In Japan, just because you're a princess doesn't mean you'll necessarily be treated like one, especially in elementary school.
Shuji Kajiyama/AP Photo
Japan's Princess Aiko, daughter of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, celebrated in October 2009 as her team won a relay race at her Gakushuin elementary school in Tokyo.
Princess Aiko, the eight-year old only child of Crown Prince Naruhito and Princess Masako, has apparently been leery of going to school because the behavior of a group of boys has put her off her game.
Some reports describe the boys' behavior as bullying but officials at the school in question described what they know of the situation as falling somewhat short of that.
In behavior that will be immediately familiar to many parents, the princess has been complaining of an upset stomach and not particularly eager to go to school.
An excerpt from NHK World:
The Grand Master of the Crown Prince's Household, Issei Nomura, spoke about the matter at a news conference on Friday.
He said that after consulting the school to find the reason, it was learned that boys from another class in the same grade had shown unruly behavior.
The Imperial Household Agency says it has asked the school to take corrective steps and that the school is starting to take measures. But the agency says it cannot tell when Princess Aiko might resume attending school.
Nomura said the Crown Prince and Princess have been talking with their daughter to ease her fears. He said it is a pity that an incident like this has happened at Gakushuin, which has been attended by many members of the Imperial family.
Officials at Gakushuin told a news conference on Friday that they have not heard that the princess has personally been attacked or bullied.
They said that as the princess was about to leave school around noon on Tuesday, boys from another class heading for lunch suddenly jumped out in front of her.
The officials said the case may have made the princess recall another incident in July last year, when several boys behaved badly, throwing their bags, shouting and running down corridors.
Life at Togu Palace has had its challenges for the family of the Prince Naruhito. Princess Masako, Princess Aiko's mother is almost never seen in public and is said to have suffered stress since marrying the prince because her career was severely constrained and her failure to produce a male heir (which would actually be her husband's failure too since it's his chromosomal contribution that determines gender.)
Now life outside the palace is no prize, at least for little Aiko.