Japanese Princesses May Be Allowed to Form Imperial Branches
The Japanese Government has released a review of its plans of changes in the imperial family system whereby females may be allowed to retain their titles, styles and status after marriages to commoners, and to create their own Imperial branches.
Currently, two versions of the proposal exist. The first version allows female members of the family to not only create their own branches within the Imperial Family and retain their statuses after marriage, but also pass their title and imperial status on their children (although the children would still be barred from ascending to the Throne). The second version allows females to retain their titles and styles after marriage, but not pass them to their spouses or children. The changes only concern daughters and granddaughters of the reigning Emperor.
The proposal drew positive responses from the Imperial Household Agency. Currently, there are eight unmarried female members of the Imperial Family – Princess Aiko (daughter of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess), Princesses Mako and Kako (daughters of Prince and Princess Akishino), Princesses Akiko and Yoko (daughters of Prince and Princess Tomohito of Mikasa), and Princesses Tsuguko, Noriko and Ayako (daughters of Prince and Princess Takamado). Six of them have reached the age of majority and have started performing duties on behalf of the Emperor.
The Government has made it very clear that the opinions of the female members of the Imperial Family are taken into consideration. It is understandable that those ladies (all raised with the understanding they will one day leave the family) can have different plans or priorities, so not all of them may be enthusiastic about a life-long service as servants and symbols of the country.
As the law is now, female members of the Imperial Family automatically lose their styles and titles and cease to be members of the Imperial Family (as per Article 12 of the Imperial House Law 1947). Thus, when Princess Sayako, the only daughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, married a commoner, she relinquished her style of Imperial Highness and title of Princess Nori and became plain Mrs. Sayako Kuroda. In contrast, male members of the Imperial Family form their own branches (such as Akishino, Hitachi, Mikasa and Takamado).
The proposals do not, at this time, include any provisions for a possible female succession. Currently, females have no succession rights meaning the only child of the Crown Princely couple, Princess Aiko, will not be able to succeed her father. As things are now, the very future of the Japanese Imperial Family rests on the tender shoulders of a child, Prince Hisahito – the sole male dynast of his generation.
To read more about Japanese succession issues, visit this thread – Succession Issues.Filed under Japan
Tagged Imperial Household Agency, Noriko Senge, Princess Aiko of Japan, Princess Akiko of Mikasa, Princess Ayako of Takamado, Princess Kako of Akishino, Princess Mako of Akishino, Princess Tsuguko of Takamado, Princess Yōko of Mikasa, Succession.