Lost in the news in Asia about the coronavirus was the announcement that Princess Aiko, the only child of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, will attend Gakushuin University in Tokyo beginning in the spring.
The 18-year-old Princess is due to study in the at the Department of Japanese Language and Literature, just like her father before her.
Aiko has been attending Gakushuin schools since kindergarten. She’s in her final year at Gakushuin Girls’ Senior High School; however, the past month, she and her classmates have been at home after Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered all schools closed to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Princess Aiko is only expected at school on 21 and 22 March for graduation ceremonies. Students and parents have been asked to wear masks to the ceremonies.
Gakushuin University was established in the 19th century for aristocrats and has educated most members of the Imperial Family.
Although Princess Aiko is the child of the Emperor, she cannot ascend the throne. In Japan, only men can reign in their own right meaning Aiko and her female cousins are not in the line of succession. They also have to give up their titles and places in the Imperial Family upon marriage to a commoner.
As a result, the Japanese Imperial Family continues to shrink, and the line of succession only has three people: Fumihito, Crown Prince Akishino (54), Prince Hisahito (13), and Masahito, Prince Hitachi (84).