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)© Japan Today