She has worked hard to strike a "harmonious" balance between tradition and her own personality
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""We all hoped she would use her talents, like English, to do something. But she's stopped appearing in public and her face has become gloomy," a Japanese homemaker told the LA Times in 1997. "Everyone is saying… she would have been happier staying a career diplomat." A female attorney in Japan had similar views, opining in a 1993 Newsweek interview that Masako was "wasting her talent" having "surrendered" to the old-fashioned Imperial system. "She was a lively young woman at the Ministry… She has become so passive," she said.
Her infrequent public appearances earned her the nickname "the silent princess", and when she was seen at official engagements, her smile seemed strained. Though indications were that she was having some difficulties, her close friends defended her, saying she was simply finding her footing.
"She knew her freedom was going to be restricted (as a princess)," a Harvard classmate and close friend of Masako told People magazine in 1997. "But she's the same person as before. She's happily married."