Newborn prince is named Hisahito

Royal parents choose pine tree as his symbol

Prince Akishino has named his new son Prince Hisahito, the Imperial Household Agency announced Tuesday.

Prince Akishino, who is Emperor Akihito’s second son, gave the name to the child in an afternoon ceremony at Aiiku Hospital in Minato Ward, Tokyo. Following tradition, it was held on the seventh day after his birth.

The newborn is the first heir born to the Imperial family in nearly 41 years, standing third in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne after Crown Prince Naruhito and Prince Akishino. Females are barred by law from ascending the throne.

Princess Kiko gave birth to the child at the hospital Sept. 6. The mother and Prince Hisahito are both in good health and will stay there for several more days.

In the naming ceremony, a court official put the new prince’s name and his symbol, the umbrella pine, on “washi” paper in a paulownia box and it was placed next to the baby’s pillow. The symbol will be used to mark the baby’s belongings.

The name Hisahito is made up of the Chinese character for “hisa,” meaning “far and away” and “at ease,” and “hito,” or “virtuous person.” “Hito” has been the customary way to end boys’ names in the Imperial family since the Heian Period (794-1185).

The name was chosen in the hope that the little prince will live a long and comfortable life. The umbrella pine, an indigenous evergreen, was made his symbol so he will grow straight and tall, the agency said. Umbrella pines grow on the grounds of the Imperial Palace and on the grounds of the Akasaka Estate, where Prince Akishino’s family lives.

The mother and father discussed the name and symbol for their son and decided together on the symbol, while the father chose the name from a list compiled by the household agency. The couple consulted with the Emperor and Empress Michiko on the name and symbol.

Imperial Household Agency chief Shingo Haketa will register the name in the Imperial family registry.

The baby will not have a second name during his youth because he is not the son of a crown prince. The current Emperor did not choose his name for the same reason.

The agency said it started looking at names in July, and excluded the names of previous emperors and current members of the Imperial family.

The agency said it prepared three names after looking at the opinions of experts in Japanese and Chinese literature.

Prince Hisahito is the third child of Prince Akishino, 40, and Princess Kiko, 40, after Princess Mako, 14, and Princess Kako, 11. The parents married in June 1990.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi planned to revise the succession law to allow females to ascend the throne but shelved the idea when Princess Kiko’s pregnancy was announced in February.

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