Why Princess Aiko of Japan just marked a huge milestone

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Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and his wife Empress Masako’s daughter, Princess Aiko, appeared at a special photocall on Sunday, December 5 in Tokyo. The event marked Aiko’s coming of age, with 20th birthdays considered a significant milestone in Japan.

Dressed in a white dress and a tiara, Princess Aiko smiled as she appeared in front of the press.

The Imperial Household Agency released a statement on Wednesday, the day Aiko turned 20, stating that Aiko wants to become an adult who can be of service to others.

Aiko said: “I am deeply grateful to all who have been involved in my journey to this day.”

She added that it was heartbreaking that many people around the world have died due to COVID-19.

But the princess added she hoped “a peaceful and vibrant life” would come to everyone as soon as possible.

Aiko worshipped at the Three Palace Sanctuaries at the Imperial Palace to pay her respects to ancestors and deities.

Aiko then received the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Precious Crown from her father Emperor Naruhito.

As is traditional, Aiko wore a tiara for her ceremony which belonged to her aunt Sayako Kuroda, the former princess.

Coming of age ceremonies have been celebrated in Japan for centuries.

Coming of age ceremonies mark when someone becomes an adult in Japan at the age of 20.

There is a special day dedicated annually on a national scale, with Coming of Age Day held in Japan on the second Monday of January every year.

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People who reach age 20 in the year will be congratulated on Coming of Age Day.

Princess Aiko is Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako’s only child, and she is not eligible to succeed her father.

In Japan, the Chrysanthemum Throne is limited by law to males only.

So the next Emperor will be Fumihito, the current Crown Prince Akishino.

Fumihito’s daughter, the former Princess Mako, recently made international headlines following her marriage in October 2021.

Princess Mako’s decision to marry Kei Komuro was met with significant scrutiny from the press and public in Japan.

After her marriage to Kei in October 2021, after several years of delay, Princess Mako was required to give up her imperial title as Kei is a “commoner”.

The newly-titled Mako Komuro was also required to leave Japan’s imperial family, and the newlyweds are now believed to reside in New York, USA.

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