Schooling a challenge for Princess Masako and Aiko


Princess Aiko is going to start primary school in April. But her attendance at Gakushuin Primary School in Shinjuku Ward is causing concern among mothers of her future classmates. In addition, it looks like Aiko's mother, Crown Princess Masako, will suffer from new stress stemming from her daughter's schooling.

Established in 1877 for the imperial and noble families, Gakushuin, which is currently a private school open to anyone, is now completing the final preparations to accept the 6-year-old princess, such as security and selection of pupils as her friends.

“Gakushuin has reduced class numbers from 44 students to 33. The school has moved a pool and a gym to an area across the street from the school building in order to build new classrooms. In April, all pupils will be given new ID cards with IC chips,” said the mother of a current pupil. She says these new changes due to Princess Aiko.

As for the selection of pupils as friends for Aiko, another mother says, “I heard that, just as they were with Princess Aiko's father, Aiko's friends have already been selected based on, for example, family lineage and height. In Aiko's classroom, almost 70% of the pupils are from the same kindergarten of Gakushuin, while two thirds of the 130 pupils are newcomers to the school." She adds, “The school seems to be planning to build high walls around the school to protect Princess Aiko from paparazzi as well as for security personnel. But I don't want them to make it a big deal.”

One Gakushuin source said the school is asking all the mothers not to show photos taken at the school to outsiders: “They did this when Aiko was at kindergarten, but many moms complained about it. Of course, they want to be able to show photos of their kids at school.” The source added that the number of parents who have refused offers from Gakushuin primary school for their kids after the entrance examination was much more this year, perhaps reflecting concern over all the restrictions.

In spite of these complaints from mothers, a spokesperson for Gakushuin denies such concerns: “The change in the number of pupils in each class is just part of our improved educational policy. We cannot comment on security measures because it concerns the security of our pupils.”

A bigger problem will be the relationship between Princess Masako and other mothers. The Gakushuin insider says, “Unlike kindergarten, Princess Masako will have to attend school events more often, such as meetings with mothers, classroom observation day and school trips. Her relationship with other mothers will have to be much closer than at kindergarten. When Princess Masako joined a kindergarten trip a few years ago, it started raining and she didn't know what to do. None of the other mothers spoke to her or gave her a hand. It showed the communication between them wasn't working well at that time.”

For Princess Masako, her daughter's new school may not necessarily be a happy event but will certainly be the beginning of another challenge in life. (Translated by Taro Fujimoto)

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"Selection of pupils as her friends"

Wrong on so many levels.

Moderator: Where has the quote button gone!?

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"Aiko’s friends have already been selected based on, for example, family lineage and height."

That is just plain wrong!!

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They need a reality TV show for the Royals here.

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This article creeps me out. The whole royal family creeps me out, really.

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One day the Prince will come to take her but the problem is that the white horse finished in 馬刺...

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Let's not forget the challenge to be addressed in passing Aiko when she doesn't score anywhere near 30%.

And she can't say her dog ate her homework. There's just no way those dogs would be interested in common, unrefined paper.

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Create an artificial environment, artificial rules, friends etc., and it's a pretty safe bet one very odd adult will be the result. Far better for mom, dad and child to piss off overseas somewhere quietly and make new lives for themselves. I would...

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Let’s not forget the challenge to be addressed in passing Aiko when she doesn’t score anywhere near 30%.

I thought it was only the UK royal family who were academically challenged. I read that the exams for the Prince's younger brother were either dumbed down or the pass mark was lowered just for him.

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I think a lot of harsh feelings towards the Princesses is not necessary.

It is a pity Princess Masako has not heard of Homeschooling.

She is very smart, and it would give her a chance to be a Mother.

It would also cost a lot less because there would not be the necessity of security around the school.

Also, as friend's are already being determined, the choice to Homeschool and have some Class lessons of subjects where a tutor was used-for example, Shamisen-within the home, would allow for social interaction. The friend's could also be more varied in their backgrounds, which would lead to a fuller understanding of the society that she represents.

Most importantly though, it would take a stance, to parents, and education and the economics surrounding it.

I feel for the mother and daughter and hope they can be bold enough to take a stance in this. Princess Masako, this you can do. It is within your power.

How can I write a letter?!

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"When Princess Masako joined a kindergarten trip a few years ago, it started raining and she didn’t know what to do. None of the other mothers spoke to her or gave her a hand. It showed the communication between them wasn’t working well at that time.”

This is a joke, right?

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princess aiko i'm hope when start school she must concentrate a study she must hardworking to success their study life at school hope she happy and get more friends like polite,kind and friendly friends

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It's good to see her finally, get her learn on, as some of our US cousins might say. Hopefully the Mums will all start talking to one another again soon, I guess they're all keeping mum based on this report..

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"Gakushuin has reduced class numbers from 44 students to 33." For a posh private school, you'd expect better than that....

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Bless her little heart, I hope that she gets to develop as a normal person and not shut in like some of the royals.

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I feel really sorry for Aiko. Anyone remember the song "White Bird"? "White Bird in a golden cage alone etc. etc." Her friends have been selected for her based on family lineage and height. Is it just me or is anyone shocked that none of the royals have been involved in killings? I mean considering their messed up childhoods if you can call that sort of premeditation childhood.

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The Imperial Household Agency has a yearly budget of 17,766,300,000 yen and 1,053 employees to make sure that Aiko's experience in kindergarten will be a good one.

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"It is a pity Princess Masako has not heard of Homeschooling."

Homeschooling will only isolate the young princess even more. An open school will be much better for her, especially if the law is not changed to allow her to sit on the throne - she would need to be able to survive in the world outside the Palace then.

Even if she became Empress one day it would still be good for her to make friends outside of royal circles.

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Why should selection for a class within a School (albeit a private high-class one) be dictated by one individual ? Seems like just a continuation of the rot in Japanese society rather than an embracing of the modern world.

On the security measures, I'd not complain about any of those given what goes one elsewhere in the rest of the Country - and on the matters of photographs, simply a statements to the effect that thereis a prohibition inplace of the sale of pictures of school members, without prior permission of the parents/guardians of those childrens depicted therein.

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I live in America and that would soooo NOT fly! I guess i understand the fact that she is princess or whatever but still! What makes her so mauch better than all the other kids at school? Her friends have already been selected? WTH?! If there so serious about "protecting" thier kid maybe homeschool would be the best bet!!!

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President Bush let's his kids go to school with the normals! Without building a fortress around the school!

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I would ask what is isolation? Surrounded with 1000+ people, community, and not to mention a very extended family, homeschooling would give her freedom and variation. It would be conducive to study as her relationship with her mother would be allowed to grow, and that is also necessary for study.

Princess Masako has personality traits some similar to Princess Diana, would she, could she, be as so bold as Diana, on her ideals about motherhood.

The Queen has showed her interests of cutting costs by selling her family home in the past. I like the Japanese Royalty.

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"As for the selection of pupils as friends for Aiko, another mother says, “I heard that, just as they were with Princess Aiko’s father, Aiko’s friends have already been selected based on, for example, family lineage and height."

Oh, I'm sure race doesn't have anything to do with it either... this is so typical of the Japanese... "Oh, but were not racist..."

Sounds eerily similar to what the nazi's did 60 years ago.

If they are really trying to isolate their daughter from being exposed to 'normal' working people, they should home school her on the premises, then they choose to invite their "pure bread" and "socially privileged" elite friends over when they want their daughter to make friends.

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No wonder Princess Masako is so depressed. Here is a Harvard-educated, former foreign diplomat, having her daughter's friends picked based on their lineage and height. This must be a horror to her. Because she knows that not everyone in the world is born into privledge, or is the same height. And that does not make them evil. But her daughter apparently won't get this chance to learn life's lessons. This is truly sad.

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yes, since when are friends "chosen" for a child?? Ridiculous. What if the kid makes a friend out of someone who isn't a "chosen one"?? What happens then??

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Of course is a challenge for them, considering they're spoiled and quite pampered as royals.

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Even the UK royals kids socialize in a small circle of families. When you consider the priviledged schools they go to. Only the wealthy and connected can get their kids in. Not too many regular Joes end up at Havard or as they say...HAAA vard.

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I'm glad school is starting for the Princess Masako and Aiko. I do think this picking out friends and class mates could be handled best by her daughter. If they play well together, bond and develop communications skills like other kids, wow. There are her friends. Just like you and I made friends "Way Back" then. I wish them all the happiness and hope all there days are filled with Joy.

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President Bush let's his kids go to school with the normals!

I'm sure the kids that they went to school with, CEOs' kids, network news anchors' kids, pro athletes' kids, supreme court justices' grandkids, etc., didn't feel exactly inferior to the president's kids. How normal are those rich kids? Probably never washed a dish or ironed a shirt in their lives.

Homeschooling will only isolate the young princess even more.

Assuming she remains a royal, her future life is most likely to be one of isolation.

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VoXman...Completely incorrect. Most of Harvard is made up of "regular Joes" in fact. If you knew anything about Harvard, you'd know that it has one of the world's largest endowments, and uses this money to provide financial aid to students of modest means. I believe around 50% of the students are on some form of student aid. Sorry to burst your steroetyped bubble.

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I do not believe that Prince Naruhito or Princess Masako have made this decision -- height etc.

I think that the Men in Black--- Kunaicho -- who control the imperial household have made the decision for them.

Maybe Masako wanted her daughter to attend a "normal" school, but once again the 'Men in Black' told her (them) what to do.

For the other mothers not to help out Princess Masako --shame on them.

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Hey, I like her, but she doesn't have the sense to come out of the rain?

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