Princess Aiko walks her dog, Yuri, at the Akasaka Imperial Residence in Tokyo on Nov. 22. (Provided by The Imperial Household Agency)

Princess Aiko, the only child of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, turned 19 on Dec. 1 in a world turned upside down due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Aiko is currently taking online classes, after entering Gakushuin University in Tokyo this spring, where she is majoring in Japanese language and literature. 

The Imperial Household Agency said Aiko hopes the day will come soon when students can return to the campus and study there.

Despite the pandemic, 2020 has been special for Aiko because she graduated from Gakushuin Girls’ Senior High School and started her university life.

Aiko in February submitted her graduation paper titled, “Cats and dogs in the Heian Period through literature.”

She read classic Japanese works such as "The Tale of Genji" and "The Pillow Book" for the paper. Students were required to fill at least 30 sheets of 400-character manuscript paper. But Aiko wrote nearly two times more, the agency said.

In late October, Aiko went to the campus in Tokyo’s Mejiro district for the first time since she entered the university.

The agency said she met and mingled with other freshman students, according to the agency.

She has exchanged opinions with and received advice from her parents in preparation for and reviews for her classes, the agency said.

Throughout the ceremonies and rituals related to her father’s ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, Aiko has learned deeply about the imperial family’s history and tradition.

Aiko, by observing her parents up close, has deepened her thinking about the duties of an adult imperial family member, according to the agency. 

In times of leisure and on weekends, Aiko spends time with her parents, often enjoying going for a walk together.

She sometimes plays badminton and volleyball outdoors with the agency employees, while taking anti-infection measures, the agency said.