Princess Aiko comes of age: No party, but more duties

Princess Aiko
There is more responsibility for a birthday

Princess Aiko

© ASSOCIATED PRESS / Picture Alliance

There is currently a lot going on in Japan’s royal family. First Princess Mako had to leave the imperial family after her wedding. Now her cousin, Princess Aiko, is coming of age – and has more royal duties.

In Japan’s imperial family there was a redistribution of royal duties. On the one hand, this affects Princess Mako, 30, who is now called Mako Komuro. Since her wedding to the commoner Kei Komuro, 30 – who may have been one of the saddest in the world – she no longer belongs to the imperial family. On November 14th, Mako started her new luxurious life in exile in New York.

On the other hand, there is Princess Aiko, 19, Mako’s cousin and daughter of Emperor Naruhito, 61, and Empress Masako, 57, of Japan. From December 1, 2021, her 20th birthday and the day she comes of age in Japan, she will receive more royal duties.

Princess Mako in exile: more royal duties for Princess Aiko

In Japan it is still legally regulated that people are not considered to be of legal age until they reach the age of 20. This will change from April 2022 (from then onwards the age of 18 will apply), but it still affects Princess Aiko, the Emperor’s daughter.

Princess Aiko is walking with her dog Yuri through the garden of the Imperial Residence in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on November 14, 2021.  The photo was taken from the "Imperial Household Agency of Japan" made available.

Princess Aiko is walking with her dog Yuri through the garden of the Imperial Residence in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on November 14, 2021. The photo was provided by the Imperial Household Agency of Japan.

© ASSOCIATED PRESS / Picture Alliance

The Japanese Imperial Household Agency has announced that the official ceremony for the special day of the princess will take place on December 5th so that the student does not miss any class. On December 1st, the birthday child only goes out to eat with his parents. Nevertheless, new photos were published on Aiko’s day of honor, in which she poses with her dog Yuri in the garden of the imperial residence in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

Due to the corona pandemic, the ceremony next Sunday will be celebrated on a small scale, without banquets or large gatherings.

Birthday plan: Not a big celebration, but some items on the agenda

Still, there is a lot on the agenda: Aiko will visit the three shrines of her ancestors and Japanese gods to pray there. In the afternoon she will see her grandparents, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko. In addition, after the official ceremony, she will be congratulated by other family members, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and members of the government.

Another item on the agenda: In the Imperial Palace, the princess receives the Grand Cross of the Order of the Noble Crown (1st class) from her father, Emperor Naruhito, which is only awarded to women. Aiko will attend this ceremony in formal attire and wearing her first tiara.

Princess Aiko awaits new tasks

At the age of majority, the princess is expected to perform official duties. Nevertheless, Aiko will have no rights to the throne and will also have to leave the family as soon as she marries a commoner. In addition to her studies at Gakunshuin University in Tokyo, she took language courses in English and Spanish as well as sports and health sciences.

Source used: Dana Press, japantimes.co.jp

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