Prince Hisahito, the 5-year-old son of Prince Fumihito and Princess Kiko, observed a rite of passage during traditional ceremonies of the imperial family on Nov. 3 at the Akasaka Imperial Grounds in Tokyo's Minato Ward.
The "Chakko no Gi" and "Fukasogi no Gi" ceremonies held on this day correspond to the Shichi-Go-San rite of passage and ceremony observed by 3- and 7-year-old girls and 3- and 5-year-old boys in common households.
Chakko no Gi means the first wearing of a "hakama" pleated skirt. Watched by his parents and sisters, Prince Hisahito attended the Chakko ceremony in an "ochitagitsu" with a waterfall pattern, as Imperial Household Agency staff dressed him in a white hakama.
During the Fukasogi ceremony, the prince, dressed in the "dogyo-fuku" formal attire, had his hair combed and cut before jumping from a 27-centimeter-tall "go" playing board with a fan and tree twigs held in his hands.
On finishing the rite, Prince Hisahito made an appearance with his family members at the entrance of the building where the ceremonies took place. When news reporters congratulated him, he answered shyly, "Thank you very much."
He later moved to the Imperial Palace to worship at the Three Palace Sanctuaries and pay a courtesy call on Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.
The Chakko ceremony was observed by Princess Aiko, the 9-year-old daughter of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, in November 2006, but the Fukasogi ceremony is considered primarily for male members of the imperial family.
The previous Fukasogi ceremony was 41 years ago, when Prince Fumihito, Prince Hisahito's 45-year-old father, attended one in October 1970.
The rite of passage had originally been scheduled for spring this year, but had been postponed because of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
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