Princess Aiko: A Dedicated Member of the Japanese Red Cross Society

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Princess Aiko, the only child of Japan’s Emperor Naruhito, is set to begin her work at the Japanese Red Cross Society in April after graduating from University. While the exact details of her new role are still undisclosed, it is certain that she will continue her official duties with the Imperial family. Princess Aiko, at the age of 22, is not in the line of succession due to Japanese law, which only allows men to ascend to the throne. Japan boasts the oldest continuing hereditary monarchy in the world.

A Passion for the Red Cross

Princess Aiko has always had a keen interest in the Red Cross. In fact, during a recent exhibition on relief activities following the 1923 Tokyo earthquake, she visited the society with her parents. The organization, recognizing her dedication, has expressed its commitment to ensuring that she feels at ease while working.

Imperial Family’s Ties with the Red Cross

The Japanese Red Cross Society has maintained close ties with the Imperial family. Previous empresses have served as honorary presidents of the organization. This long-standing relationship further emphasizes the significance of Princess Aiko’s involvement with the Red Cross.

Empress Masako: A Role Model

Princess Aiko’s mother, Empress Masako, is widely admired as a career woman. Educated at prestigious institutions such as Harvard and Oxford, the Empress is a former diplomat fluent in several languages. In 1993, she became only the second commoner to marry the first in line to the Japanese throne, following in the footsteps of former Empress Michiko.

Succession Challenges

After Empress Masako’s marriage, speculation arose regarding the production of a male heir to resolve the succession issue. The birth of Princess Aiko in 2001 was celebrated, but it did not provide a definitive solution. As a result, the Japanese government began deliberating whether to amend the law to allow women to ascend to the throne. Five years later, Emperor Naruhito’s younger brother welcomed a baby boy, Prince Hitotaka, to avert the succession crisis.

However, the pressure on Crown Princess Masako was evident as she withdrew from the public eye for over a decade. In 2004, Crown Prince Naruhito made unusually strong comments to journalists, stating that his wife had exhausted herself trying to adapt to palace life. The palace confirmed that the princess was suffering from an adjustment disorder, widely believed to be a reference to depression.

Media Attention on the Akino Family

Prince Hitotaka’s family has attracted significant attention from Japanese tabloids. His older sister, former Princess Mako, married a commoner and relocated to the United States after leaving the Imperial family. Alleged money disputes and public perception challenges have marred their marriage. However, Mr. Mako’s passing of the New York State bar exam on his third attempt in 2022 was celebrated news in Japan.

Given the media spotlight on the Akino family, local media often draws comparisons between Princess Aiko and her cousin Mako. Nevertheless, when asked about her cousin’s marriage, Princess Aiko stated that marriage still seems far in the future for her and that she has not yet considered her ideal partner. She simply believes that the ability to make each other smile would be perfect.

Conclusion

As Princess Aiko prepares to embark on her new role at the Japanese Red Cross Society, her dedication and commitment to public service are evident. Despite not being in the line of succession, she continues to fulfill her official duties with the Imperial family. Princess Aiko’s involvement with the Red Cross underscores her desire to make a positive impact and contribute to society, following in the footsteps of her esteemed mother, Empress Masako.

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