Princess Kiko’s baby boy was moved into her room at Aiiku Hospital in Tokyo on Thursday morning after spending the night in the newborn baby unit.

Mother and baby, who has not been named yet, are doing well and are expected to leave the hospital in about 10 days, sources close to the Imperial family said.

The baby was born Wednesday morning. He is the third child of the couple and the first potential male heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne in 41 years.

The Imperial Household Agency said it has employed a nurse in her 20s to take care of the baby.

The little prince will go through a series of Imperial rituals, including a naming ceremony that is traditionally held on the seventh day after the child’s birth.

The baby will be named by his father, Prince Akishino, and the symbol used to mark his belongings will be decided by his mother.

As is custom, the boy will have the Chinese character “hito,” meaning a virtuous person, attached to the end of his name. A girl usually has “ko,” meaning child, at the end of her name.

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

The ceremonies for a baby born to the Imperial family are not much different for boys and girls. But some rituals will not be held because the baby is not the child of an emperor or a crown prince.

For example, there will be no bathing ceremony for the baby to grow up intelligent and in good health as was held for Princess Aiko, the daughter of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, who was born in 2001.

Umbilical donation

Princess Kiko showed willingness to donate umbilical cord blood to a blood bank, her doctor said Wednesday.

Masao Nakabayashi, 63, head of the medical team in charge of the princess’ delivery, quoted the princess, 39, as saying she will allow cord blood to be extracted “if it will be of help to the people.”

Nakabayashi, who is also head of Aiiku Hospital in Tokyo where the princess’ baby was born, added that he is thinking of having the cord blood registered with a blood bank.

Cord blood contains many of the blood-forming stem cells capable of producing all the components of blood and bone marrow and is used to treat illnesses such as leukemia.

Donated cord blood is usually stored frozen and officially registered with a blood bank after ensuring the baby has no health problems six months after its birth.

The Japanese Cord Blood Bank Network, comprising 11 blood banks nationwide, said the number of cord blood transplants between unrelated people totals more than 3,000 cases.

The transplant recipient will be chosen via the network and the donor and the recipient will not know each other’s identity.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.