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Japan's New Royal Baby
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Japanese Names
 
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Japanese Baby Names
Trends in Baby Names
• The Meanings of Japanese Names
 
 From Other Guides
• Japan's Royal Baby

 
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• Japan Celebrates the Birth of a Princess
• Kanji Names Project
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On December 1st 2001, all of Japan was overjoyed at the birth of a girl to Crown Princess Masako, 37. The child is the first born to the princess and Crown Prince Naruhito, 41, after more than eight years of marriage.

The birth of a girl has rekindled a debate over whether to change the law to allow a female to ascend to the throne of the world's oldest hereditary monarchy. 

The roots of Japan's imperial family reaches back through 125 generations. Japan has been ruled by eight female monarchs in the past. The last one was Empress Go-Sakuramachi, who reigned from 1762 to 1770. However, it changed its succession law after World War II to restrict the throne to men. No baby boy has been born into the imperial family in 36 years.

The girl is the third granddaughter for Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. The crown prince's younger brother, Prince Akishino, and his wife, Princess Kiko, have two daughters, Mako, 10, and Kako, 6.

The baby was named Princess Aiko in the naming ceremony, which is traditionally held on the seventh day after the baby's birth. Aiko, written with kanji character for "love" and "child", refers to "a person who loves others." 

The baby will also have a royal title. The princess will be called Toshi-no-miya, or Princess Toshi, while she is young. That means "a person who respects others." This formal title will be dropped if and when the princess marries.

In a break with tradition, the name was chosen by the baby's parents, instead of by the emperor. It is selected from the teaching of the Chinese philosopher Mencius. It reads "A person who loves others will be loved by others, and a person who respects others will always be respected by others."

Click here to learn more about Japanese baby names. 

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