Photo: A current photo of the royal family; Masako (left), Naruhito, and their daughter, Princess Aiko.
It was inevitable but now the world knows for certain; Belmont High School alumna Masako Owada will become the Empress consort of Japan on April 30, 2019.
A member of the graduating class of 1981, Owada – who was named Masako, Crown Princess of Japan, when she married Crown Prince Naruhito in 1993 – will gain the consort title in 17 months after the announcement last week of the scheduled abdication of Naruhito’s father, 83-year-old Emperor Akihito who is stepping down from the Chrysanthemum Throne.
Owada’s journey to Belmont was not that uncommon for a child of a diplomat as her father, Hisashi Owada, was sent by the Japanese government to Moscow and New York before coming to Massachusetts as a visiting professor at Harvard Law School for two years. Living on Juniper Street with her parents and younger twin sisters, Owada spent her junior and senior years at the Concord Avenue school where she was a member of the French Club and Math team. After graduation, Owada didn’t travel far for college, attending Harvard.
Belmont and Owada would next intersect in 1993 when her engagement to Akihito’s eldest son was announced. A short blast of interest in Owada’s former hometown from Japanese tourists occurred only to subside just as quickly.