Princess Aiko has missed the first month of this term, the Imperial Household Agency has announced, due to fatigue. The 14-year-old goes to the elite Gakushuin Girls’ Junior High School, but she has not been there since September 26th. The Princess has undergone tests in hospital over the summer, but these have not identified a specific cause. A spokesman for the agency said that her fatigue may have been caused by the combined pressure of revising for examinations at the same time as training for the School Sports Day.
As was reported earlier this month in Royal Central, her mother Crown Princess Masako did not accompany Crown Prince Naruhito on a week-long stay in the Iwate Prefecture. This was because of fatigue and looking after her daughter. This is not the first-time Princess Aiko has had problems at school, aged ten she missed some time at primary school when she was shocked by the boisterous behaviour of boys in her grade. When she did return to school, initially for two days a week, her mother accompanied her.
There are concerns in some quarters that Princess Aiko’s problems echo problems that her mother had when she first married into the Imperial Family. Crown Princess Masako has been undergoing treatment for a stress-related condition for around a decade, though the source of this may have been because of the pressures on her to deliver a male heir. The Imperial Family is held in great reverence by the Japanese people, however, the Emperor is due to abdicate in a couple of years, and by that time it will be expected that Crown Princess Masako and their daughter Princess Aiko will accompany Crown Prince Naruhito on both his foreign trips and those around the Japanese prefectures.
This is clearly not something which is a problem across all the Princesses in the Japanese Court, however. Princess Mako of Akishino, daughter of Prince Fumito, and elder cousin of Princess Aiko recently studied at the University of Leicester and managed to keep her identity hidden for the whole of her studies. For her, the transfer from the protected world of the Imperial Household to the real world was one she clearly took in her stride.