bishop of Yokohama; thus making him the first member of Japan's imperial dynasty to become a Catholic. The former prince became one of postwar Tokyo's best-known golfers. He not only excelled at the game but he took an active interest in golf course development. In the 1950s, he became the architect of the Plateau Golf Course at the Dai-Hakone Country Club, in the resort town of Hakone (on the eastern cost of Honshu). Former Prince Asaka Yasuhiko died of natural causes on April 13, 1981 at his home in Atami, Shizouka prefecture. He was 93 years old.
Prince Fushimi (Sadanaru) [22nd of the line]: Fushimi-no-miya Sadanaru-Shinnō. His Imperial Highness Prince Fushimi (Sadanaru), Field Marshal, Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, Order of the Golden Kite (2nd Class), was born in Kyoto on April 28, 1853, the fourteenth son of Prince Fushimi Kuniye (1802-1875). Prince Sadanaru was the half brother of Princes Yamashina Akira, Kuni Asahiko, Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa, and Kan'in Kotohito. In 1872, he married Princess Toshiko (1852-1930), the daughter of Prince Arisugawa Taruhito. A professional army officer, Prince Sadanaru studied military tactics in France and later Germany in the 1870s. Upon his return to Japan, he advocated the establishment of an army general staff based on the Prussian/German model. He succeeded his father as the head of the Fushimi-no-miya family in 1875. General Prince Fushimi Sadanaru served as a field commander in the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). He represented the emperor at the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (May 26, 1896). Emperor Meiji promoted him to field marshal and a member of the Supreme War Council in 1905. Prince Fushimi was a close advisor to then-Crown Prince Yoshihito (later Emperor Taisho). He served as Naidaijin (lord privy seal) from 1912 to 1915, thus becoming the only imperial prince to have served in that office. Field Marshal Prince Fushimi represented Japan at the state funeral of Britain's King Edward VII (May 20, 1910). The Prince died of influenza on February 5, 1923. Dowager Princess Fushimi (Toshiko) died on January 3, 1930.
Prince Fushimi (Hiroyasu) [23rd of the line]: Fushimi-no-miya Hiroyasu-Shinnō. His Imperial Highness Prince Fushimi (Hiroyasu), Admiral of the Fleet, Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, Order of the Gold Kite (3rd Class) was born on October 16, 1875, the eldest son of Prince Fushimi Sadanaru (1858-1923) and Princess Arisugawa Toshiko (1858-1930). He was s first cousin (once removed) of Princess Kuni Nagako (the current Empress Dowager) and nephew of Prince Kan-in Kotohito. Prince Hiroyasu succeeded to title Kwacho-no-miya in 1883, but returned to the house of Fushimi-no-miya in July 1904. Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu graduated from the Naval Academy in 1888. From 1889 to 1894, he studied naval tactics in Germany. He spoke fluent German. On January 9, 1896, he married Tokugawa Tsuneko (1882-1939), the ninth daughter of Prince Tokugawa Yoshinobu [peer], and Japan’s last shogun. Prince and Princess Fushimi Hiroyasu had six children. Prince Fushimi served as a lieutenant commander in Russo-Japanese war (1904-05). He sustained wounds aboard the Mikasa in the Battle of the Yellow Sea (August 1904). He studied in Great Britain in 1909-1910 and upon his return to Japan commanded the battleship Takachiho (1910). He rose to vice admiral in 1917 and full admiral in 1920. He was a member of the Supreme War Council from 1920 onward. Prince Hiroyasu succeeded his father as the twenty-third head of the house of Fushimi-no-miya in 1923. Admiral Prince Fushimi became Chief of the Naval General Staff on February 2, 1932, replacing Admiral Abo Kiyokazu. Prince Fushimi received the largely honorary rank of Admiral of the Fleet in April 1932. The Prince supported the 'southward advance" into northern French Indochina and the Dutch East Indies, but expressed reservations about the Tripartite Pact during the September 19, 1940 Imperial Conference. He retired as navy chief of staff on April 9, 1941. He remained a member of the Supreme War Council throughout the war, but officially retired from active list 1944. Prince Fushimi was the honorary president of the Imperial Life Boat Association, the Japan Seamen's Relief Association, the Cancer Research Society, the Naval Club, the Japan-German Society, and the Scientific & Chemical Research Institute. The Prince died in Tokyo on August 16, 1946.
Prince Fushimi (Hiroyoshi) [1st son of the 23rd of the line]: Fushimi-no-miya Hiroyoshi-ō. His Imperial Highness Prince Hiroyoshi was born on December 8, 1898, the eldest son of Admiral of the Fleet Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu and his wife, the former Tokugawa Tsuneko. Prince Hiroyoshi became heir apparent to the Fushimi-no-miya household when his father succeeded to the title in 1923. He studied at the Naval Academy and graduated in 1920. On December 23, 1919, he married Ichiko Tokiko (born 1903), the third daughter of Prince Ichijo Saneteru [peer]. Prince and Prince Fushimi Hiroyoshi had three children. The Prince rose to lieutenant commander in 1932 and received command of the destroyer Kamikaze. On August 23, 1937, he received severe wounds in a clash between Japanese and Chinese Nationalist forces in Shanghai, during the opening stages of the so-called China Incident (Shina jihen) or the second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). He died of complications from his wounds on October 1, 1937. Dowager Princess Fushimi Hiroyoshi and the two children became commoners on October 14, 1947.
Prince Fushimi (Hiroaki) [24th of the line]: see Living Heads of Former Imperial Branch Families
Prince Komatsu Akihito [1st of the line]: Komatsu-no-miya Akihito Shinnō, Higashi-Fushimi-no-miya Yoshiaki-Shinnō (1870-1872). His Imperial Highness Prince Komatsu Akihito, Field Marshal, Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, Order of the Rising Sun (1st class), was born in Kyoto on February 11, 1846, the seventh son of Prince Fushimi Kuniye. Originally, his personal name was Yoshiaki. Emperor Ninko designated him a Shinnō. In 1858, he adopted the title Ninnaji-no-miya and entered the Buddhist priesthood. He returned to secular life in 1867 and led the imperial expedition to Osaka, Yamato and Shikoku to suppress bakufu partisans. Prince Yoshiaki, along with Prince Arisugawa Taruhito, was a principal figure in the Meiji Restoration and the civil wars that followed. The new emperor Meiji designated him chief of military affairs. Three months later he became commander-in-chief of the imperial forces at Techigo. In 1869, the prince married Yoriko (born August 3, 1852), the daughter of Lord Arima Yorishige, the former daimyo of Kurume (Chikugo). In 1870, Emperor Meiji gave Prince Yoshiaki the title Higashi-Fushimi-no-miya and permission to start a new princely household. The following year Prince Yoshiaki's forces invaded Aizu (now Fukushima Prefecture) and defeated the forces of its last daimyo, Matsudaira Katamori (the paternal grandfather of the late Princess Chichibu). Between 1870 and 1872, Prince Higashi-Fushimi studied western military tactics in Great Britain. During that time, he changed the name of his princely house to Komatsu-no-miya and his personal name from Yoshiaki to Akihito. Upon his return to Japan, the newly named Prince Komatsu Akihito commanded forces sent to subdue rebel samurai at Saga (1874). The emperor granted him the rank of lieutenant general in the newly created Japanese Imperial Army. In 1877, General Prince Komatsu helped subdue the Satsuma Rebellion and received the Order of the Rising Sun (1st class). He rose to the rank of general and received command of the First Imperial Guard Division in 1890. The prince was also a councilor in the Bureau of Decorations and an honorary director of the Hakuaisha Society (the predecessor of the Japan Red Cross Society). He commanded the expeditionary forces to China in the first Sino-Japanese War (1894-95) and became a member of the Supreme Military Council. Following the death of Field Marshal Prince Arisugawa Taruhito in 1895, Prince Komatsu became the chief of the General Staff. Later that year, the Prince received the honorary rank of field marshal. In July 1901, Prince Komatsu and his consort returned to Great Britain to represent the emperor at the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. Field Marshal Prince Komatsu Akihito died on February 3, 1903. Prince and Princess Komatsu were without issue; hence, the title (which reverted to the original Higashi-Fushimi-no-miya) passed to his younger half-brother Yorihito (see below). Dowager Princess Komatsu Yoriko, Imperial Order of the Crown (1st Class) died on June 26, 1914.
Prince Higashi-Fushimi (Yorihito) [2nd of the line]: Higashi-Fushimi-no-miya Yoshihito-Shinnō. His Imperial Highness Prince Higashi-Fushimi Yorihito, Admiral, Grand Order of Merit, Order of the Golden Kite (3rd Class), was born on September 19, 1876, the seventieth (and posthumous) son of Prince Fushimi Kuniye. He was a younger half-brother of Field Marshal Prince Komatsu Akihito, Prince Kuni Asahiko, General Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa, Field Marshal Prince Kan'in Kotohito and Field Marshal Prince Fushimi Sadanaru. Yorihito-ō succeeded to the Higashi-Fushimi-no-miya title upon the death of the first head, Prince Komatsu Akihito, on February 3, 1903. On February 10, 1893, the Prince married Tomosada Kaneko (born August 26, 1876), the eldest daughter of Prince Tomosada Iwakura [peer]. Prince Higashi-Fushimi Yoshihito graduated from the Naval Academy in 1890 and studied naval tactics in France and Great Britain. He returned to Japan in 1892 and became second-in-command on the cruiser Chituse on August 20, 1894. Prince Higashi-Fushimi became captain of the armored cruiser Kusuga in January 1905. Emperor Meiji awarded him the Order of the Gold Kite (3rd Class) for his service during the Russo-Japanese War. In 1906, he joined the Naval Staff Board. He became a rear admiral in 1909 and an admiral in 1910. Prince and Princess Higashi-Fushimi represented the emperor at the coronation of King George V of Great Britain (June 30, 1911). The Prince died in Tokyo in 1922. Prince and Princess Higashi-Fushimi were without issue. In 1931, Emperor Shōwa directed his brother-in-law, Prince Kuni Kunihide, to leave Imperial Family status and become Count Higashi-Fushimi, to prevent the title from dying out. Dowager Princess Higashi-Fushimi (Kaneko) became a commoner on October 14, 1947. She died in Tokyo in 1948.
Prince Higashikuni (Naruhiko) [1st of the line]: Higashikuni-no-miya Naruhiko-ō. His Imperial Highness Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko, General, Prime Minister of Japan (August 16-Ocotber 6, 1945) Order of Merit, Order of the Golden Kite (3rd Class), was born on December 3, 1887 in Kyoto, the ninth son of Prince Kuni Asahiko. He was a half-brother of Princes Kaya Kuninori, Nashimoto Morimasa, Asaka Yasuhiko and Kuni Kunihiko. He was an uncle of Empress Nagako and an uncle-in-law of Emperor Shōwa twice over. Emperor Meiji directed Prince Naruhiko to start a new princely house, Higashikuni-no-miya, on November 3, 1906. On May 11, 1915, Prince Higashikuni married Princess Yasu (Yasu no miya Toshiko Naishinnō, born May 11, 1896, died March 5, 1978), the ninth daughter of Emperor Meiji. They had four sons. Prince Higashikuni graduated from Military Academy in 1908 and received a commission as a sub-lieutenant. He graduated from the Army War College in 1914. He studied military tactics in France between 1920-1926. Always somewhat of a nonconformist, Prince Higashikuni's behavior while in Paris scandalized the Imperial Court. He left his wife and children in Japan and the death of his second son did not prompt his return. He had a French mistress, enjoyed fast cars and high living. In 1926, the Imperial Household Ministry dispatched a chamberlain to Paris to collect him. Prince Higashikuni became a colonel in 1925 and a brigadier general in 1928. He rose to the rank of major general and became commander of the Fifth Infantry Brigade in 1930. In August 1934, he rose to lieutenant general and commander of the Fourth Army Division. Prince Higashikuni became a member of the Supreme Military Council in December 1935. He was honorary president of the Press Association of Japan. Prince Higashikuni became the chief of the Military Aviation Department in July 1937, in which capacity he ordered the bombing of civilian targets in China. He became commander of the Second Army in China in April 1938 and rose to the rank of general the following year. In early October 1941, the outgoing premier, Prince Konoe Fumimaro [peer], recommended Prince Higashikuni as his successor. Konoe believed that only a member of the Imperial Family with a distinguished military background could restrain the Liaison Conference's pro-war faction (Army Chief of Staff General Sugiyama Hajime (Gen), War Minister General Tojo Hideki, and Chief of the Bureau of Military Affairs Major General Muto Akira). Both Prince Higashikuni and the lord privy seal, Marquis Kido Koichi, however, believed that it would be inappropriate for him to serve and recommended the appointment of General Tojo, instead. General Prince Higashikuni served as chief of the Home Defense Command from 1941 to 1945. He colluded with Prince Asaka, his nephew Prince Takamatsu, and former Prime Minister Konoe to oust Tojo as premier and war minister in July 1944. Emperor Shōwa appointed Prince Higashikuni to the position of prime minister on August 16, 1945, replacing Admiral Suzuki Kantaro (1867-1948). He was Japan's first post-war prime minister and the only member of the Imperial Family to have served in that capacity. The mission of the Higashikuni cabinet was two-fold: first, to ensure the orderly cessation of hostilities and demobilization of the Japanese armed forces; and second, to reassure the Japanese people that the imperial institution remained secure. He resigned on October 9, 1945 over a dispute with the American occupation forces over the repeal of the 1925 Peace Preservation Law. After his resignation, Prince Higashikuni asked the emperor for permission to renounce his membership in the Imperial Family and become a commoner. Emperor Showa denied his uncle's request. Prince Higashikuni did become a commoner on October 14, 1947 and remained under a SCAP purge order until 1952. As a commoner, he operated provisions, second-hand goods, and dressmakers’ shops. All of these ventures ended in failure. He formed a new religious sect (Higashikuni-Kyo), which SCAP banned in 1950. The former prince became the honorary chairman of the International Martial Arts Federation (IMAF) in 1957, honorary president of the Japan Shepherd Dog Association and several other organizations. In 1958, Higashikuni published his wartime journals under the title, Ichi Kozuko no senso Nikki (or The War Diary of a Member of the Imperial Family). He published his memoirs, Higashikuni Nikki (Higashikuni's Memoirs), in 1968. Former Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko died in Tokyo on January 20, 1990 at the age of 102. He outlived his wife, two of his sons, all of his siblings, and his nephew, the Emperor Shōwa.
Prince Higashikuni (Morihiro) [Higashikuni-no-miya Morihiro-ō] His Imperial Highness Prince Morihiro was born on May 6, 1916 in Tokyo, the eldest son of Prince and Princess Higashikuni (Naruhiko). He was a grandson of Emperor Meiji, a nephew of Emperor Taisho, and both the first cousin and son-in-law of Emperor Shōwa. Morihiro-ō received his primary and secondary education in the then-boys department of the Gakushuin. He graduated from the Military Academy in 1937 and received a commission as a second lieutenant in the artillery. He rose to first lieutenant in 1939 and assigned to command the First Heavy Field Artillery Regiment in Manchuria. Allegedly, during the July 19 Soviet offensive at Nomohan (commanded by then Lieutenant General Georgi Zhukov), the fighting become so intense that Lieutenant Prince Higashikuni decamped without orders from the field of battle. He transferred on August 2. The prince as promoted to captain in 1941. On October 23, 1943, he married his first cousin once removed, Princess Teru (Shigeko), the eldest daughter of Emperor Showa. [The Imperial Household Ministry and the Higashikuni-no-miya house had arranged the marriage. Prince and Princess Higashikuni Morihiro had five children, three sons and two daughters. He and his family became commoners on October 14, 1947. Like his father, SCAP purged him public life because of his military career. Higashikuni Morihiro embarked on a number of unsuccessful business ventures. He eventually became head of the research division for Hokkaido Coal and Steamship Company. After the death of the former Princess Teru (July 23, 1961), Higashikuni married Terao Yoshiko. There were two sons from the second marriage: Higashikuni Atsuhiko and Higashikuni Morihiko. Former Prince Higashikuni Morihiro died of lung cancer at St. Luke's Hospital in Tokyo on February 1, 1969.
Prince Kan'in (Kotohito) [6th of the line]: Kan'in-no-miya Kotohito Shinnō. His Imperial Highness Prince Kan'in Kotohito, Field Marshal, Grand Order of Merit, Order of the Golden Kite (2nd Class), Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, was born on November 10, 1865, the sixteenth son of Prince Fushimi Kuniye (1802-1875). Emperor Komei, the father of Emperor Meiji, adopted Prince Kotohito. He was thus a great uncle of Emperor Showa (by adoption). He succeeded as head of the Kan'in house (with the rank of Shinnō) upon the death of the fifth head, Naruhito, in January 1872. After the death of his elder brother, Prince Fushimi Sadanaru, in 1923, Prince Kan'in was the senior member of the Imperial Family. On December 19, 1891, he married Sanjo Chieko (1872-1947), daughter of Prince Sanjo Santetomi [peer]. Prince Kotohito entered the Military Academy in 1877 and graduated in 1881. Emperor Meiji sent him to France in 1882 to study military tactics and technology. He was a veteran of the first Sino-Japanese War (1894) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05). The Prince rose to the rank of lieutenant general in 1905 and appointed division commander (Imperial Guard Division) in 1906. He rose to the rank of full general and made a Supreme War Councilor in 1912. He became the youngest field marshal in the Imperial Army in 1919. In 1921, he accompanied then-Crown Prince Hirohito on his tour of Europe. He was honorary president of the Japan Red Cross Society. Field Marshal Prince Kan-in Kotohito became chief of the General Staff in December 1932, replacing General Kanaya Hanzo. Prince Kan'in, among others within the army, opposed Prime Minister Yonai Mitsumasa's efforts to improve relations with the United States and Great Britain. He forced the resignation of General Hata Shunroku (1879-1962), the minister of war, thus bringing down the Yonai cabinet, July 1940. Prince Kan'in was a participant in the Liaison Conferences between the military chiefs of staff and the second cabinet of Prince Konoe Fumimaro (June 1940-July 1941). Both he and Lieutenant General Tojo Hideki, the newly appointed minister of war, supported the conclusion of a Tripartite Pact. The Prince retired as army chief of staff on October 3, 1940. He remained a member of the Supreme War Council and a senior advisor to the emperor on army matters. Field Marshal Prince Kan'in died in Tokyo on May 21, 1945 [allegedly from infected hemorrhoids]. Prince and Princess Kan'in Kotohito had six children.
Prince Kan'in (Haruhito) [7th of the line]: Kan'in-no-miya Haruhito-Shinnō His Imperial Highness Prince Kan'in Haruhito was born August 3, 1902. He was the only son of Field Marshal Prince Kan'in Kotohito (1864-1945) and his consort, the former Sanjo Chieko (1872-1953). He graduated from the Odawada Middle School in 1921 was appointed lieutenant in Imperial Army in 1927. He rose to the rank of captain in 1932, major in 1936, lieutenant colonel in 1940, and colonel in 1944. Following a course in the Military Staff College in 1932, the Prince Haruhito joined the faculty of the Cavalry School. On July 14, 1926, Haruhito-ō married Ichijo Naoko (born November 7, 1908), the daughter of Prince Ichiko Saneteru [peer]. He became the seventh head of the Kan'in-no-miya house upon the death of his father, May 21, 1945. Prince Kan'in Haruhito became a commoner on October 14, 1947. The following day SCAP purged him from public life because of his military career. He went to pursue several unsuccessful business ventures including a tourist agency, a hardware store, an iron works and two trading companies. He later became president of Kusuga Solo Ware Housing Company. Kan'in Haruhito and Naoko divorced in 1949. Shortly thereafter, the former prince changed his first name from Haruhito to Sumihito. By the early 1970s, Kan'in Sumihito was president of the Japan Yoga Association. He died on June 14, 1988.
See Yamashina-no-miya below
Prince Kaya (Kuninori) [1st of the line]: Kaya-no-miya Kuninori-ō. His Imperial Highness Prince Kaya Kuninori, Lord Guardian of the Great Shrine of Ise, Grand Order of Merit, was born July 23, 1873 the third son of Prince Kuni Asahiko. He was the elder half-brother of Princes Nashimoto (Morimasa), Asaka, Kuni (Kunihiko), Kuni (Taka) and Higashikuni. Emperor Meiji granted Kuninori-ō the title Kaya-no-miya and the authorization to form a new princely house in 1892. On December 13, 1899, he married Daigo Yoshiko (1865-1928), the daughter of Marquis Daigo Tadayori. Prince Kaya was lord guardian of the Great Shrine of Ise. Prince and Princess Kaya Kuninori had three children. The Prince died on December 8, 1909.
Prince Kaya (Tsunenori) [2nd of the line]: Kaya-no-miya Tsunenori-ō. His Imperial Highness Prince Kaya Tsunenori, Major General, was born January 27, 1900 in Tokyo, the first son of Prince and Princess Kaya Kuninori. He was thus a nephew of Princes Nashimoto, Higashikuni, Asaka, and Kuni (Kunihiko) and a first cousin of Empress Nagako. He was a childhood playmate of the future Emperor Showa. Tsunenori-ō became the second holder of the Kaya-no-miya title upon his father' death, December 8, 1909. He received his primary and secondary education at the boys' department of the Gakushuin. In 1920, he graduated from the Military Academy and received a commission as a lieutenant (2nd class) in the cavalry. On May 3, 1921, Prince Kaya married Kujo Toshiko (born 1903), the third daughter of Prince Kujo Michiazane [peer] and a niece of then-Empress Sadako (see Empress Teimei). Prince and Princess Kaya Tsunenori had six children. In August 1925, the Prince rose to the rank of captain and appointed commander of the 10th Cavalry Regiment. He graduated from the Army Staff College in 1926. Prince Kaya rose to the rank of major in the Cavalry and appointed an instructor at the Army Staff College the following year. He joined the General Staff Office in 1933. Prince and Princess Kaya made a European tour and state visit to Germany (after which he strongly advocated a German-Japanese alliance), April-May 1935. The Prince was Emperor Showa's envoy to capture Nanjing, China, January 10, 1938. He rose to the rank of colonel in the Cavalry in 1935 and brigadier general in 1941. He rose to the rank of lieutenant general in 1943 and served as supervisor of war strategy at the Army Staff College. Major General Prince Kaya became commander of the Third Imperial Guard Division in 1944 and briefly served as president of the Army Staff College during the closing stages of the war. Prince Kaya and his family became commoners on October 14, 1947. As a commoner, Kaya served on the board of directors of the Taisho and Nisshin Life Insurance Companies. In 1952 he became honorary president of the International Martial Arts Federation, a post he held until succeeded by his uncle, former Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko, in 1957. Former Prince Kaya Tsunenori died of a heat ailment on January 2, 1978 at his home in Chiba, east of Tokyo.
Prince Kitashirakawa (Kasunari or Toshinari) [1st of the line]: Kitashirakawa-no-miya Kasunari-Shinnō. His Imperial Highness Prince Kitashirakawa Kasunari, the thirteenth son of Prince Fushimi Kuniye, was born in 1850 in Kyoto. In 1866, Kasunari-ō entered the Buddhist priesthood under the title of Shogoin-no-miya. He returned to secular status in 1873 and Emperor Meiji directed him to start a new princely house, Kitashirakawa-no-miya (named after the village where he lived). Prince Kitashirakawa Kasunari, however, died within the year, and in compliance with his will, the Kitashirakawa-no-miya title passed to his elder half-brother, Yoshihisa-ō.
Prince Kitashirakawa (Yoshihisa) [2nd of the line]: Kitashirakawa-no-miya Yoshihisa-Shinnō. His Imperial Highness Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa, General, was born on April 1, 1847 in Kyoto, the ninth son of Prince Fushimi Kuniye (1802-1875). He entered the Buddhist priesthood under the title Rinnoji-no-miya. During the civil unrest following the Meiji restoration, bakufu partisans carried him to Edo (Tokyo) with the intention of setting as a rival emperor. The plot failed and Rinnoji-no-miya returned to Kyoto. Emperor Meiji recalled him (and all other princes of the blood in the Buddhist priesthood) to secular status in 1873. That same year Yoshihisa-ō succeeded his younger brother, Kasunari, as the second head of the new princely house of Kitashirakawa-no-miya. In April 1886, he married Shimazu Tomiko (1862-1935), the adopted daughter of Prince Shimazu Hisamitsu [peer]. Prince Kitashirakawa was a professional soldier who eventually rose to the rank of general. General Prince Kitashirakawa died on November 5, 1895 commanding the First Imperial Guard Division in Formosa (Taiwan) during the first Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895).
Prince Kitashirakawa (Naruhisa) [3rd of the line]: Kitashirakawa-no-miya Naruhisa-ō. His Imperial Highness Prince Kitashirakawa Naruhisa was born on April 1, 1887. He succeeded his father as head of the house of Kitashirakawa-no-miya in November 1895. He was the brother of Prince Takeda Tsunehisa and Marquis Komatsu and contemporary and classmate of Princes Asaka, Higashikuni and Prince Konoe Fumimaro [peer]. Prince Naruhisa attended Gakushuin and the Military Academy. He received a commission as a sub-lieutenant in 1904. On April 29, 1909, Prince Kitashirakawa married Princess Kane-no-Miya Fusako (1898-1974), the seventh daughter of Emperor Meiji. He accompanied Princes Higashikuni and Asaka to France to study military tactics in 1922. Prince Kitashirakawa died in an automobile accident in France on April 1, 1923. In the same accident, Princess Kitashirakawa (who had accompanied her husband to Paris) and Prince Asaka suffered severe injuries. Prince and Princess Kitashirakawa Naruhisa had one son and three daughters. Dowager Princess Kitashirakawa (Fusako) became a commoner on October 14, 1947. The former princess served as lady custodian and chief priestess of the Grand Ise Shrine until her death on August 11, 1974.
Prince Kitashirakawa (Nagahisa) [4th of the line]: Kitashirakawa-no-miya Nagahisa-ō. His Imperial Highness Prince Kitashirakawa Nagahisa, Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, was born on February 10, 1910, the only son of Prince and Princess Kitashirakawa (Naruhisa). Nagahisa-ō succeeded as the head of the Kitashirakawa house upon his father's death in 1923. On April 25, 1935, he married Tokugawa Sachiko (born August 26, 1916), the daughter of Baron Tokugawa Yoshikuni. Later that year the Prince graduated from the Military Academy and received a commission as a sub-lieutenant. Prince and Princess Kitashirakawa Nagahisa had one son and one daughter. The Prince joined the North China Area Army. He rose to the rank of lieutenant in 1936 and captain in 1939. On September 14, 1940, Captain Prince Kitashirakawa died in an airplane crash while on duty in Inner Mongolia, thus becoming the second Imperial Family member killed in the Pacific War (the first being Captain Prince Fushimi Hiroyoshi in 1937). The Prince received as posthumous promotion to major and the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Chrysanthemum. His widow, Princess Kitashirakawa (Sachiko), and two children became commoners on October 14, 1947.
Prince Kitashirakawa (Michihisa) [5th of the line]: see Living Heads of Former Imperial Branch Families
See Higashi-Fushimi-no-miya above
Prince Kuni (Asahiko) [1st of the line]: Kuni-no-miya Asahiko-Shinnō. His Imperial Highness Prince Kuni Asahiko was born in Kyoto on February 24, 1824, the fourth son of Prince Fushimi Kuniye (1802-1875), and the twenty-first head of the Fushimi-no-miya house. He was a half-brother of Princes Yamashina Akira, Higashi-Fushimi Yorihito, Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa, Fushimi Sadanaru, and Kan'in Kotohito. Emperor Ninko adopted Asahiko in 1826 and elevated him to the rank of Shinnō. In 1852, Asahiko-Shinnō entered the priesthood under the title Sonyo Hoshinnō. He became zasu (chief priest) of Soren-in. In 1859, he incurred the wrath of the Tokugawa bakufu, which confined him at Shokuku-ji. In 1863, Prince Asahiko renounced religion and Emperor Komei granted him the title of Nakagawa-no-miya. He became a close advisor to Emperor Komei during the political crisis that preceded the Meiji Restoration. Asahiko was openly critical of the Tokugawa shogun's inability to expel the barbarians, most notably the Americans. The Tokugawa bakufu stripped him of his title and banished him to Aki. In 1871, he returned from exile and the Emperor Meiji authorized him to start a new princely house, Kuni-no-miya. Prince Kuni Asahiko had at least a dozen sons by his various mistresses. Chiefs among his offspring were Prince Nashimoto Morimasa, Prince Kuni Kuniyoshi, Prince Kuni Taka, Prince Kaya Kuninori, Prince Asaka Yasuhiko and Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko. Prince Kuni Asahiko died in Tokyo on October 29, 1891.
Prince Kuni (Kunihiko) [2nd of the line]: Kuni-no-miya Kuniyoshi-ō or Kunihiko-ō. His Imperial Highness Prince Kuni Kuniyoshi, Field Marshal, Grand Order of. Merit, Order of the Golden Kite (4th class), was born in 1873, the third son of Prince Kuni Asahiko (1824-1891). He was the half-brother of Princes Nashimoto Morimasa, Higashikuni Naruhiko, Asaka Yasuhiko, Kuni Taka and Kaya Kuninori. He succeeded his father as the second head of the house of Kuni-no-miya in 1891. On December 13, 1889, he married Shimazu Chikako, the seventh daughter of Prince Shimazu Tadayoshi [peer]. Prince Kuni graduated from the Military Academy in 1897. During the Russo-Japanese War, the Prince was a major in the Infantry assigned to the staff of General Kuroki Tamemoto, commander of the First Army. Prince Kuni rose to the rank of colonel in 1908 and studied in Germany (1907-1910). Upon returning to Japan, he rose to the rank of major general and given command of the 38th Infantry Regiment. Later he commanded the First Brigade of the Imperial Guards and rose to the rank of lieutenant general in 1918. Along with that command, he received the additional post of chief priest of the Meiji Shrine. He became a full general and a member of the Supreme War Council in 1923. Prince Kuni was an early advocate of military aviation. One of his protégés was Yamamoto Isoruku (1884-1943), the future admiral and commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet. Prince and Princess Kuni Kunihiko had six children, one of whom is the Empress Dowager. Prince Kuni died on January 29, 1929 at the age of 57. On the day of his death, he rose to the rank of the rank of field marshal.
Prince Kuni (Asaakira) [3rd of the line]: Kuni-no-miya Asaakira-ō. His Imperial Highness Prince Kuni (Asaakira), Vice-Admiral, was born in Tokyo on February 2, 1900, eldest son of Prince Kuni Kunihiko. He was the elder brother of Empress Nagako. On January 25, 1925, Prince Asaakira married his cousin, Princess Tomoko (born May 18, 1907, died June 30, 1947), the eldest daughter of Admiral of the Fleet Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu. Prince and Princess Kuni Asaakira had seven children. Prince Kuni Asaakira graduated from the Naval Academy in 1921 and the Naval Staff College in 1925. He rose to the rank of lieutenant in 1928. On January 29, 1929, he succeeded his father as the third head of the Kuni-no-miya house. In 1931, Prince Kuni became the chief gunner aboard the cruiser Kiso. In August 1934, he transferred to the cruiser Yakumo in the same capacity. Two years later, he rose to the rank of lieutenant commander in 1936 and assigned to the Naval General Staff Office. He rose to the rank of captain in 1938 and rear admiral in 1940. In 1942, Prince Kuni commanded the naval air squadron that supported the occupation of Timor. He reached the rank of vice admiral in 1943. Prince Kuni Asaakira and his family became commoners on October 14, 1947. SCAP purged the former prince from public life because of his military career. The former prince founded the Kuni Perfume Company, which later went bankrupt. He later became president of the Japan Shepherd Dog Association and an avid orchid grower. Former Prince Kuni Asaakira died of a heart attack on December 7, 1959.
Prince Kuni (Taka): Kuni-no-miya Taka-ō. Prince Kuni Taka, Chief Priest of the Grand Ise Shrine, was born on August 17, 1875 in Kyoto, the fifth son of Prince Kuni Asahiko (first of the line). Prince Taka came of age at a time when miyake proliferation through branching out was politically necessary. He did not form a new princely house or take over an existing one that had gone extinct. Prince Taka, however, retained his princely title and membership in the Imperial Family upon reaching maturity (although his half-brother Kunihiko was officially the second head of the Kuni-no-miya family). Whereas his father and half-brothers moved to the new capital, Tokyo, in 1892, Prince Kuni Taka continued to reside in Kyoto. In 1905, he married Minase Shizuko (1884-1953), the eldest daughter of Viscount Minase Tadasuki. Prince and Princess Kuni had five children, two sons who left the Imperial Family to become peers and three daughters who married into other noble families. He became acting grand custodian and chief priest of the Great Shrine of Ise in 1914. Prince Kuni Taka died on October 1, 1937. His widow the former Princess Kuni Shizuko died on September 27, 1959.
Prince Kwacho Hirotsune [1st of the line]: Kwacho-no-miya Hirotsune-ō: His Imperial Highness Prince Kwacho was born in 1851, the fifth son of Prince Fushimi (Kuniye). Emperor Komei adopted him in 1860. A few months latter, Tokugawa Iemouchi, the 14th shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty, adopted Prince Hirotsune as his heir. In 1868, the Prince returned to the Imperial Family. Emperor Meiji granted him the title Kwacho-no-miya and permission to start a new branch of the Imperial Family. The Prince traveled to the United States for study in 1870. He became a rear admiral in the Imperial Navy in 1876. He died later that year.
Prince Kwacho (Hiroyasu): See Prince Fushimi (Hiroyasu) above.
Prince Kwacho (Hirotada) [3rd of the line]: Kwacho-no-miya Hirotada-ō: His Imperial Highness Prince Kwacho Hirotada was born on January 26, 1902, the second son of Admiral of the Fleet Prince Fushimi (Hiroyasu) and his consort, the former Tokugawa Tsuneko. At the time of Hirotada's birth, his father Hiroyasu held the title Kwacho-no-miya (Prince Kwacho). In 1883, Emperor Meiji directed Hiroyasu, the eldest son of Prince Fushimi Sadanaru [22nd of the line], to become head of the Kwacho-no-miya family, following the death of Prince Kwacho Hiroatsu [2nd of the line] without an heir. In July 1904 Hiroyasu returned to the Fushimi-no-miya family, and the two year old Hirotada-ō became Kwacho-no-miya in his own right. The Prince received his primary and secondary education at the Gakushuin and enrolled in the Naval Academy in 1918. He received a commission as a naval lieutenant in May 1922. Prince Kwacho Hirotada died on July 19, 1924.
Prince Nashimoto (Moriosa) [1st of the line]: Nashimoto-no-miya Moriosa-ō. His Imperial Highness Prince Nashimoto (Moriosa) was born in Kyoto in 1819, the tenth son of Prince Fushimi Sadayoshi (1775-1841), and the eighteenth head of the Fushimi-no-miya house. Emperor Kokaku adopted him and the young prince entered the Emmanin Temple. Moriosa-ō received the title Kajii-no-miya and became chief priest of the Tendai Buddhist sect. In 1868, Emperor Meiji recalled him to secular status and he resumed the name Moriosa-ō. In 1870, the emperor granted him the title Nashimoto-no-miya and permission to form a new princely house. Prince Nashimoto was childless. He adopted Kikumaro--ō, the eldest son of Prince Yamashina Akira [1st of the line]. Prince Nashimoto Moriosa died on December 2, 1885, but Kikumaro remained in the house of Yamashina-no-miya. The Nashimoto-no-miya title passed to Morimasa, the fourth son of Prince Kuni Asahiko [1st of the line].
Prince Nashimoto (Morimasa) [2nd of the line]: Nashimoto-no-miya Morimasa-ō. His Imperial Highness Prince Nashimoto (Morimasa), Field Marshal and Chief Priest of the Grand Ise Shrine, was born in Kyoto on March 8, 1874, the fourth son of Prince Kuni Asahiko. He was a half-brother of Princes Kuni (Kunihiko), Higashikuni, Asaka, and Kaya (Kuninori), the uncle of Empress Nagako, and the uncle-in-law of Matsudaira Setsuko (see Princess Chichibu). Morimasa-ō succeeded to the head of the Nashimoto-no-miya family by order of Emperor Meiji on December 2, 1885. On November 28, 1890, Prince Nashimoto married Nabeshima Itsuko (1882-1976), the elder daughter of Marquis Nabeshima Naohiro. Prince and Princess Nashimoto had two daughters. The prince entered the Central Military Preparatory School in 1886. He graduated from the Military Academy on May 27, 1898 and received a commission as a second lieutenant in January of the following year. Emperor Meiji sent him to France to study military tactics. He studied at the French Military School in 1903-04. When the Russo-Japanese War broke out, Prince Nashimoto returned to Japan and joined General Oka's staff as a captain of the Infantry. The Prince rose to the rank of major of the Infantry in 1906, lieutenant colonel in 1908, and colonel in 1910. He resumed his studies in France from August 1906 to July 1909. He rose to the rank of lieutenant general and commander of the 16th Division in August 1917. The Prince became a member of the Supreme War Council in November 1919. He rose to the rank of general in August 1923. Prince Nashimoto rose to the rank of field marshal on August 8, 1932. He remained completely loyal to Emperor Showa during the February 26, 1936 Insurrection. Field Marshal Prince Nashimoto secured the cooperation of the "Strike North" faction of the Kwantung Army for a planned war against China in May 1937. Emperor Showa appointed him chief priest of the Ise Shrines in October 1937. He retired from the active list aged 70 in 1944. The Prince was the honorary president of the Franco-Japanese Society, the Japan Forestry Association, the Japan Agricultural Association, the Imperial Air-Association, the Japan Martial Arts Association, and the Italian Society of Japan. Field Marshal Prince Nashimoto was the second most senior member of the Imperial Family (after Prince Kan'in) during World War II. SCAP placed his name on the list of suspected war criminals, December 2, 1945. The American occupation authorities held Prince Nashimoto in Sugamo Prison as a hostage by order of General MacArthur to ensure the emperor's compliance with political reforms. They released him without charge on April 13, 1946. Prince and Princess Nashimoto became commoners on October 14, 1947. The next day SCAP purged the former prince from public life because of his military career. This made him ineligible to receive a lump-sum severance payment from the civil list. He sold his country house to pay off his property tax. American bombing raids destroyed most of his Tokyo villa during the war. Former Prince Nashimoto Morimasa died of a heart attack on January 2, 1951. He spent his last years in poverty and obscurity. His widow, former Princess Nashimoto Itsuko, maintained close ties to the Imperial Household until her death in August 1976. She published her memoirs under the title Nashimoto-no-miya Itsuko-ohi Nikki (The Memoirs of Princess Nashimoto Itsuko) in 1972.
Prince Takeda (Tsunehisa) [1st of the line]: Takeda-no-miya Tsunehisa-ō. His Imperial Highness Prince Takeda Tsunehisa was born on September 22,1882, the eldest son of Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa. He was the brother of Prince Kitashirakawa Naruhisa and Marquis Komatsu Terihisa. Emperor Meiji granted Prince Tsunehisa the title Takeda-no-miya and permission to start a new princely house in March 1906. On April 30, Prince Takeda married Princess Tsune-no-miya (Masako), Emperor Meiji's sixth daughter. They had two children. Prince Takeda Tsunehisa died on April 23, 1919 in Tokyo. The Dowager Princess Takeda (Masako) died in Tokyo on March 8, 1940.
Prince Takeda (Tsuneyoshi) [2nd of the line]: Takeda-no-miya Tsuneyoshi-ō. His Imperial Highness Prince Takeda Tsuneyoshi was born March 3, 1909 in Tokyo, the only son of Prince Takeda Tsunehisa (1882-1919) and Princess Tsune-no-miya Masako (1888-1940), and the sixth daughter of Emperor Meiji. He was, therefore, a first cousin of Emperor Showa. Tsuneyoshi-ō became the second head of the Takeda-no-miya family upon his father's death on April 23, 1919. Prince Takeda, who received his primary and secondary education at the Gakushuin, graduated the Military Academy in 1930 and received a commission as a sub-lieutenant in the Cavalry. He later studied at the Army Staff College. The Prince rose to the rank of lieutenant in August 1930, captain in August 1936, major in August 1940, and lieutenant colonel in August 1943. He briefly served as the emperor's personal liaison to the Saigon headquarters of General Count Terauchi Hisaichi (1879-1946), commander of the Southern Army. In late 1944 and early 1945, the Prince was a member of the Kwantung Army's Headquarters. After Emperor Showa's radio address announcing Japan's surrender (August 15, 1945), Prince Takeda went to Manchuria to ensure the Kwantung Army's compliance. On May 12, 1934, Prince Takeda married Sanjo Mitsuko (born November 6, 1915), the youngest daughter of Prince Sanjo Kiteru [peer]. They had five children. Prince Takeda Tsuneyoshi and his family became commoners on October 14, 1947. The former prince retired to his estate in Chiba Prefecture to raise prize horses. Takeda escaped the financial hardship many of his cousins experienced during the American occupation. In late 1947, he started the Takeda Knitting Machines Company, which soon went bankrupt. Eventually the former prince embarked on a second career promoting and developing amateur and professional sports in Japan. He became president of the Japan Skating Association in 1948 and a member of the north Tokyo Rotary Club. He became president of the Japanese Olympic Committee in 1962 and was an important figure in organizing the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Summer Games and the 1972 Sapporo Olympic Winter Games. Takeda Tsuneyoshi was a member of the International Olympic Committee from 1967 to 1981, during which he was director of its executive board for five years. In 1987, he published a volume of autobiographical essays entitled Kumo no use shita: Omoide-banashi (Above and Below the Clouds: Remembrances). The former prince died of heart failure on May 12, 1992, at the age of 83.
Prince Yamashina (Akira) [1st of the line]: Yamashina-no-miya Akira-ō. His Imperial Highness Prince Yamashina Akira was born in Kyoto on October 22, 1816 the eldest son of Prince Fushimi Kuniye. He was thus a half-brother of Princes Kuni (Asahiko), Kitashirakawa (Yoshihisa), Fushimi (Sadanaru), and Kan'in (Kotohito). In 1818, Emperor Kokakyu (1779-1817 abdicated, died in 1840) adopted Prince Akira. He entered the priesthood under the title Siahn Hoshinnō and later became prince-abbot of Kwaju-ji. In 1842, he angered the Tokugawa bakufu, which stripped him of his post and confined him to the temple of To-iji. In 1864, the bakufu reinstated him. Emperor Komei (1840-1867) adopted Akira and granted him the title Yamashina-no-miya in 1858. Prince Yamashina married Princess Sumiko (1838-1881), a daughter of Emperor Ninko and the half-sister of Emperor Komei. Sumiko succeeded to the head of the Katsura-no-miya house in her own right upon the death of the tenth head.
Prince Yamashina (Kikumaro) [2nd of the line]: Yamashina-no-miya Kikumaro-ō. Prince Yamashina Kikumaro was born on July 3, 1873, the son of Prince Yamashina Akira and Princess Katsura (Sumiko), a half-sister of Emperor Komei. Prince Nashimoto Moriosa adopted Kikumaro in 1880. Kikumaro, however, returned to the Yamashina-no-miya family following Moriosa-ō ‘s death. He attended the Naval Academy and received a commission as a sub-lieutenant in 1894. On February 2, 1898, he succeeded his father as the second head of the Yamashina-no-miya house. By 1905, Prince Yamashina rose to the rank of captain. In 1892, he married Daigo Yoshiko (1865-1901), a daughter of Marquis Daigo Tadayori. Prince and Princess Yamashina had two sons. On February 7, 1902, the widowed Prince Yamashina married Shimazu Hisako (1874-1938), daughter of Prince Shimazu Tadayoshi [peer]. Prince Yamashina and his second wife had three sons. Prince Yamashina Kikumaro died on May 2, 1908. Dowager Princess Yamashina (Hisako) died on February 26, 1938.
Prince Yamashina (Takehiko) [3rd of the line]: Yamashina-no-miya Takehiko-ō. His Imperial Highness Prince Yamashina Takehito was born on February 13, 1898, the elder son of Prince Yamashina Kikumaro by his first wife, the former Daigo Yoshiko. He succeeded his father as the third head of the Yamashina-no-miya house on May 2, 1908. Prince Yamashina Takehiko studied at the Naval Academy. He joined to the Naval Aviation Corps as a sub-lieutenant in 1921. Prince Yamashina was a naval aviation enthusiast and helped establish a private aviation institute, the Mikuni Aviation School. He rose to the rank of lieutenant and attached to the Naval Staff Board. Prince Yamashina retired from active service in 1927 because of declining health (he allegedly had a nervous breakdown). He rose to the rank of lieutenant commander in 1929 and placed on the waiting list. In 1922, he married Princess Kaya Sakiko, the daughter of Prince Kaya Kuniyoshi. Princess Sakiko died on September 1, 1923 during the Great Tokyo Earthquake. Prince and Princess Yamashina were without issue. Prince Yamashina Takehito retired from public life in 1932. He left the status of Imperial Family member on October 14, 1947. Former prince Yamashina Takehito died in Tokyo on August 10, 1987.
HH Prince Yi (Un) [24th head of the Yi dynasty]: also called Prince Ri Gin in Japanese or Prince Li Yong. His Highness Prince Yi Un was born on October 20, 1897 in Seoul, the seventh son of the Emperor Ko-jong (Yi Hyong) and the younger brother of the last Korean monarch, Emperor Sojong (Yi Chak or Ri So). Prince Yi spent his early childhood in the royal palace in Seoul. After Japan established a protectorate over Korea following the Russo-Japanese War, the prince went to Tokyo. He attended the boys' secondary department of the Gakushuin and graduated from the Military Academy in 1920. He received a commission as a sub-lieutenant in the Imperial Japanese Army. On November 4, 1920, he married Princess Masako, the elder daughter of Prince Nashimoto Morimasa, who assumed the title and style of Yi Pangja or HH Princess Yi of Korea. [The Imperial Household Ministry arranged the marriage as scheme to strengthen ties between Japan and Korea.] Prince and Princess Yi had two sons: (1) Prince Yi (born and died 1924), and (2) Prince Yi Kyu (born December 29, 1931). Crown Prince Yi rose to the rank of captain and assigned to the Second Infantry Regiment of the Imperial Guard Division in 1923. He later joined the Army General Staff Office and rose to the rank of major in 1927. He visited Europe in 1927-1928 for observation and study, accompanied by his wife. Upon the death of Grand Prince Yi Chak in 1926, Prince Yi became the head of Chosen dynasty. He joined the Military Training Department and received a promotion to the rank of lieutenant colonel the following year. Prince Yi rose to the rank of colonel and commander of the Fifty-Ninth Infantry regiment in August 1935. In July 1937, he joined faculty of the Military Staff College. A year later, he rose to the rank of the rank of major general. In August 1939, the Prince became commander of the Second Infantry Guard Brigade, Imperial Guard Division. Following Japan' surrender on August 15, 1945 and the liberation of Korea by American and Soviet forces, the members of the Chosen dynasty living in Japan were effectively stateless. Like the miyake, Prince and Princess Yi lost their tax-exempt status under SCAP' financial reforms in 1946. On October 14, 1947, the Imperial Household Council effectively abolished their royal status. "Mr. and Mrs." Yi continued to reside in Tokyo throughout the 1950s and attend the annual reunions of the former Imperial branch families. In 1963, former Prince Yi Un and his wife returned to the Republic of Korea permanently. The South Korean government allowed the pretender to reside in one of the former royal residences in Seoul and paid him a modest stipend for the remainder of his life. Prince Yi Un died on May 1, 1970 after a long illness. His widow, known as Yi Pangja in Korea and Mrs. Li Masako in Japan, acquired South Korean citizenship in 1962. She continued to reside in Korea following her husband's death. The former princess established social welfare organizations and devoted herself to helping the physically and mentally disabled. In 1981, the South Korean government conferred an award on the princess for her contribution to social welfare. A first cousin of both Empress Nagako and Princess Chichibu (Setsuko), Mrs. Li maintained very close ties to the Japanese Imperial Household. She died in Seoul on April 30, 1989.