Back to School for Princess Aiko

TOKYO —Princess Aiko, the only child of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, attended school Monday for the first time in six days after expressing anxiety since being ‘‘treated harshly’’ by boys at her elementary school.

The 8-year-old princess was accompanied by the crown princess in going into the school and attending the fourth period of morning classes. They then left the school together, the Imperial Household Agency said.

Princess Aiko, the granddaughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko and a second grader at Gakushuin Primary School in Tokyo, has not attended most of her classes since March 1, the top aide to the crown prince and princess said during a regular press conference Friday.

Issei Nomura, grand master of the crown prince’s household, said Princess Aiko has been complaining of anxiety and stomachache after being treated harshly by boys in her grade, while a school official denied the princess was directly subject to rowdy behavior by the boys. (

Japan's Princess Aiko, led by her mother Crown Princess Masako, on an outing two years ago.

I can sympathize with poor little Aiko on this one, but at the same time, she seems a little dramatic! I think it’s safe to say that in most shojo mangas, the heroine is bullied by boys (and girls) at one point in the storyline, and most of the reasoning is jealousy or love. Yes, that’s right, these boys are just flirting the only way little boys know how to do: push, fight and shove.

I wouldn’t assume so much if this archetypal love story didn’t pop up time and time again in Japanese mangas, which I believe mimic cultural norms better than the other “reality TV” and game shows we see too often from Japan.

The first scenario that pops into my head is from Kodomo no Omocha (one of my favorite series)–Kurata Sana, the main character, is terrorized by class bully Hayama Akito for challenging his actions as trouble maker, calling him the “king of monkeys.” Akito is immediately attracted to her strong will, but targets her because he doesn’t know how to deal with his feelings.

And the story goes on… In my opinion, Princess Aiko will one day understand this “cat and mouse” chase of a young boy’s inability to accept feelings. For now, she needs to channel her inner Sana and fight back.