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Harvard Grad, Japanese Prince Engaged to Marry in May or June

By Tehshik P. Yoon, Contributing Reporter

A Harvard graduate will become Japan's next crown princess when she marries Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito this summer.

The 32-year-old imperial heir selected Masako Owada '85 as his bride-to-be after a long and well-publicized search. Owada is the daughter of Japan's top diplomat, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Hisashi Owada.

Although the royal family is not expected to officially announce the engagement for another two weeks, reports say a May or June wedding is planned.

A former Lowell House resident, Owada came to Harvard from a public high school in Belmont, Mass. During her years at the College she served as president of the Japanese Cultural Society and was an Undergraduate Council representative. She graduated magna cum laude in economics.

Owada now works as an economics specialist for the Japanese Foreign Ministry's North American Division. She is fluent in Japanese, English, German and French.

Lowell House Master William H. Bossert '59 said the crown prince's marriage to a Harvard graduate will meanprogress for women in Japan.

"I think it is a terrific thing for women inJapan to have someone so bright, so involved inthe world and so articulate on the throne,"Bossert said.

"She is bound to speak out for women's rightsin Japan," he added.

Henry Ford II Professor of the Social SciencesEzra Vogel, a friend of the Owada family, calledthe future crown princess "an excellent students;modest, hard working, conscientious, with a goodsense of responsibility and professionalism evenas an undergraduate."

By tradition, the fiancee of the crown princemust be an aristocrat, no more than 25 years oldand has never had a previous romanticrelationship.

Owada fails in the first two of thesestipulations; her status on the last is unclear.

Owada has stayed in her family's home in Tokyosince the Japanese press got word of theengagement two days ago.

According to reports, the imperial heir'sbride-to-be is sick with a cold and has beenunable to comment.

Owada will be the third person of common birthto wed an imperial prince.

The first was current Empress Michiko, whomarried Emperor Akihito in 1959; the second wasKiko Kawashima, wife of Naruhito's younger brotherAkishino

"I think it is a terrific thing for women inJapan to have someone so bright, so involved inthe world and so articulate on the throne,"Bossert said.

"She is bound to speak out for women's rightsin Japan," he added.

Henry Ford II Professor of the Social SciencesEzra Vogel, a friend of the Owada family, calledthe future crown princess "an excellent students;modest, hard working, conscientious, with a goodsense of responsibility and professionalism evenas an undergraduate."

By tradition, the fiancee of the crown princemust be an aristocrat, no more than 25 years oldand has never had a previous romanticrelationship.

Owada fails in the first two of thesestipulations; her status on the last is unclear.

Owada has stayed in her family's home in Tokyosince the Japanese press got word of theengagement two days ago.

According to reports, the imperial heir'sbride-to-be is sick with a cold and has beenunable to comment.

Owada will be the third person of common birthto wed an imperial prince.

The first was current Empress Michiko, whomarried Emperor Akihito in 1959; the second wasKiko Kawashima, wife of Naruhito's younger brotherAkishino

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