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Wishing Princess Aiko a Happy 22nd Birthday as She Takes on New Challenges

Princess Aiko has been engaging in official duties as an adult member of the imperial family while also enjoying campus life as a senior at Gakushin University.



Princess Aiko smiles for the camera in the building of the Archives and Mausolea Department of the Imperial Household Agency on November 24, in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. (Provided by the Imperial Household Agency)

On December 1, Her Imperial Highness Princess Aiko marked her 22nd birthday. She is the only child of Their Majesties Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako. Since pandemic restrictions were eased, Princess Aiko has had more opportunities to engage in official duties as an adult imperial family member. 

At the same time, she has delved deeper into her academic pursuits, particularly in classical literature, her university major. She is currently composing her graduation thesis as the culminating endeavor of her four-year academic journey.

Princess Aiko visited the imperial family's Akasaka Estate in Tokyo to greet Emperor and Empress Emeritus on the occasion of her 22nd birthday on December 1. (Handout)

On November 10, Princess Aiko and her parents visited a special exhibition at the Museum of the Imperial Collections, Sannomaru Shozokan. There, they observed artifacts and garments associated with key events in the imperial family's history. 

During the visit, Empress Masako responded to Princess Aiko's questions about a dress she wore for her wedding ceremony. Emperor Naruhito explained to his daughter the traditional attire worn during the Sokui no Rei Seiden no Gi, which is the third part of the enthronement ceremony. 

Emperor Naruhito, Empress Masako, along with their eldest daughter Princess Aiko, pose for photos on May 30 at the Momijiyama Silkworm Farm within the Imperial Palace grounds. (© The Imperial Household Agency)

Princess Aiko's Busy Schedule

Throughout 2023, Princess Aiko actively engaged in various official duties alongside Their Majesties. Notably, during her inaugural appearance at the annual New Year's Greeting in January, Princess Aiko warmly greeted well-wishers with a gracious smile and wave.

In September, Princess Aiko was an observer at the election of the Imperial Household Council members for the first time. 

According to the Imperial Household Agency, her official duties have allowed the Princess to connect with the rich history and enduring traditions of the imperial household. The agency also said she "appears to be reflecting deeply on her duties as a member of the imperial family."

Princess Aiko views classical Japanese documents at the Archives and Mausolea Department of the Imperial Household Agency on November 24. (Provided by the Imperial Household Agency)

Princess Aiko is currently a senior studying at the Department of Japanese Language and Literature at Gakushuin University Faculty of Letters. Since the spring of 2023, she has been studying on campus, immersing herself in the vibrant atmosphere of university life that could not be experienced through online classes. She has deepened her friendships at the university and enjoyed participating in campus festivals.

In a February press conference, Emperor Naruhito expressed his aspirations for Princess Aiko's future. He wished for his daughter to "broaden her perspective and nurture her thoughts through accumulating a variety of experiences."


(Read the article in Japanese.)

Authors: Tomomi Yoshizawa and Yuko Ogata, The Sankei Shimbun


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