Prince Hasihito, Japan’s “little prince” and the third in line to the throne, is the first male member of the Imperial family post-World War II to eschew the tradition of enrolling in Gakushuin Primary School. Instead, the prince will be attending Ochanomizu University Elementary and be treated like any ordinary student in the school.
Prince and Princess Akishino decided to enroll their only son in a three-year course at the Ochanomizu University-affiliated kindergarten in April 2010 because they wanted him to experience education without the trappings of special treatment. If he had enrolled in Gakushuin, his classmates would have been descendants of former Imperial or noble family members and he would have been referred to as “miya sama” (prince). But in his new school, where he is simply called “Hisahito-kun”, he would have the chance to be friends with kids who come from different backgrounds, children of company owners, employees and public servants. The school doesn’t plan to treat him any differently now, although eventually, both the prince and his classmates will realize and understand his “special position” later on. The Prince and Princess believe that it is important that the little prince get to experience this to become an effective “symbol of the state in the future”.
But it’s not just the idea of being “ordinary” that the school was chosen for Prince Hasihito. Because it is affiliated with Ochanomizu University, experimental teaching programs are often tested at the school, ensuring a high quality of education for a school that has 105 students across three classes. The Prince and Princess have not been remiss in educating their son in the history and tradition of his family. They recently visited the tombs of Emperor Jinmu (Japan’s first emperor), Emperor Showa and Empress Kojun in Tokyo and the Ise Grand Shrines in Mie Prefecture, where the prince offered a tamagushi sprig from the sacred sakaki tree at each location.
[ via The Oakland Press ]