We don't know if Masako is really ill or if the IHA is deciding that she is too ill to accompany Naruhito. For that matter, we don't know for how long the IHA has been playing this little game.
Additionally, Emmily, it was suggested somewhere on this forum that, just maybe, Masako would like to be with Aiko while she is young since this is, at least until now, her only child. It could also be that Masako doesn't want to travel with Naruhito on the same plane to avoid Aiko having to be raised without she or N's guidance. Whatever the reason...the IHA sure makes it look as though she is "too ill".
Stressed Japanese princess in shadow of pregnant sister-in-law
It was in 1993 when Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito gently smiled and said the number of children he would have would be "up to the stork's mood".
Now that feels like ancient history.
Thirteen years since his engagement press conference, Naruhito and his wife Masako have produced one child, Princess Aiko, spelling crisis for the centuries-old royal tradition of male-only succession.
While politicians were sparring over the royal code this year, the stork visited his younger brother Prince Akishino and wife Kiko, raising hopes for a male heir and slamming the brakes on moves for reform.
Now Masako, a US-educated former career woman suffering severe stress, is coming under a new kind of media glare. The question on everyone's mind is: how does Masako feel about her housewife sister-in-law's pregnancy?.................................. http://servihoo.com/Aujourdhui/kinew...&CategoryID=74
Japanese Crown Princess Masako and her daughter Princess Aiko arrive at Gakushuin Kindergarten in Tokyo to attend a special event for Hina Festival, or Girls' Day, Friday, March 3, 2006. Four-year-old Aiko who enrolls the preschool in April was greeted by about 100 kindergarteners along with other 50 enrollees.
Smartly dressed and in matching navy blue outfits, Japan's Crown Princess Masako and her daughter Princess Aiko arrived at the Tokyo kindergarten where the young royal will begin her education from April.
With the shy but steady smile she adopts when facing the cameras, the 42-year-old royal walked confidently up to the Gakushuin Kindergarten.
In the spotlight more than ever, Masako - who has gradually re-emerged into public life after suffering a stress-related illness - seems to take comfort from her daughter. Aiko is, say her parents, a happy child who loves sumo wrestling and playing in the Palace vegetable garden.
aiko is such a lady with 4 years old! it's incredible how well she behaves, how well she walks and how she mantains her posture with such a young age. both ladies looked great. masako is as diplomatic and perfect as always.
Lovely photos! Little Aiko looks adorable in that outfit. Do you know what the Dolls' Festival is? Just for future female students?
Aiko's outfit is the uniform of a private school kindergarten student. Gakushuin Kindergarten is a private school where the Imperial Family send their children, it's close to the Imperial Palace.
The Doll's Festival before WW2 was called 'Girl's Day' so the festival has a connotation that it's mainly for girls. Greeting cards are sent for The Doll's Festival and they're pink with dolls on them. Boy's Day on May 5th after WW2 became "Children's Day".
The Doll's Festival isn't celebrated just at school as families with girls set up the Doll displays in their homes. The dolls are an imperial court. The top are the Emperor and Empress and each layer down are the various members of the court, the attendants, the guards, the musicians. Also displayed are furniture of the imperial court, modes of transport. A full Doll's Festival display costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, families often pass them on from mother to daughter, grandmother to grand-daughter. Simpler displays are also put in homes with just the Emperor and Empress dolls. Children have a party around the display with special food relevant to that particular day. ( Children's day also has special food)
The Doll Festival was my favorite festivity when I was little. I had my own dolls but now they're just in storage somewhere in my home. The dolls aren't regular dolls. Like Charlotte said, the dolls represent the members of the court (which took me years to understand when my mother first tried to explain to me about the dolls... I was just interested in how pretty the dolls were).
As for Gakushuin, it's a really gorgeous institution from what I remember. I only attended kindergarden there for half a year before I moved to the United States. The kindergarden school is REALLY huge. I remember roaming around for hours and how everything looked so big (probably because I was so small).
I hope Aiko enjoyed her festival celebrations. They're probably the best times of a little girl's life :)
Ooops - I should have read all the posts, first! Thanks to all of you for the wonderful photos and explanations. It makes me wonder what Aiko's dolls look like? I imagine they are something quite special. One question: do you get to play with the dolls and move the furniture around or is it more for observation? Thanks in advance for the answers!
The dolls really are technically for display since the dolls are really delicate. However, you could pretend to "feed" your dolls. Most of the time, I had some of my friends come over and just pretend like we were feeding my dolls (instead of touching them, we just had a plate in front of them as if we were serving them).
I received my first doll set when I was five. The first year that you receive your set is very special. After that, there are times when you bring out the dolls for display but I don't think any other year besides the first few years of having your doll set is as special.