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  #21  
Old 05-24-2012, 08:29 AM
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I've always thought that Akishino and Kiko had another child to relieve the Emperor's mind. I heard rumors that worry over the succession was actually making him ill.
(I know there are physical reasons for his illness, but still, worry might have contributed to his stress).

Akishino may have his flaws, but so, imo, does Naruhito.

(I know I am in the minority, but to me he seems a very selfish, stubborn man who wants everyone to conform to his wishes in all things, rather than adjusting to things as they are. I don't see him as this wonderful devoted husband. And I don't think he treats his parents very nicely, seldom visiting, etc.)
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Old 05-24-2012, 10:04 AM
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I don't believe it would be a very rationalised opinion if someone were to suggest that the Crown Prince should abdicate his responsibilities and move away with his wife and daughter as a consequence of his wifes illness.

He is a Crown Prince as well as a husband and his own ablity to perform his ceremonial responsibility is not hindered. Perhaps made more complex, but not hindered.

As it were, the Crown Princess does make appearances, be them not always with the extended Imperial family but certainly on the royal balcony, bidding the Emperor and Empress fairwell at the aiport everytime they leave the country and partaking in audiences with various visiting dignitaries but to name a few occasions. There are possibly other instances as well that have not sprung to mind.

Furthermore, there is absolutely nothing that would support any suggestion that the Crown Prince is not a loving and devoted husband. Was it not his brother who mentioned the possibility of taking a concubine to ensure the male line continued? Something the Crown Prince distanced himself from vigorously and without hesitation so it is believed. That a man would not be so willing to foreight his wifes dignity and emotional preservation speaks volumes about this man's character and the evident love and commitment he feels towards his wife. An honourable gentleman indeed.

It became rather clear as to what methods Akishino would have seriously considered and or employed had have it been him in his brothers position. I guess a clear indication of his more conservative methods in regards to Imperial longevity.
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  #23  
Old 05-24-2012, 10:18 AM
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I fully agree with you, Madame Royale; as far as I can see, Crown Prince Naruhito has always behaved with dignity both towards his position and his wife.

Just one thing: it wasn't Prince Akishino who suggesting taking concubines to ensure succession might be acceptable; it was Prince Tomohito of Mikasa (first cousin of the Emperor and the son of Prince Mikasa - himself the younger brother of Emperor Hirohito).
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  #24  
Old 05-24-2012, 10:23 AM
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[QUOTE=Madame Royale;1418430

Was it not his brother who mentioned the possibility of taking a concubine to ensure the male line continued? Something the Crown Prince distanced himself from vigorously and without hesitation. That a man would not be so willing to foreight his wifes dignity and emotional preservation speaks volumes about this man's character and the evident love and comittment he feels towards his wife. An honourable gentleman indeed.

At least it became rather clear as to what methods Akishino would have employed had have it been him in his brothers position.[/QUOTE]




No, Akishino at no stage ever mentioned taking a concubine to ensure the male line continue. It was the Emperor's cousin Prince Tomohito who wrote an article for in a newsletter for one of his patronages that pointed out in the past concubines were used BUT in this day and age that is no longer acceptable. The last part usually gets left out by those who wish to perpetuate moral outrage and pass on incorrect information as fact.
At no time did Naruhito comment or distance himself from any commentary about taking a concubines, that's just a pure invention.

Akishino is close to his father, they have a common interest in the scientific research that they carry out and have published joint papers. The Akishino
family also holiday with the Emperor and Empress in one of the Imperial Vilas each summer, the Naruhito family does not. The Emperor and Empress are extremely close to their daughter Sayako and even broke with tradition to attend her wedding. Sayako's husband is a university friend of Akishino's and he was the one who brought the 2 of them together. The family dynamics are such that Akishino has more in common with his father than Naruhito does and they spend more time together.
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Old 05-24-2012, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
I fully agree with you, Madame Royale; as far as I can see, Crown Prince Naruhito has always behaved with dignity both towards his position and his wife.

Just one thing: it wasn't Prince Akishino who suggesting taking concubines to ensure succession might be acceptable; it was Prince Tomohito of Mikasa (first cousin of the Emperor and the son of Prince Mikasa - himself the younger brother of Emperor Hirohito).
I appreciate the clarification, though I was lead to believe that Akishino had himself dsicussed the topic with his brother (perhaps seperatly to Tomohito ?). But if that information is infact mistaken as it would appear that it is, then that's at least one positive in Akishino's favour (as is my personal opinion). Always happy to have information clarified for the benefit of historical accuracy.

Quote:
The family dynamics are such that Akishino has more in common with his father than Naruhito does and they spend more time together.
That may be so, but that indicates nothing in regards to the Crown Prince's ability and determination to mainatin his line in succesion and fulfill his ceremonial responsibilities as he has been groomed and raised to do so. Thus, the dynamics of the family unit should not be so consuming a fact that it proves anything to the contrary.

Thanks for that, re the various family dynamics.
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Old 05-24-2012, 12:20 PM
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It is not surprising that neither the crown prince nor Akishino nor the emperor would ever have publicly commented on the concubine issue. Imperial family members are supposed to absolutely refrain from meddling with politics. The succession issue is very clearly a political matter, and a very controversial one, to boot. That Prince Tomohito would have allowed his opinion to be made public, raised concern and, with some, even irritation. For anybody interested in the exact quote:
Quote:
"The question is whether it is the right thing to change our unique tradition and history so easily," Akihito's cousin, Prince Tomohito, wrote in a recent essay distributed to palace officials. "Using concubines, like we used to, is one option. I'm all for it, but this might be a little difficult considering the social climate in and outside the country."
Washington Post

This proposal was never seriously considered as far as I know. But it did change the atmosphere - for worse.
Quote:
Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, chairman of the succession advisory panel and president of the National Institute of Advanced Industry, Science and Technology, admitted to being 'very unhappy' at the prince's comments. 'It is quite possible that they would have an influence on society's thinking but they were beyond the scope of our discussions,' he said. In the month since the report was submitted to the government to be examined, Professor Yoshikawa has been permanently accompanied by two bodyguards. [In November 2005, Koizumi´s succession advisory panel produced a report recommending that female emperors and their descendants be allowed to ascend the throne, and the emperor's eldest child, regardless of sex, should be given „priority as the imperial heir.“] His report is unpopular in right-wing circles, which have in the past attacked individuals who do not show what they believe is the appropriate amount of respect to an institution many still believe is headed by a demigod.
Prince Tomohito's comments are encouraging these groups' opposition, the professor believes. And now he fears for his safety.

'This outburst, I think, took the Japanese by surprise because it's very clearly an honest outpouring of the prince's personal feelings, but I also think it shows how a quintessential member of the Imperial Household like him is so completely out of touch with reality,' said Noriko Hama, a professor at Kyoto's Doshisha University. 'It looks as if he is panicking because all that he has ever believed in and upheld was wrapped up in the imperial family and the Japanese nation, and now he sees it crumbling before his eyes,' he said. 'It seems he does not think very highly of the Crown Prince or the Crown Princess because he sees them as modernisers. 'He has obviously had a very different upbringing in a very different era and he sees himself as the last line of defence of the male line being continued in the imperial family,' he said, adding that a clear family feud was occurring behind the palace walls between those who wish to bring the monarchy into the modern era and those fighting to keep it untouched and untouchable.
This last quote is from “Peeved prince fights to keep princesses in their place” by Julian Ryall in Tokyo, Jan 14, 2006. For whatever reason, the direct link never works, but the article can easily be retrieved via Google.

Prince Tomohito´s motives, of course, are left to anybody´s guess. But there is a story that has led me to believe that Prince Tomohito is no fan of the crown prince´s. After Naruhito had said on a press conference in 2004 that there had been “a move to deny Masako's career and personality”, Prince Tomohito wrote to him, asking for further explanation. Although the crown prince, at the time, must have been literally beleaguered by people who were asking for an explanation, among them his father, his brother and the head of the IHA, he still took the time to send his father´s cousin a polite reply, thanking him for his “invaluable opinion”. But Prince Tomohito had apparently expected more. I receive the impression that he had maybe hoped to become Naruhito´s confidante and gloriously accomplish what the emperor could not: to bring the rebellious crown prince to terms. But Naruhito had been so unfriendly as to disappoint the prince´s high
ambitions...

I have always asked myself if this little incident did not serve to increase Tomohito´s willingness to make his “concubine remark”. At least, I strongly doubt that he was particularly concerned about the crown prince´s feelings when he wrote his essay about the succession issue.
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  #27  
Old 03-03-2013, 08:01 AM
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Was there any substance of the rumors regarding an affair in Thailand? Or was it just that, rumors?
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Old 03-09-2013, 05:25 AM
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The story was never officially confirmed. On the other hand, I doubt that anybody who knows a bit about how such things are handled in Japan would ever expect it to be, even if it is true.

I, for one, happen to absolutely believe it, and I will give you my reasons why. Combined, they do not even leave the shadow of a doubt, as far as I am concerned:
1. Akishino´s reputation
According to an article by Edward Klein who once worked as foreign correspondent for United Press International in Asia, Akishino´s nickname as young man was „Fast Hands“ because of his reputation as heavy drinker and womanizer in Tokyo´s night clubs and discos. Klein says that Akishino´s intimate relationship with his girlfriend Kiko became a matter of serious concern to the court, especially as Kiko´s father was intervening, and that this was the real reason why Akishino was allowed to marry before his elder brother (which was unprecedented and completely against tradition).
I´d like to add that, if this point were the only “circumstantial evidence” in this case, I would certainly completely dismiss it. People can change, and they sometimes even do. But within the context of the following reasons, I do find it significant to note that Akishino has already earlier given proof that he is capable of acting in a way that could easily be called careless and irresponsible.

2. The (Un)importance of being Clinton
I am convinced that we would never have heard of this affair – if true or not – if then-president Clinton had not been involved in it, in a certain way: In April 1996, the media reported that Prince Akishino would miss a state dinner with Clinton, allegedly because of a “previous commitment” to travel to Thailand for a festival dedicated to the rare giant catfish, at the time in season in the Mekong River. But later the gossipy weekly magazine Shukan Shincho claimed that the prince was on "intimate" terms with a Thai woman, and that this had been the real reason for the trip to Thailand. The editor of Shukan Shincho, Hiroshi Matsuda, justified his decision to print the article by saying the prince's absence from the Clinton banquet could have offended Japan's most important ally and therefore needed to be explained.

Now let´s take a closer look at these facts: First, one wonders what could have been so urgent about catfish that Akishino felt obliged to miss a state dinner for it. It is to be supposed there is a catfish season in Thailand every year whereas the US president doesn´t visit Japan that often. (And even if he did, that would hopefully not always happen during the catfish season... ) It is true that Akishino is known as a “catfish specialist” and that, at the time of the banquet, he might have been working towards a PhD degree that he was to receive in October of the same year. But: the degree was in ornithology. The doctoral dissertation was titled, "Molecular Phylogeny of Jungle Fowls, genus Gallus and Monophyletic Origin of Domestic Fowls." Considering this, it becomes even more of a riddle why Akishino felt in spring 1996 such an urgent need to attend a giant catfish festival. Obviously, it would have been much more plausible if he had missed the Clinton dinner in order to travel to some sort of a “Jungle Fowl festival“ that could have helped him with his thesis...

All things considered, I, for one, think that whatever the real reason for Akishino´s absence was, it cannot have been the one that was officially given. So that leaves us with the question: what then was the real reason? It must have been a strong one because, even if Akishino might personally not have been very keen on meeting Clinton, he must have been aware that his absence would be publicly noticed and might get him into serious trouble (which in fact has happened). Besides, the real reason must have been one that could not be officially admitted. Of course, I could come up with several alternative possibilities to the explanation offered by Shukan Shincho (that Akishino was impatient to see his mistress). For example, Akishino might have been suffering from some strange illness that is considered shameful in Japan and might have been going to see a famous spiritual healer in Thailand about it, and for some reason it was impossible for him to postpone this visit... But just like this fanciful example, everything else I could think of as a plausible reason for Akishino to visit Thailand at exactly that time, seems very very far-fetched compared to the very easy and common explanation of him meeting a woman there...

3. The press conference
Another point that is very remarkable regarding this story is that Akishino took the highly unusual step of explicitly denying the allegations at a news conference. (The usual imperial way of handling disagreeable reports or rumours would be to completely ignore them, to “kill them with silence”.) Besides, I find it very interesting how Akishino worded his protest on the occasion. He said, "Smoke has risen where there is no fire." To me, this comment seems to be like taken directly out of a psychology textbook. The proverb says: where is smoke there is always fire. It seems to me that this expression of the prince was a Freudian slip. Of course, it is clear that this is no more than a personal feeling of mine and that others may find this interpretation absolutely silly. But there is another reason still why I believe the story, and that is, in fact, the most important:

4. The stubbornness of the editor
After the prince´s press conference, the editor of Shukan Shincho, Hiroshi Matsuda, said, "I have absolutely no intention of issuing a correction. . . . I still believe the story is true."
Now this is highly remarkable because the Japanese media (unlike their European counterparts) generally treat the imperial family with extreme deference. There are several examples of Japanese media keeping quiet about facts that they were perfectly acquainted with and already knew to be 100% true, out of respect for the IHA and the imperial family. (Famous instances of the Western press breaking Japanese imperial news before the Japanese media dared to even touch the issue would be Masako´s engagement to the crown prince and later, the fact that she had fallen seriously ill.)

As I said, the imperial household usually tends to ignore disagreeable stories, but as in this case Akishino had already taken the trouble to explicitly deny the allegations, the editor could not even be sure that the IHA would not take the matter to court – which could easily have become a really mortifying experience for Matsuda - if he was not 100% sure that he would be able to prove his assertions. For me, it is absolutely clear: If the editor, in such a situation, explicitly insisted on the story to be true, even against imperial protests - which he did -, I bet he had a really trustworthy source for it.

Besides, I would like to note that many instances worked together in this case to make the story publicly known: Clinton could have chosen another time for his visit/the catfish festival could have taken place at another time/whoever told the editor about the affair might have kept his (or her) mouth shut/the editor might not have the guts to publish the story. If but one of these circumstances had been lacking, nobody would have been even speculating about an imperial affair in Thailand.

In my opinion, this clearly demonstrates that there might be quite a lot of things going on at the imperial court that we never ever hear anything about. To be blunt: Akishino could have a mistress in every country he occasionally uses to visit without his wife, for scientific research, in Thailand, in Vietnam, in Indonesia, plus the Japanese court journalists could be perfectly aware of this. But the chances would be still very scarce for us to ever hear one single word about it.
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  #29  
Old 03-09-2013, 06:49 AM
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Years ago I read something about Prince Akishino that I have never forgotten. Akishino made a comment making fun of his brother's type of eyes (or eyelids) and said that this is why he could not find a wife. Does anyone remember this? It left me with a bad impression of him.

Here is a reference to the comment from the book "Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne."

"Prince Naruhito is a little bit shorter than Japanese men of his generation.... The most noteable feature of his smooth round face are the pronounced epicanthic folds of his upper eyelids which make it difficult to tell from a distance whether his eyes are open or closed. His younger brother, Prince Akishino, has joked with him that the reason it has taken him so long to find a bride is because he is not the girls' cup of tea. "You're too short-legged and too Mongolian-looking," he once quipped."
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Old 04-14-2013, 06:37 PM
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I remember on this board or another that people were getting up in arms about the brotherly ribbing between William and Harry. William said something a few months ago and some people took it as an insult. Akishino's comments could have been a little brother making his older brother suffer. I have also seen where some people from Asian countries make fun of each others eyes and a lot of people go to get plastic surgery done on their eyes. Harry makes fun of Williams bald spot and it is an innocent joke. Akishino mocks his brothers eyes and he's the devil. Naruhito should return the favor by mocking his brothers hair.
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Old 04-16-2013, 08:32 AM
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I understand what you mean. A friend of mine (who is British) once said that she never thought Akishino´s words so very bad because, according to her, members of British families will make that sort of remark every five minutes about each other, and it is all very lovingly meant. But there is a cultural difference here. Believe me, I have read a lot about imperial news conferences and Japanese royals, and they never make this sort of jokes. The only two exceptions to this rule I have ever heard of are 1) Akishino´s remarks about his brother and 2) something his eldest daughter Mako said about her father at her very first news conference.

Regarding 1) I think indeed that these remarks were very cruel because of the very difficult situation the crown prince was in. He was under high pressure to get himself a bride, at every news conference he heard the question of when he would finally, finally find a crown princess and had to answer it with a smiling face(poor guy), mocking articles were published about his desperate search and polls were conducted among young Japanese girls, with like 75% saying like they would never marry him... Naruhito himself was very worried and began to fear that he would have to die a bachelor.

Akishino (as non-heir) enjoyed not only more general freedom than his brother but also seems to have made “good use" of it, with lots of "female company" (I have mentioned it above). So, in a situation that was very difficult for Naruhito, his brother basically told him (in public!): „You are a poor lo-o-o-oser, and I a-a-a-m the cool wi-i-i-inner, nanner, nanner...“ Nothing that Naruhito could have said in return (even if he wanted) would have made any difference because, regarding the issue in question, Akishino was basically right: Naruhito did have serious problems to find himself a bride (and was probably still a „virgin“) - while Akishino had as many girlfriends as he wanted. I, for one, think that it demonstrates an ignoble nature to step on somebody who is already lying on the ground, so to speak.

Regarding 2): Princess Mako said about her father at her very first news conference as an adult member of the imperial family that he had a short temper and used to scold her often when she was a child. She added, "Well, you could say that he had somewhat of a short fuse. But he has mellowed out these days." (No price for guessing why he happens to have „mellowed out“.. .) With this statement she just confirmed what I have always suspected. But I admit that I was indeed amazed that she would publicly say that (and, what is more, first thing she gets the opportunity). It strongly reminded me of Prince Frederik of Denmark and what he said about his father. She made it sound like a joke, so it seems that at least the Western press did not really “get it”. But, like I said, Japanese royals are usually not in the habit of lightly making that sort of jokes (as little as of playing strip billiards... )
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  #32  
Old 04-20-2013, 03:01 PM
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Does Akishino have a better relationship with his father than his brother?
As for the eyes comment, I have only seen it mocked by Asians to Asians once. I do know that in certain countries having a double eye lid is more desirable and I would assume those who do have it think they are better than those who don't. It reminds me of people in my own ethnicity thinking better of those who have lighter brown skin as opposed to darker.
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:01 AM
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A different perspective. I'm afraid I dislike the vilification of Akishino, especially if it comes after the birth of Hisahito.

It is similar to portraying the rising 'middle classes' as social climbers, ambitious but conniving, pretentious and opportunistic, people without real values or ideals, but willing to adopt such pretensions to further their own social ambitions.

It is how Akishino is described here - disloyal to his own brother, suspected of sexual misadventures and chauvinism, trashed for perceived 'slights' and insults. Making him the arch-villain to complete Masako's tragedy is even more far-fetched.

FWIW, I think Akishino did his duty by the Crown. I accept he may have disagreements with his brother and would not see his daughter's candidness as an indictment against his personality. If, from my perspective, the Crown Prince can seem coddled and/or having a chip on his shoulders due to primogeniture issues, there is no reason why it cannot seem that way to his own brother.
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Old 09-15-2013, 06:30 PM
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I agree rtf, Akishino is the bad guy because him having a son disturbs the woe is me of Masako and her daughter and makes the Akishino's more popular in Japan than the Crown Prince and his family. Instead of it being seen as Akishino and Kiko helping the emperor and the dynasty it is portrayed as a personal slight to his brother.
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