She's been to Harvard, Oxford and some of the best schools in Japan. But Friday, Masako Owada began what may be her most valuable lesson yet - a crash course on how to be a good princess.
Owada, who is to wed Crown Prince Naruhito later this spring, arrived at the palace bright and early to begin her "princess education," a required course for future imperial brides.The 29-year-old princess-to-be will spend four mornings each week for the next month and a half studying eight topics ranging from constitutional law to classical poetry.
"There are many things I have never studied before, so I hope to diligently study each topic and listen closely to each of my teachers' lessons," she said in a statement issued through the palace.
Though the lessons have been criticized by some as anachronistic, few in Japan doubt the need to somehow prepare an outsider for the intricacies of life behind the "Chrysanthemum Curtain."
The intense scrutiny of imperial family members and the strict limitations on their ability to speak or act freely in public nearly scared off Owada. Japan's royals also must be familiar with a myriad traditions and beliefs built up over the monarchy's roughly 1,500-year history.
Palace officials say they have enlisted the best tutors available to help Owada. Among them are former Supreme Court Justice Masami Ito and several prominent professors.
The palace is taking into account her spotless academic background - she earned a degree in economics from Harvard and studied at Oxford for two years.
Her orientation will be half as long as the one Empress Michiko was required to undergo in 1959.