Princess Aiko Tends Silkworms in Japanese Imperial Family Tradition

Society Imperial Family

New photos show Princess Aiko tending silkworms with her parents, the emperor and empress of Japan. Generations of the imperial family have practiced sericulture, including Aiko’s grandmother Empress Emerita Michiko.

The Imperial Household Agency has released photos of Princess Aiko tending silkworms. The pictures show her feeding newly hatched silkworm larvae mulberry leaves and collecting silk cocoons alongside her parents, Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, at a sericulture facility at the imperial Palace.

Juvenile silkworms. (Courtesy of the Imperial Household Agency)
Juvenile silkworms. (Courtesy of the Imperial Household Agency)

Aiko has helped raise silkworms since she was in elementary school. Now a university student, she is busy with her studies, but as her classes are held online, she used her free time between lessons to tend the larvae.

Princess Aiko, left, collects finished silk cocoons on June 11, 2022. (Courtesy of the Imperial Household Agency)
Princess Aiko, left, collects finished silk cocoons on June 11, 2022. (Courtesy of the Imperial Household Agency)

Empress Shōken started the tradition of imperial sericulture during the Meiji era (1868–1912) and the practice has been passed down through successive generations. This was the first time for Aiko to take part in each stage of sericulture and she demonstrated great diligence, including asking attendants about the different steps in the process.

Princess Aiko, center, lays down a bed of mulberry leaves for the silkworm larvae on June 1, 2022. (Courtesy of the Imperial Household Agency)
Princess Aiko, center, lays down a bed of mulberry leaves for the silkworm larvae on June 1, 2022. (Courtesy of the Imperial Household Agency)

(Originally published in Japanese on FNN’ s Prime Online on July 25, 2022. Translated and edited by Nippon.com. Banner photo: Silk cocoons at the sericulture facility at the Imperial Palace. Courtesy of the Imperial Household Agency)

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