Princess Aiko, daughter of Emperor and Empress, turns 21

Courtesy of the Imperial Household Agency
Princess Aiko feeds a horse at the Imperial Palace on Nov. 21.

Princess Aiko, the only child of the Emperor and Empress, turned 21 on Thursday. Since turning 20 a year ago, she has been performed her duties with sincerity as an adult member of the Imperial family, while also studying at university.

For her first-ever press conference held in March, for example, she spent a long time preparing her speech and practiced and polished it until just before the press conference, according to the Imperial Household Agency. During the press conference that lasted about 30 minutes, the princess answered questions from the press with a smile, even though she seemed nervous.

Over the year, Princess Aiko took part in a New Year’s celebration ceremonies and court rituals among other events as an adult member of the Imperial family for the first time, preparing for these events with all her heart and learning about etiquette from the Emperor and Empress in advance.

In terms of academics, Princess Aiko advanced to the junior year of the Department of Japanese Language and Literature at Gakushuin University’s Faculty of Letters this year. As her course becomes more specialized, she is studying various Japanese literature classics such as “The Tale of Genji,” “Shin Kokin Wakashu” (New Collection of Ancient and Modern Poems) and “Tales of Uji Shui.”

Princess Aiko has been taking online lessons due to the coronavirus pandemic. She is grateful for the efforts of medical workers and others, and hopes that people will soon be able to return to their daily lives with peace of mind, as many people are still wary of going out.

At home, Princess Aiko takes good care of her dog Yuri and her cats Mii and Seven. She also exercises, taking walks and playing tennis with the Emperor and Empress, and jogging with the Emperor.