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  #61  
Old 09-23-2007, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by dragonsfire8 View Post
Despite having a few "major mistakes", the book does make quite a few valid points.
The problem lies in the conclusions he reaches with his major mistakes. For example, Ben Hills wrote that Akihito and Michiko were forced to wait 2 years before they could marry by the IHA as Michiko was a commoner and they didn't want Akihito to marry a commoner. But Akihito and Michiko met in August 1957, they were engaged in November 1958 ( Michiko and her parents gave a press interview) and married in April 1959. From meeting to marriage was less than 2 years. Therefore Ben Hills's assertion that the IHA was so powerful and anti-commoners that they forced Akihito to wait is invalid.

Another example, again to show the power of the IHA and how restricted the lives of the Imperial Family members are. Ben Hills wrote that Imperial Family members could not have jobs outside the Imperial Family, the example he gave was "like British family member Sarah, Duchess of York who earns money by being a Weight watchers spokesperson." Well the first mistake here is that Sarah is no longer a member of the British royal family and she didn't start working for Weight watchers until after her divorce. When she was still married and a member of the RF she only carried out royal duties. But the Imperial Family members actually do have jobs outside the Imperial Family, infact the minor members have more freedom than minor members of the BRF who are all fulltime royals. Japanese Imperial Family members since the 1920's when Hirohito's brothers all had jobs in the military have worked outside the family. Akihito's uncle Prince Mikasa, after the war earned a university degree and become a university professor at Japanese universities as well as a visiting professor at the London University. His son Prince Takamado worked as the Head of the Japan Foundation and wrote ballet reviews for the newspaper. Princess Sayako worked part-time as a reseacher at the ornithology centre. Akihito's brother Prince Hitachi does cancer research at an institute in Tokyo. So here Ben Hills's error ( the Imperial Family members don't work outside official duties) and his conclusion ( they lead a very restrictive life controlled by the IHA who won't let them work) is invalid.
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  #62  
Old 09-23-2007, 05:06 PM
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small mistake and important points

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Originally Posted by Charlotte1 View Post
The problem lies in the conclusions he reaches with his major mistakes. For example, Ben Hills wrote that Akihito and Michiko were forced to wait 2 years before they could marry by the IHA as Michiko was a commoner and they didn't want Akihito to marry a commoner. But Akihito and Michiko met in August 1957, they were engaged in November 1958 ( Michiko and her parents gave a press interview) and married in April 1959. From meeting to marriage was less than 2 years. Therefore Ben Hills's assertion that the IHA was so powerful and anti-commoners that they forced Akihito to wait is invalid.
Dear Charlotte1,

Long long waiting is also my impression, like as Ben Hills assertion of two-year-intervention by IHA. Ben's point is rather, perhaps, how ridiculous and what a pity, pro-IHA behavior!

Here is an episode:
CP Masako enjoyed talking with Bill Clinton in English, and with Michel Gorvachev in Russian, holding a dinner party. It must be an amazing and heart warming scene for Japanese, however, pro-IHAs instantly had denied them accoding to censored version of Princess Masako of Ben Hills.

What do you think?
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  #63  
Old 09-23-2007, 07:58 PM
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After all your messages, I think that I must read Ben Hills book, Mysunshine...Even if there are a lot of factual errors in it.

But I warn you, I am not too pro-globalization in ways and politics, and that I am a conservative. Evidently, I think that some things must change when they are nonsense, but things that still works and that are important for the conformation of a culture, should stay.

Vanesa.
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  #64  
Old 09-23-2007, 08:46 PM
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Actually, the Imperial Couple wrote to the author a letter of protest stating factual inaccuacies. Interestingly, there was no mention of anything inaccurate re: Masako. They simply wanted to be clear on the record that they HAD visted leper colonies. I dont have the letter to quote exactly, but perhaps Elspeth and Company can provide us with the text?

Perhaps the author is no so far off regarding Masako and her experience with the IHA.
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  #65  
Old 09-23-2007, 09:35 PM
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It wasn't the imperial couple who wrote to the author, it was the Grand Chamberlain to the Emperor, if I remember correctly. I don't know if the text has been released.
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  #66  
Old 09-24-2007, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
It wasn't the imperial couple who wrote to the author, it was the Grand Chamberlain to the Emperor, if I remember correctly. I don't know if the text has been released.
The complete letter was released publicly and is still on the official IHA site. ( kunaicho)
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  #67  
Old 09-24-2007, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by mysunshine View Post
Here is an episode:
CP Masako enjoyed talking with Bill Clinton in English, and with Michel Gorvachev in Russian, holding a dinner party. It must be an amazing and heart warming scene for Japanese, however, pro-IHAs instantly had denied them accoding to censored version of Princess Masako of Ben Hills.

This criticism of Masako after she spoke to Bill Clinton in English and Mikhail Gorbachev in Russian was actually done by a royalty reporter, a conservative one, who sniffed Masako's job was to smile, not to speak 2 languages, the royals have interpreters for that. The IHA courtiers didn't criticise her although that's the version that is most often told.
The original story can be tracked down, it will just take me a while to find out the name of the critical reporter.

Vanessa the book is interesting to read, but since you're interested in Japanese royals also do some background reading. ( That way you can find the errors!) 2 really good books are old ones written by Akihito's English tutor Elizabeth Grey Vinning, "Windows for the Crown Prince" and "Return to Japan" that book has the Time line for the Akihito and Michiko romance, Elizabeth Vinning was the only western guest at their wedding. Also good is Naruhito's book "The Thames and I".

As much as I am critical of Ben Hills's book it does offer some insights into Japan society particularly interesting are Japanese attitudes to IVF and mental illness such as depression.
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  #68  
Old 09-25-2007, 12:03 PM
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Instead criticize Masako for spoke to Bill Clinton in English and Mikhail Gorbachev in Russian. They should be proud of her for spoken two languages. If I am not mistake, president Kennedy was so proud to have his wife interpret for him in Spanish.
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  #69  
Old 09-25-2007, 02:02 PM
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Wink happy to see

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vanesa View Post
After all your messages, I think that I must read Ben Hills book, Mysunshine...Even if there are a lot of factual errors in it.

But I warn you, I am not too pro-globalization in ways and politics, and that I am a conservative. Evidently, I think that some things must change when they are nonsense, but things that still works and that are important for the conformation of a culture, should stay.

Vanesa.

Dear Vanesa,

You are real and true conservatist! I agree with you at all.

So you begin to read Princess Masako in English version, then I will add some interesting and important points, according to the IHA censored version in Japanese.


mysunshine
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  #70  
Old 09-25-2007, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by kimlan View Post
Instead criticize Masako for spoke to Bill Clinton in English and Mikhail Gorbachev in Russian. They should be proud of her for spoken two languages. If I am not mistake, president Kennedy was so proud to have his wife interpret for him in Spanish.

Yeah, this is just American openness! Unfortunately some jealousy poisons often our society..... mysunshine
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  #71  
Old 09-29-2007, 12:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlotte1 View Post
This criticism of Masako after she spoke to Bill Clinton in English and Mikhail Gorbachev in Russian was actually done by a royalty reporter, a conservative one, who sniffed Masako's job was to smile, not to speak 2 languages, the royals have interpreters for that. The IHA courtiers didn't criticise her although that's the version that is most often told.
The original story can be tracked down, it will just take me a while to find out the name of the critical reporter.

Vanessa the book is interesting to read, but since you're interested in Japanese royals also do some background reading. ( That way you can find the errors!) 2 really good books are old ones written by Akihito's English tutor Elizabeth Grey Vinning, "Windows for the Crown Prince" and "Return to Japan" that book has the Time line for the Akihito and Michiko romance, Elizabeth Vinning was the only western guest at their wedding. Also good is Naruhito's book "The Thames and I".

As much as I am critical of Ben Hills's book it does offer some insights into Japan society particularly interesting are Japanese attitudes to IVF and mental illness such as depression.
I think all these books have their good points and their bad points. As a British person, I found Prince Naruhito's book interesting in its insights into British culture, and I was fascinated by "Windows for the Crown Prince" (I haven't read "Return to Japan"). But I think both these books are as unrealistically positive as Ben Hills's book is negative. Perhaps it's that Mrs Vining really was such a confirmed optimist that she couldn't see the bad side of people, but I found her account to be a little hard to believe without having a pinch of salt involved. Prince Naruhito's book was also somewhat written with diplomacy in mind. Not that that takes away from either of them, but I don't think they're entirely objective.
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  #72  
Old 09-29-2007, 02:05 AM
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As an historian myself (and an avid history reader) I may repport that , sadly, there's no such a thing named "an objective history book". You may find better history books and worse ones; totally subjective and more objective ones. But NOT totally objective ones. And I'm not excluding myself of the list. The problem is that all of us are convinced about what we believes it's the truth, and when we are writting an history book, we could possibily not forget our political and philosophic points of views.

The bad thing is when you lies knowing that you are doing so, when you hiddes documentation that should contradict your affirmations, or when you make up facts and events just to demonstrate your points of view. But if you writes an History book using the correct documents, not lying on purpose, and not making up facts, your book will be valid and accurate. It's totally impossible to have an objective History book.

Vanesa.
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  #73  
Old 09-29-2007, 02:19 AM
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Neither Prince Naruhito nor Elizabeth Grey Vining is writing a history book as such; they're both recounting first-hand experiences. However, to me the rose-coloured glasses are very obvious in both cases, and in a way I think that's a bit of a shame.
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  #74  
Old 09-29-2007, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
I think all these books have their good points and their bad points. As a British person, I found Prince Naruhito's book interesting in its insights into British culture, and I was fascinated by "Windows for the Crown Prince" (I haven't read "Return to Japan"). But I think both these books are as unrealistically positive as Ben Hills's book is negative. Perhaps it's that Mrs Vining really was such a confirmed optimist that she couldn't see the bad side of people, but I found her account to be a little hard to believe without having a pinch of salt involved. Prince Naruhito's book was also somewhat written with diplomacy in mind. Not that that takes away from either of them, but I don't think they're entirely objective.
Elizabeth Vinning and Naruhito's books are worthwhile reading not because they're particularly objective but rather because they are writing from "the inside" as opposed to Ben Hills who is writing very much from "the outside". They provide background information as to life inside the Imperial Family something that few people can, Ben Hills definitely could not. The background a reader receives from reading these books then gives one a better criteria to evaluate what is written about the Imperial Family.

An example of what I mean.

Ben Hills wrote that when Masako ( and family) went on their holiday to The Netherlands she was accompanied by her doctor (her psychiatrist was a member of their entourage of 11 people.) He concluded that this was because she was in such a desperate mental state that her psychiarist had to come along. But reading Elizabeth Vinning in "Windows for the Crown Prince" she wrote about how Akihito was accompanied to her home for his private English lessons by his doctor and a chamberlain. In "Return to Japan" she wrote that the night Akihito's and Michiko's engagement was announced, Michiko and her parents fronted a news conference and Akihito watched it at home on TV and later dined with his doctors and advisors, Michiko and Akihito weren't even alone. Therefore it isn't unusual for Imperial doctors to be accompanying their royal patients even when they're not patients. In all likelihood Masako's doctor had a nice holiday in The Netherlands and that was it.

Naruhito's book while diplomatic about his time in the UK also showed that he didn't live totally under the thumb of the IHA. He was able to live first in a homestay and then in the university residence, his protection officers were British and he was pretty much left to experience Oxford any way he chose. The assumption that the IHA are totally controlling of the Imperial Family would have been validated if he had lived in a private house at Oxford, staffed with IHA courtiers and servants and not socialised at all with his fellow students, that wasn't the case.

From Elizabeth Vinning's books another myth is debunked and that is the one that circulated when Princess Sayako was getting married. That once Imperial family princesses marry 'out' they never or rarely have contact with their parents and brothers. The Vinnings books show that's totally untrue as the princesses continued to be a part of the Sunday dinners after their marriage and they would bring along their children as well. The Imperial Family members continued to socialise with the princesses who married 'out' as they do now with Sayako.
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  #75  
Old 09-29-2007, 01:30 PM
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Very good observations, Charlotte1. Naruhito was allowed to live a (relatively) unrestricted life while studying abroad, which in my opinion for an heir/future ruler, is all to the good. I just think it's sad for Masako that she isn't allowed a little bit more freedom and leeway to explore interests that she may have, and that could be beneficial not only for her, but also the nation of Japan. I've said it before that the IHA doesn't want another "Diana Superstar" phenomenon and maybe there's an element of that that comes into play with regards to Masako. I wouldn't necessarily want to see her turned into a rock star but she could be a very very valuable asset if she was permitted a role of her own.
The pictures above at the sumo match are lovely!
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  #76  
Old 09-30-2007, 07:06 AM
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I've said it before that the IHA doesn't want another "Diana Superstar" phenomenon and maybe there's an element of that that comes into play with regards to Masako. I wouldn't necessarily want to see her turned into a rock star but she could be a very very valuable asset if she was permitted a role of her own.
There's no way a 'royal superstar' phenomenon would happen in Japan, as the Imperial Family aren't viewed that way. Mild indifference would be the best way to describe the attitude to them, tradition dictates that the Imperial Family exist and carry out their work, there is no movement to get rid of them.

The Imperial Family's role is to be in the background, it's the institution that is important not the various members. This is a cultural thing that is reflected in the Japanese workplace too. The company ( place of employment) and the success of the company is more important that the employees. The employees give their all to the company ( this was the phenomenon of the economic miracle that happened after WW2)

To stand out in Japanese society isn't seen as a good thing, that's why the Diana phenomenen would never happen with the Japanese royals. It's not "the all controlling IHA" Prince Tomohito said it publicly that the role of the Imperial Family is to be there working quietly in the background. They are not there to take the lead in public issues or to make statements or to raise awareness of anything.

The expectations that Masako would be a media superstar like Diana was pretty much driven by western media. The majority of the quite nasty criticism that is directed to Masako now from the conservative royalty watchers is that she is selfish and wants to have things her way. In other words she's not a team player, in the collective society that is Japan, an individual's needs are not more important than the collective. ( the company, the family, the school, the Imperial Family in Masako's case)
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  #77  
Old 09-30-2007, 07:44 PM
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I think we must try to read all from all sides and then allow our brain to think a personal conclusion.

Maybe there is people who writes viewing things through "rosy-glasses" and other that does it through black glasses...and genereally none of them is completely right, but only partially. So, two visions are important for people who ants to form their own idea about things and events .

I can't totaly believe Mme. de Campan book about "Marie-Antoinette intime", nor the awful things that people like Jeanne de Lamotte or other panfletist of these times assured about the poor Queen. Maturity is shown when you allows that truth is not all in a side.

That's what I think about Japan Imperial Family, Crownprincess Masako, the IHA, the birth of Prince Hisahito, etc, etc. I suppose (for assuring it could be proud and stupid) that there are not angels nor devils in this story. Maybe only persons that are trying to live the better they could, accomplishing their duties in the way they believes it is right to do so, and also people convinced of ideals and opinions in which they believes to death. No more, no less.

Vanesa.
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  #78  
Old 10-26-2007, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
It wasn't the imperial couple who wrote to the author, it was the Grand Chamberlain to the Emperor, if I remember correctly. I don't know if the text has been released.
It'definately been released. I'm 90% sure it was discussed at length/text posted in the thread about the book, but I could be having a senior moment.
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  #79  
Old 11-09-2007, 09:12 AM
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It'definately been released. I'm 90% sure it was discussed at length/text posted in the thread about the book, but I could be having a senior moment.

Elspeth, I cant find the thread about this book when I search. Can you give me the link? Thanks!
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  #80  
Old 11-19-2007, 02:53 AM
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I recommend the following books in spanish:

“Masako Owada. La princesa triste”
by Maria Pilar Queralt
Editorial Arcopress, Spain
http://www.arcopres.com/


“Masako, la mariposa atrapada”
by Martin Fritz, Yoko Kobayashi
Editorial Aguilar, Spain
http://www.aguilar.es/
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