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  #41  
Old 02-05-2009, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Mermaid1962 View Post
Would Angela Merkel's role be similar to that of a Prime Minister then?
Basically yes. “By contrast, the duties of the Bundespräsident (Federal President) are largely representative and ceremonial; power is exercised by the Chancellor.” Politics of Germany - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia“
"In German politics the position is equivalent to that of a Prime Minister in other countries with a parliamentary system. The latter term is not used, since its direct German equivalent, Ministerpräsident, is used exclusively for the heads of government of the states of Germany (called Bundesländer in German)." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chancel...deral_Republic)

You also can get an idea of Angela Merkel´s position from the fact that it will be always she who will represent Germany at the meetings of the national leaders, like Obama does now for the US, Sarkozy for France, Brown for Great Britain, Shinzo Abe for Japan etc.. Of course, there are differences also between these leaders: the French president and the US-president are elected directly by the people, the Prime Minister and the German chancellor by the members of parliament. The chancellor´s power is further limited by the fact that there are more parties represented in the German parliament than in the British, at present five, so that it has been nearly always necessary in Germany to form a coalition government. That means that the chancellor needs for the realization of her or his decisions not only the support of his own party but also that of the partner party in the coalition, and in the future maybe even that of a second partner.
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  #42  
Old 02-05-2009, 11:59 AM
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Regarding Kiko, maybe she initally felt less pressure being wife of the second son. And as time has gone by and the "magic" has worn off, perhaps she has felt unfulfilled and if the observations in this thread are right, unloved. But I invite this group to consider what choice does she really have?

Assume that she was so despondent as to actually consider and go through with a divorce. Just like any other royal family, her children are in the line of succession (I know, I know...but the gender discussion is another thread). There is no way that she would be able to have very much connection to them. And I just don't see the IHA providing living quarters for her within the compound like was done for Diana in Great Britain.

Aside from all of that, what prospects would she have for a romantic life? Realistically, who would want to get involved with someone with that kind of baggage...mother of a future emperor, ex-wife of an imperial prince?

All of these observations could be completely wrong and she could be extremely happy and fulfilled. But if they are correct and she has decided to just "grin and bear it" and put on the show, maybe she did so because the alternative, at least from her perspective, might seem equally or even more bleak than an inattentive, possibly philandering husband.
I quite agree with you, Rascal: Kiko has no real options but to stay. This is why I am so very supportive of her. I am so grieved to see that this happiness on her face - that we can see for example here:
between 4.45 and 4.50 when she smiles with little Mako in her arms - that this inno.cent, trusting happiness is probably gone forever. Even the smile after Hisahito´s birth did not bring this back: it was a smile of relief, of someone who has had to suffer and can hardly believe that this joy can be real... The trust was gone. Kiko is now like a very precious work of art, a miracle of grace and beauty but she is always self-possessed. No emotions will her face reveal that have not passed control first. And it is probably better like that because she can hardly cry in public...

I would probably be more critical of Kiko if I saw her having a choice because I do think that she is certainly siding with the emperor and empress and her husband against the crown prince and the crown princess and rather fuels the conflict instead of trying to come to an understanding. It is exactly this behaviour for which I am strongly blaming her husband. But he has a choice, in my opinion – and she has none.

There cannot be any doubt that a divorced princess would have to give up her children. If you consider that the women who have married into the imperial family are hardly ever allowed to see even their own parents and are certainly not allowed to stay overnight with them, you can possibly imagine how the children of a divorced princess would be kept away from their “guilty” mother. I think that this fact is sufficient to make a divorce unimaginable for Masako as well as for Kiko. But Masako has passed big parts of her life abroad so that it could be possible for her to find a place to live where she could be “useful and happy”, especially as her parents are also living in Europe. I think that she would never ever leave neither her husband nor her daughter but she has, at least, an alternative. Kiko has none - if she does not want to become a buddhist nun which I do not suppose...
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Old 02-06-2009, 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by ChiaraC View Post
There cannot be any doubt that a divorced princess would have to give up her children. If you consider that the women who have married into the imperial family are hardly ever allowed to see even their own parents and are certainly not allowed to stay overnight with them, you can possibly imagine how the children of a divorced princess would be kept away from their “guilty” mother. I think that this fact is sufficient to make a divorce unimaginable for Masako as well as for Kiko. But Masako has passed big parts of her life abroad so that it could be possible for her to find a place to live where she could be “useful and happy”, especially as her parents are also living in Europe. I think that she would never ever leave neither her husband nor her daughter but she has, at least, an alternative. Kiko has none - if she does not want to become a buddhist nun which I do not suppose...
Sorry but absolute rubbish! Women who marry into the Japanese Imperial Family aren't cut off from their own families, they just see them privately. ( Just like Imperial daughters who marry 'out' keep in contact with their families and see them on a regular basis. This dates back to the daughters of Emperor Hirohito, the daughters married out but they still came to the Imperial Palace every Sunday for a family meal. It's not a new thing) Also they do and have stayed overnight with their own families. Masako spent a month living with her mother and Aiko in 2004 in her family villa in Nagano, there is an Imperial villa in Nagano but they didn't stay there. Kiko has spent just as much time living abroad ( in 2 different countries) as Masako has. Kiko also maintains contact with people she knows from abroad, her daughter Mako did a homestay in Austria with a family that Kiko was friends with from her time living there.

Japan doesn't have no fault divorce ALL women in Japan loose custody and all contact with their children and receive no maintenance if they are deemed 'at fault'. If the husband is 'at fault' the woman gets custody.

I don't think Kiko at all is being treated badly or is miserable. Using a few static photos of her, is hardly an informed way to make any kind of statement. The photos of the Imperial Family that are taken and released are all 'approved' photos showing the 'serious and demure' side of the Imperial royals. When Kiko and Akishino got married, a Japanese photographer who was accredited to take photos on the day, took a lovely photo of Kiko brushing Akishino's hair out of his eyes. This photo made the Japanese papers but was withdrawn from the foreign press by the IHA press office as it did not present the image they wanted. ( Formal Japanese society is totally non-tactile. Japanese in general aren't very tactile you won't even see young children being kissed by their parents in public. There is no Japanese word for 'kiss' the English word is used "kissu") The photographer also has his accreditation to take pictures of the Imperial royals removed. ( The picture is still available at Japanese photosites) So the photos you see are 'approved' there is no paparazzi in Japan taking photos of royals. You are getting the images the IHA press office wants you to see. It's not the real situation when looking at the relationship between 2 people.
More accurate are the press conferences that Akishino and Kiko do for his birthday. There Akishino is very much the Japanese husband, deferring to his wife to make sure he is saying the right thing! When married couples progress into middle age, it's the wife who makes the decisions and is the 'power behind the throne', they aren't these poor downtrodden individuals.
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Old 02-10-2009, 01:27 PM
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Charlotte, I have never said that I can give absolute evidence for Kiko´s unhappiness. But this was and is my impression for which I have named the reasons in this forum. And those reasons consist of more than just my interpretation of official pictures of the Akishino couple as you will have noticed. I admit, though, that these pictures definitely make an important part. Concerning this, I do not think that the fact that the IHA is in control of the publication of pictures can be made accountable for my impression of Kiko presently being unhappy. The pictures of young princess Kiko and of the rest of the family have also been released by the IHA and there I do not receive the impression of unhappiness, not even from Masako who is or has been on one hand certainly and obviously weakened and depressed but - as far as I can see - not in relation to her husband.

However, you have, of course, the right to have and to express your own opinion. I would only ask you to express it in a way that shows that you respect my right to do the same. Maybe you are speaking your mind so vehemently now because you have been silent for too long a time? After all, this has by far not been the first time for me to explain what I think about princess Kiko´s state of mind.

If that should be the case I would prefer you to express your disagreement earlier and more often if you wish but then in a way that would render it unnecessary for you to start with: “Sorry but…” We all from time to time have to apologize afterwards for what we have said as none of us is infallible. But what sense does it make to be sorry in advance and still insist on saying it that way? Dumbledore has justly remarked that when people start with something like: “I do not want to be uncivil but…” they are usually very unfortunate in realizing their purpose and continue shockingly often by saying something that sounds pretty impolite…

I have always appreciated your very informed postings, and I have always admired your obviously abundant knowledge concerning the imperial family and Japan in general. If possible, I would wish for the future that if we happen again to not have the same information and/or opinion we could come to terms about it in a more peaceful way – independent from the question if the reason for our information not matching turns out to be that one of us has indeed committed an error – which can always happen – or if it should be so that we got our information from sources that contradict each other.

However, concerning the length of Kiko´s stay abroad, you are indeed right to a great extent. I have checked the facts and see that I have been misled partly by the many pictures of Kiko at Gakushuin university (whereas Masako has never attended a Japanese university). I certainly knew that Kiko is fluent in English and German and of her daughter´s visit in Austria but I somehow had received the impression that she had come back to Japan when still a child and then had stayed there. This is indeed not true. “She spent her preschool days in the United States when her father received a PhD in Regional Economy from the University of Pennsylvania and later taught there. Princess Kiko also attended elementary and high school in Vienna, Austria, when her father became the chief researcher at The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg, Austria, where he studied spatial science and NGO activities.” Princess Akishino - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I have to admit that here I have bought into the IHA propaganda of “Masako could not adjust to the ways of the imperial family as she has been living abroad for too long a time and has in consequence become “unjapanese”, and Kiko was able to adjust perfectly as she has passed most of her life in Japan as it should be.” without checking the facts. But I would still insist on the view that it makes a difference if a woman has been living abroad as an a.dult and by herself which Masako has done, at Harvard and in Oxford, and Kiko has not. Masako´s father had even advised his daughter to better stay in the US and work there – which would have been easy, coming from Harvard. She had already received several very tempting employment offers from leading banks and investment corporations. As far as we know Kiko, in her turn, has never considered such a perspective for herself. So, for these reasons I still think that Masako would, even nowadays, have better chances to find satisfying work abroad than Kiko.

Concerning the contact of women who marry into the imperial family with their parents I insist on what I have said. (I am expressly NOT talking here about princesses who become commoners – there is a big difference, as far as I am informed: Sayako Kuroda (Princess Sayako): Current Events
Sayako Kuroda (Princess Sayako): Current Events )
In 2003, Masako went with Aiko to visit her parents´ home for a day (going back to the palace in the evening) FOR THE FIRST TIME AFTER NINE YEARS. And that probably only because she was already feeling unwell: In the same year, on the 2nd December 2003, she broke down and was diagnosed with herpes zoster. A German book about Crown Princess Masako

It is true that, as an extraordinary exception, she was allowed in 2004 to stay four weeks with her parents because her health had not ameliorated and the doctors had recommended her to pass some time with her family in a quiet place. The ailing princess received great benefit from this stay and, after a while, showed first signs of recovery but then the IHA decided that the “vacation” had been lasting long enough. And, indeed, for a Japanese vacation it had been enormously long – only that it had not been meant as a vacation but as a sort of medical treatment. And as such it had been much too short to have any lasting effects: Back home in the palace the princess soon got apathetic again. And it was this what finally alarmed her husband to such a degree that he decided to call publicly for help for his sick wife. A German book about Crown Princess Masako

This is the information I have got from the book by Martin Fritz and Yoko Kobayashi that I have summarized. If you have information that contradicts it please name your source.

Concerning what you say about divorce in Japan (women who are not “at fault” get custody of their children) I am not sure what you want to say by that in the present context. Can you really see it happening - under any circumstances - that an imperial princess gets a divorce, with her husband being seen to be “at fault”, that she accordingly gets the custody of her children and walks away with them, among them the only male heir to the chrysanthemum throne in the youngest generation? Or, if not, what is it that you want to say?

Maybe I have to add that if I am calling Kiko´s situation difficult I am not at all talking about Japanese women in general.
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  #45  
Old 02-11-2009, 11:56 AM
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... [snipped]
Concerning what you say about divorce in Japan (women who are not “at fault” get custody of their children) I am not sure what you want to say by that in the present context. Can you really see it happening - under any circumstances - that an imperial princess gets a divorce, with her husband being seen to be “at fault”, that she accordingly gets the custody of her children and walks away with them, among them the only male heir to the chrysanthemum throne in the youngest generation? Or, if not, what is it that you want to say?

Maybe I have to add that if I am calling Kiko´s situation difficult I am not at all talking about Japanese women in general.
I find your comment insightful. We can not project a situation surrounding a divorce in a usual household onto the Imperial family. Yes, usual Japanese women have got more latitude, when it comes to divorce, choice of lifestyle, children, and etc. However, the Imperial family is largely governed by traditional values and norms. Therefore, Princess Kiko's freedom of choice is limited.
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