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Afternoon concert

13 Comments

Princess Aiko, center top, plays the cello during a concert by Gakushuin University's alumni in Tokyo on Sunday.

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The Cello is a beautiful instrument but I'd be very curious to know the backstory of this choice. Historically, it was always thought that playing the violin was too undignified for royalty because of the need to contort your body. Frederick the Great of Prussia wanted to play the violin but he was forced to play the flute instead.

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I met her Mum then, Masako Owada, in the 1970's at Futaba Gakuen in Meguro when she learnt to play the piano. Music is well placed in her family. Go Aiko...

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@M3 M3:

Historically?

Imperial Family existed many many years before violin was imported to Japan.

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I think she might have plugged into that bass amp behind her...... :)

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She looks so serious about the music she's playing. I remember playing the string bass. Wonderful time of my youth. I hope she's happy about her choice of instruments. She can always expand her ability to play other instruments.

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@toshiko

Yes, but I'm not sure I understand what you mean?

As someone who plays the cello (not usually a popular instrument with children, compared to the violin), I'm just speculating on whether European royalty's prejudice against the violin has also migrated to Japan. The penchant to live in baroque palaces, wear diamond tiaras and tailcoats has certainly made the transition from Europe to Japan (even though the Imperial family pre-dates all of those things).

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Her Dad plays both he violin and the viola.

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Thanks Cleo, you're right!

I found this great (but very tiny) photo from the Imperial household agency with the Emperor playing cello, his wife on piano and prince Naruhito playing violin.

http://www.kunaicho.go.jp/e-about/activity/img/62ensoukai.jpg

The only question now is if Prince Fumihito plays anything?

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@M3M3:Yes, but I'm not sure I understand what you mean?

I meant "Don't create phony history of Imperial House"

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@toshiko

I'm giving you the history of the cello. Whether you like it or not, the history of the cello is that it was played by royalty whereas the violin was not. The history of this European instrument doesn't change or become phony just because we are in Japan. The Emperor plays the Cello, as does Princess Aiko, as did the late Prince Takamado. Countless European royals have played the cello (Prince Charles for example). I'm sure that the Imperial Household Agency diligently conducted their research and advised Prince Naruhito of this interesting historical fact before he began violin lessons. He probably found it quite amusing as he went on to become a modern exception to the rule.

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Good choice of an instrument!

Cellos produce eccentric sound quality that is amplified based on the cellist. This is my opinion but I think it's kinda cool to see a princess play such a heavy, strong sounding instrument that also dishes out melodies to provide the listener a soothing yet composed music.

OR...she could have been influenced by Yo Yo Ma

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@M3M3: Princess Aiko is not An European Princess. Two of my grandchildren plays Cello. Do you play cello??? You did not write history of cello.

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She looked horrified as well as her colleagues! I didn't know they put much pressure on royal family from such a small age :( look at the other kids, they scare to look up :(

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