Today, 1 December, Japan’s Princess Aiko turns fifteen. The Princess, the daughter of the Imperial Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako has suffered ill health since late summer, missing school from late September until early last month. Though thinner, her health is fully restored, allowing her to return to classes almost regularly.
Royal Central has reported on the health of the women of the Japanese Imperial Family a few times earlier this year. Princess Aiko has missed school before due to ill health when she was ten years old. These patterns of spotty health for the young woman echo those shown by her mother, Princess Masako, who has been receiving treatment for stress and fatigue for the past ten years. This is perhaps because of the pressures on her to produce a male heir.
The young princess began feeling ill, complaining of dizziness and stomach pains just after her summer vacation, which included attending official royal engagements with her parents. Doctors attributed her poor health to studying for exams and preparing for a school athletic event.
The photos and videos released by the Imperial Household on the occasion suggest this visible weight loss could be a cause for concern; a Chamberlin of the Naruhito family told The Asahi Shiimbun: ” “She has no problems for us to worry about.”
Princess Aiko’s return to Gakushuin Girls’ Junior High School, where she is a 3rd-year student has been gradual. On 7 November, she started attending some classes, and has since increased her time at school. In September, Aiko has also, according to the Imperial Household Agency, began caring for a kitten named “Seven” who has joined a dog named “Yuri” and another cat named “Mii.”
Back in May, Aiko visited Hiroshima during a school trip. The event included visits to the Atomic Bomb Dome and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, among other iconic places. According to Imperial Household Agency officials, the Princess learned the ‘disastrous nature of a war and importance of peace.’