When she was just two years old, she moved to Moscow, Russia, where she completed her early education. Upon the family's return to Japan, she was enrolled in a private girls' school in Tokyo, Denenchofu Futaba, which she attended until her second year of high school. She and her family then moved to the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States while her father acted as a Vice Ambassador to the US for Japan and was a guest professor at Harvard. She graduated from Belmont High School in 1981, where she had been involved with the National Honor Society. She then enrolled in Radcliffe College. She obtained a A.B. magna cum laude in Economics from Harvard College. She attended, but never finished a graduate course in International Relations at Balliol College, Oxford University.She is fluent in several languages, including Japanese, English, and French, as well as conversational German, Russian and Spanish. Upon obtaining her degrees, the future Crown Princess began her career working for Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she worked alongside her father.
She is first known to have met the man who would become her future husband while she was studying at the University of Toyko in November 1986, but some sources state that they met while her father was an escort to members of the Imperial Family. The Crown Prince propsed several times to her for her hand in marriage before she final relented on 9 December 1992, and the Imperial House made the announcement on 19 January 1993, and they were wed on 3 June 1993. The Crown Princess' first pregnancy was announced in December 1999, but she miscarried. Two years later, the Crown Princess gave birth to the couple's only child, a daughter, Princess Aiko, Princess Toshi, who was born 1 December 2001.
Together, with her husband she is often in attendance at the Imperial Family's official events, such as New Year Ceremonies, and the annual Garden parties, as well as offiical foreign visitor welcome receptions, Court luncheons and State banquets. In addition, the future emperess and her husband often frequent a variety of ceremonies including: The National Awards Ceremony for the Promotion of Blood Donation, the National Inter-High School Championship, the National Cultural Festival, the National Tree-Care Festival, the National Sports Games for the Disabled, the Protect the Greenery Gathering, and the National Leaders of Agriculture Summit. She has also served as Honorary Vice-President of the Japanese Red Cross Society since 1994. She has also accompanied her husband on visits to Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahraikn, Kuwait, The UAE, Jordan, Belgium (for the wedding of Prince Philipe), New Zealand and Australia.
Since 2002, the future Empress of Japan has remained largely out of the public eye, allegedly due to emotional disorders. In July 2004, she was diagnosed with suffering from adjustment disorder, and has reportedly been seeking treatment.
She has received orders from Japan, Austria, Norway, Portugal and Spain.