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Hime (姫) is the Japanese word for "princess", or more literally "demoiselle", i.e. a (usually young) lady of higher birth. Daughters of a monarch are actually referred to by other terms, e.g. Ōjo (王女?), literally king's daughter, even though Hime can be used to address Ōjo.
The word Hime initially referred to any beautiful female. The antonym of Hime is Shikome (醜女), literally ugly female, though it is archaic and rarely used. Hime may also indicate feminine or simply small when used together with other words, such as Hime-gaki (a low line of hedge).
Hime is commonly seen as part of a Japanese female divinity's name, such as Toyotama-hime. The Kanji applied to transliterate Hime are 比売 or 毘売 rather than 姫. The masculine counterpart of Hime is Hiko (彦, 比古 or 毘古,) which is seen as part of Japanese male gods' names, such as Saruta-hiko. Unlike Hime, Hiko is neutral, non-archaic and still commonly used as a modern Japanese male given name, for example Nobuhiko Takada.
Usually, a "Hime" will go through a ceremony, in which she is considered a "Daoshi" and then later becomes a Hime. The ceremony is similar to the Japanese tea ceremony, and is usually up to 3 hours.
Ichi hime ni taro "First baby, a girl. Second baby, a boy": It originally meant that having a girl first, and a boy second was easier on the mother as she gained experience before nurturing a boy. However, with each household having fewer children, this is commonly confused as having "one girl and two boys", or three children. This is because "ichi" means "one" in Japanese and "ni" means "two" in Japanese, and therefore could be read as, "One girl, two boys."
While many use the name Hime to address those of a higher or more noble birth, there are a few who use it as a girl's name. Thus some names either incorporate the word Hime or the giver simply will name said girl Hime.