Prince Hisahito to enter Tsukuba University’s high school

File photo/Courtesy of the Imperial Household Agency
Prince Hisahito is seen in August ahead of his 15th birthday on Sept. 6.

Prince Hisahito, the son of Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko, has been admitted to the University of Tsukuba’s high school in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo, and is expected to begin his studies there in April, the Imperial Household Agency has announced.

The prince, who is 15 years old, will be the first Imperial family member born after World War II to attend a high school other than Gakushuin.

Prince Hisahito is currently a third-year student at the Ochanomizu University Junior High School. He was granted admission under a partnership system between the high schools affiliated with Ochanomizu University and the University of Tsukuba.

From kindergarten through junior high school, the prince has attended schools affiliated with Ochanomizu University. However, the university’s high school is for girls only.

Founded in 1888, the University of Tsukuba’s high school has seen many of its students admitted to highly competitive universities, such as the University of Tokyo, as well as to medical schools. However, it does not have a system in which many of its students can directly enroll in the University of Tsukuba.

After participating in online briefing sessions of several high schools and consulting with graduates, the prince decided to apply to the University of Tsukuba’s high school, the educational policy of which stresses “independence, self-reliance and the spirit of freedom.”

According to the Imperial Household Agency, the school partnership system is available for students who have excellent grades and meet such conditions as making the partner school their first choice. The prince received a recommendation from Ochanomizu University Junior High School, and took an examination Sunday. His admission was confirmed Wednesday.

Before World War II, Imperial family members had been required under an Imperial family order to study at Gakushuin schools in principle. That order was abolished in 1947, but even after the war, all male members attended Gakushuin from elementary school to university.

“The prince may have wanted to broaden his options for going on to university,” one of his aides said.

Prince Hisahito is interested in biology and agriculture, having researched the habitat of dragonflies and cultivated rice and vegetables at the Akasaka Estate where he lives. The prince is believed to have preferred to attend the University of Tsukuba’s high school so that he could pursue his interest in a science-related faculty, instead of going to Gakushuin’s high school, where many students directly enroll in Gakushuin University.