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  #61  
Old 05-20-2018, 02:48 AM
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Masako wishes to inherit the sericulture tradition. The CP family visited the cocoonery on May 13th where Michiko briefed the crown princess on the work.

The Asahi article mentioned the visit at the end. I excluded that part because I already posted the visit and Masako's intentions in her thread and CP couple's current events thread.
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  #62  
Old 05-20-2018, 02:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Prisma View Post
Masako wishes to inherit the sericulture tradition. The CP family visited the cocoonery on May 13th where Michiko briefed the crown princess on the work.

The Asahi article mentioned the visit at the end. I excluded that part because I already posted the visit and Masako's intentions in her thread and CP couple's current events thread.
I read the entire article and saw the part about the visit.

It just seems to me the article implies that the empress has to step down from her roll, to make room for the new empress. Not that it was by choice. Its great Masako wishes to inherit the tradition, but I don't see the rush for her to. Surely she can learn from the empress, and when Michiko is ready to retire from farming, Masako take over the roll? Maybe I am reading too much into it, just seems like 'you are no longer empress, its no longer your job to do this'.
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  #63  
Old 06-05-2018, 01:57 AM
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2013 documentary "Imperial Sericulture of Her Majesty the Empress" in English:

In French:

The Imperial Channel on Japanese Government Internet TV includes the sericulture, Imperial activities, and 80th birthday videos in English.
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  #64  
Old 06-18-2018, 03:12 AM
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2 page article from Imperial household journalist Yamashita Shinji. Formerly with the Imperial Household Agency, where he was media liaison from 1988 to 1995. He left the IHA in 2001.

Crown Prince Naruhito: A Profile of Japan’s Next Emperor | Nippon.com
Quote:
[...] Respect and Courtesy to All

[...] When imperial family members go on school trips, local mayors ask to welcome them. Some refuse on the grounds of privacy, but Naruhito would accept these invitations, as long as they did not inconvenience other students. He well understood the local leaders’ desire to exchange greetings with him.

His friends and attendants say that since he was very young, Naruhito was always considerate of those around him. Even among the IHA staff, apart from senior officials and personal attendants, there are few people who speak with the emperor, empress, and other members of the imperial family on a regular basis. I regret that I have never attended on them, so I have not had the chance to see their daily life. However, in my many years of liaising with the media at the IHA, I did accompany family members on overseas trips.

In 1991, I went with the crown prince on official visits to Morocco and Britain. Including myself, there were five IHA employees, and I was the only one of us not directly assigned to his official residence, the Tōgū Palace in Akasaka. When the two-week tour was over, we returned to the palace at night. I was paying my greetings at the main office before returning home when his highness happened to enter the room. I think I showed gratitude in some way, to which he responded, “Yamashita-san, thank you for your efforts. Would you take a drink?”

The two of us sat in the office talking about the visits. I think he spoke to me because I was not assigned to Tōgū Palace and he probably would not meet me again for some time. I was grateful for his concern for me, a relatively low-ranking employee, when he must have been tired from jet lag and his many duties during the trip. This is just one example, but I have heard from his attendants that he always shows respect and courtesy toward others, whether they be the prime minister of the nation or ordinary members of the public.

[...]
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  #65  
Old 06-23-2018, 01:20 AM
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An excellent 3 part "Symbol of the state" series from Mainichi on Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko: supporting/cheering evacuees from Miyake Island in Shimoda and advocating for people with disabilities.

Symbol of the state: An early morning surprise for evacuees of Miyake Island - The Mainichi

Symbol of the state: Passionate advocate of people with disabilities impacted Emperor - The Mainichi

Symbol of the state: Emperor, Empress shone light on sports for disabled in Japan - The Mainichi
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  #66  
Old 06-25-2018, 12:20 PM
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Actually a 4-part series. Oops.

Symbol of the state: Emperor took Hansen's disease patients' struggles as his own - The Mainichi
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  #67  
Old 07-26-2018, 02:03 AM
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Akihito called super smart in British archival briefing paper:The Asahi Shimbun
Quote:
[...]

Emperor Akihito was described as having a "somewhat reserved exterior" that hides "an acute intelligence."

The report said he "can be animated in private by topics such as archaeology and history (in which he is interested).”

It also noted that the emperor “has been particularly assiduous in receiving and entertaining members of our royal family.”

Empress Michiko was described as "intelligent, sociable" and having "great charm."

[...] "In spite of her meek outward appearance, she is credited with having instituted considerable reform within the Imperial Household.”

[...]

The report noted that “she is also keen to reduce the tight security which surrounds the imperial family and keeps it distant from the people.”

As for Crown Prince Naruhito, the report said, “He has regularly attended functions in Tokyo organized by the Cambridge and Oxford Society and spoke at the 1989 Japan-British Society annual dinner on the subject of his Oxford research."

It went on to say that "he enjoys such occasions when he can break out a little from the strict court protocol and makes every effort to be as informal and approachable as he can.”

[...] Crown Princess Masako [...] was described as “an intelligent and determined young woman."

[...]

It added that “she is known to have strong views about the active role Japan should play in the international community." [...]
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  #68  
Old 07-26-2018, 04:23 AM
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I think that's a very accurate description.

I've seen Naruhito to European royal events, where he clearly was at ease and one big smile.

The description of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko is interesting. How, much of their public bearing, I wonder is due to Japanese social convention. I.e. to behave modest and without deliberately drawing too much attention to themselves. - In that way I think you can say their behavior is the ideal.

The info about Masako is interesting! If she has been advocating reforms it makes me wonder of that didn't lead the official at the Imperial Court to actively working against her. - Leading to her nervous break down (If indeed that is what it is, and not kind of sit-don strike.

The word "change" spreads terror among bureaucrats!
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  #69  
Old 07-26-2018, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Countessmeout View Post
Its a bit sad that she has to give it up. Is there some rule that 'only the empress can raise silk worms'? I would think even if her husband abdicates, she should be able to continue as long as she wishes. It would be good to train Masako or someone so the tradition continues but still. Maybe Masako 'officially takes over' but the empress continues quietly?? Certainly if common farmers can raise silk worms, the former empress can.

Traditional Japanese society works in different ways from ours and it is sometimes difficult for us to understand it from our western point of view.
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  #70  
Old 07-26-2018, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Countessmeout View Post
Its a bit sad that she has to give it up. Is there some rule that 'only the empress can raise silk worms'? I would think even if her husband abdicates, she should be able to continue as long as she wishes. It would be good to train Masako or someone so the tradition continues but still. Maybe Masako 'officially takes over' but the empress continues quietly?? Certainly if common farmers can raise silk worms, the former empress can.
This article also explains the situation. It's a tradition carried out by the Empresses so passed down the generations, so to speak.

https://nettv.gov-online.go.jp/eng/prg/prg3632.html
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  #71  
Old 08-12-2018, 02:37 AM
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Special TV show to air marking 3,000th broadcast of 'Imperial Family' program - The Mainichi
Quote:
[...]

The upcoming special program will look back on the history of the Imperial Family with rare footage. Because Emperor Akihito was raised away from his parents in accordance with Imperial Household customs at the time, he strongly wished to raise his own children just like those in ordinary households. The program will introduce how the Imperial Couple spent their summer holidays with their children through footage and testimony from various periods.

"We would like viewers to enjoy seeing the Imperial Family members spending their time in casual attire at retreats," said producer Motoko Hori, 53, of MBS.

There will also be a scene in which the Emperor reflects on the final days of the war and says, "I grew up not knowing a period without war," conveying his thoughts for peace. He was 3 years old when the Marco Polo Bridge Incident occurred in 1937, ushering in the Sino-Japanese War.

Another piece of footage will show Crown Prince Naruhito enjoying a pint of beer at a pub in Britain in 1986 with a friend from his days at Oxford University. According to MBS, footage of an Imperial Family member dining in private is extremely rare, and it was an "exclusive" video that the broadcaster requested to shoot on the scene.

[...]

The special program will be aired from 2 p.m. on Aug. 12 via TBS and MBS.
Preview:
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  #72  
Old 08-17-2018, 03:38 AM
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Journalist Nojima Tsuyoshi interviewed Ikeda Tadashi, "Managing director, The Kazankai Foundation; visiting professor, Ritsumeikan University. Born in 1939. Graduated from the Faculty of Law, University of Tokyo. Joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and served in posts including director general of the Asian Affairs Bureau, deputy minister, ambassador to the Netherlands, and ambassador to Brazil. Headed the Japan-Taiwan Interchange Association, Taipei Office, 20058."

Interview covers Emperor Akihito's visits to China and the Netherlands and discussed challenges of imperial visits to South Korea and Taiwan.

The Emperor's Overseas Travels: An Insider's View | Nippon.com
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  #73  
Old 08-17-2018, 04:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
I think that's a very accurate description.

I've seen Naruhito to European royal events, where he clearly was at ease and one big smile.

The description of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko is interesting. How, much of their public bearing, I wonder is due to Japanese social convention. I.e. to behave modest and without deliberately drawing too much attention to themselves. - In that way I think you can say their behavior is the ideal.

The info about Masako is interesting! If she has been advocating reforms it makes me wonder of that didn't lead the official at the Imperial Court to actively working against her. - Leading to her nervous break down (If indeed that is what it is, and not kind of sit-don strike.

The word "change" spreads terror among bureaucrats!
I got the impression that it was the empress who instituted considerable reform not the crown princess.
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  #74  
Old 10-25-2018, 02:52 AM
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Excavation begins in 1st joint survey of Japan's largest ancient tomb - The Mainichi
Quote:
The Imperial Household Agency and the municipal government of this western Japan city began excavating "Daisen Kofun," the largest ancient mounded tomb in the country, on Oct. 23.

The excavation of a roughly 500-meter-long area marks the first time the Imperial Household Agency has teamed up with an outside organization to conduct an investigation of an area believed to be the grave of ancient Japanese emperors and empresses. [...]

The Imperial Household Agency maintains that Daisen Kofun is the grave of Emperor Nintoku, who ruled in the fifth century. However, it has never been scientifically confirmed that it is indeed the ruler's final resting place.

During the survey, one Sakai curator will join the excavation and the creation of a report of the findings. A total of three, 2-meter-wide trenches will be dug across the innermost, 30-meter-wide embankment of the tomb structure's three surrounding moats. The conditions of the surviving remains and the embankment will be inspected, and the results will be used by the agency in future bank reinforcement projects.

[...]
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  #75  
Old 10-27-2018, 03:27 PM
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Personal emblems of the Imperial family

Akihito: 榮 (translation: glory)
Michiko: White birch

Naruhito: Azusa tree
Masako: Rosa rugosa (Beach rose)
Aiko: Quinquefolium azalea

Fumihito, Prince Akishino: Tsuga sieboldii (Japanese hemlock)
Kiko: Arctic Iris
Mako: Rosa banksiae
Kako: Hibiscus tiliaceus
Hisahito: Japanese umbrella pine

Masahito, Prince Hitachi: Michelia compressa
Hanako: Rhododendron

Yuriko, Princess Mikasa: Paulownia tomentosa (empress or princess tree)

Nobuko, Princess Tomohito: Peach blossom
Akiko: Snow
Yoko: Star

Hisako, Princess Takamado: Fan
Tsuguko: Hagi (bush clover)
Ayako: Kudzu (Japanese arrowroot)


Former or deceased members:
----------------------------------
Hirohito, Emperor Showa: 若竹 Wakatake (I could not find translation)
Nagako, Empress Kojun: Peach

Sayako Kuroda, Princess Nori: Water lily

Yasuhito, Prince Chichibu: Pine
Setsuko: Chrysanthemum

Nobuhito, Prince Takamatsu: Prunus mume (Plum blossom, Japanese apricot)
Kikuko: Dianthus superbus (Fringed pink)

Takahito, Prince Mikasa: 若杉 Wakasugi (I could not find translation)
Yasuko Konoe: Cinnamomum camphora
Prince Tomohito: Japanese emperor oak
Yoshihito, Prince Katsura: Katsura tree
Masako Sen: Maple
Norihito, Prince Takamado: Holly osmanthus
Noriko Senge: Orchid
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  #76  
Old 11-05-2018, 03:13 AM
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An Imperial Prince at Oxford: Naruhito’s Memoir of His Student Years | Nippon.com
Quote:
[...] In 1983, the 23-year-old Naruhito traveled alone to Britain, where he spent two years at Merton College, Oxford University. A decade later, in 1993, he published a memoir of his stay.

An English version appeared in 2006: The Thames and I: A Memoir of Two Years at Oxford. The translation, by former British Ambassador to Japan Sir Hugh Cortazzi—who recently passed away—gave readers who do not know Japanese the chance to understand the crown prince’s character. Notably, as he told me personally, Sir Hugh overcame considerable opposition from the Imperial Household Agency, which sought to block the appearance of this English edition.

[...]

One of the crown prince’s friends in the book is an American student referred to by the initial K. While Prince Naruhito was in Britain, K’s elder brother R left his teaching position at New College, Oxford University, for a job in the United States at Princeton University. When the crown prince came to the end of his period of study, he visited Princeton before returning to Japan. He met the actress Brooke Shields, who was studying there. These are all episodes in his friendship with the two brothers, but I only recently learned to my surprise that R is actually Robert P. George, who is still a Princeton professor and an authority on conservative thought.

[...] Without affectation, it depicts a young man’s growth as he opens his eyes and pricks up his ears, while enjoying long discussions and laughter with his friends. On every page of this slim volume, there are episodes to cheer the reader, who feels like an onlooker observing each of them in person. It is easy to imagine how formative those two years in Oxford described in The Thames and I were for the crown prince.
Symbol of the state: Empress Michiko's concern for the public - The Mainichi
Quote:
On March 12, 2011, the day after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami devastated a wide swath of eastern Japan, the former chair of the Japanese Nursing Association (JNA), Hiroko Minami, was in the capital city of Kochi Prefecture on the island of Shikoku, in western Japan. That was where she received a call on her cell phone. It was from Empress Michiko.

"Do you have any information where you are?" the Empress asked. "Are there any activities in particular that nurses are participating in?"

Minami, 76, a leading figure in the field of disaster nursing, and Empress Michiko have known each other for some 20 years. The Empress's desperation for any crumb of information on what was happening on the ground was palpable.

[...]

Minami was not the only person who received phone calls from Empress Michiko amid the confusion of the triple -- quake, tsunami and nuclear -- disasters.

Four days after the massive quake, Sumiki Yamamoto, 80, a member of the Japan Rheumatism Foundation board, picked up the phone to hear the Empress's voice. "Are any rheumatism patients in the disaster areas in trouble?" she asked. Empress Michiko, who had been taking part in exchanges with rheumatism patients since she was the crown princess, was worried about the possibility of drug shortages and deteriorating treatment conditions.

[...]

Around the same time, Empress Michiko was contacting experts about confirming the safety of foreigners of Japanese descent living in Japan, and receiving reports about rescue efforts from the Japanese Red Cross Society at her residence at the Imperial Palace with Emperor Akihito.

When she learned that a long-time friend, 77-year-old editor Chieko Suemori, who lived in Iwate Prefecture, was sending picture books to children in the disaster areas, the Empress began sending picture books that she owned.

[...]

The Imperial Household Agency began deliberating a visit by the couple to the three most badly hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima in northeastern Japan. But ongoing search-and-rescue efforts, combined with a nuclear crisis, made it all but impossible for the Imperial Couple to visit. While senior officials at the agency racked their brains over what to do, Empress Michiko's suggestion that they "start going where possible" turned the tide.

Based on the Empress's suggestion, the couple's vision was to start with the greater Tokyo metropolitan area, Chiba and Ibaraki prefectures, then onto the three gravely hit Tohoku region prefectures. One then senior agency official said, "We were made aware (by the Empress) that victims of the disaster were going through a tough time regardless of where they were, and it wasn't a time for us to be fixating on where the couple met with them."

[...]

On March 30, 2011, 19 days after the quake hit, the couple was at Tokyo Budokan arena in Tokyo's Adachi Ward, where evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture and elsewhere were staying. "To think how much you've gone through," the couple said to the evacuees. "You must have been so scared."

The visits continued for seven consecutive weeks, spread over seven prefectures. The Imperial Couple was able to visit the three hard-hit prefectures in the Tohoku region from late April to May.

--- An Empress always caring for others

Empress Michiko's warm, thoughtful consideration for others is evident in her words and in her actions, however small. Former JNA chair Minami says that when Mount Usu in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido erupted in 2000, the Empress, after seeing news reports, told her, "People at the evacuation center appeared to have chapped lips. Perhaps they're in need of lip balm."

When the Empress and the Emperor visited the southern Japanese prefecture of Kumamoto in May 2016, a month after a massive quake struck there, Empress Michiko appeared with a pin badge of the prefectural bear mascot Kumamon attached to her hip. It had been given to her by Kumamoto Gov. Ikuo Kabashima when she attended an event held in the prefecture three years prior. A former aide to the Empress said, "Such gestures have likely been built up since she was the crown princess."

[...]

How should the symbolic Emperor and Empress of the Heisei era engage with the people of Japan? At a press conference in May 1998, the Empress said that she believed that there was an element of intimacy in the role that was meant to be fulfilled by the Imperial Family. The former aide to the Empress pointed out, "It is precisely because the Empress is by his side that the Emperor has been full of vitality, and has been able to shrink the distance between the Imperial Family and the public."

Minami says that she once asked the Empress why she was able to empathize so much with people's pain and sadness. The Empress answered, "I have had encounters with many people, and I have been taught by the many people I have met."
Symbol of the State: Empress Michiko's honest words resonate with the people - The Mainichi
Quote:
[...]

In 2017, Empress Michiko spoke of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) winning the Nobel Peace Prize. [...] While the Japanese government, which did not adopt the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, tried to distance itself from ICAN, the Empress celebrated those who were working for peace.

[...] Still, over her roughly 30 years as the crown princess during the Showa era and her 30 years as the Empress over the Heisei era, a former close aide commented, "There must have been continuous troubles and distress."

One of these incidents was "empress bashing" that broke out in 1993, centered in the pages of weekly magazines. [...]

On her 59th birthday, the same year as the spread of the harsh fake news, Empress Michiko collapsed and had difficulties uttering a voice. In her yearly birthday commentary, she wrote a rare response to the criticism. "Whatever criticism may come my way, I think I should listen carefully as a means of personal reflection. However, I am greatly saddened and bewildered by the untruthful news reports," she wrote [...]

At the end of 1993, pianist Izumi Tateno, now 81, was invited to the Akasaka-gosho palace in Tokyo's Minato Ward, where the Imperial Couple was living at the time, for a performance. While having dinner with Emperor Akihito and the couple's only daughter Princess Nori, now Sayako Kuroda, the Emperor would read aloud notes written by the Empress to converse, bringing laughter to all those present. Surrounded by the warmth of her family, Empress Michiko was able to overcome her stress.

The Empress has never spoken of her troubles publically. However, in a video message played at an international conference for the International Board on Books for Young People held in India in 1998, she hinted at turning to reading books for solace. "Reading has taught me that everything in life is not simple at all," she said. "We all have to continue living while enduring these complications -- in our relationships between people, in relationships between countries as well."

[...]
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  #77  
Old 11-23-2018, 04:48 PM
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While looking for news last night, I discovered Yogi Beauty Salon has styled many Imperial princesses, see https://www.yogi.co.jp/about/history/

- 1952 wedding of Atsuko Ikeda, former Princess Yori (4th daughter of Emperor Hirohito)
- 1966 wedding of Yasuko Konoe, eldest daughter of Prince Mikasa
- 1980 wedding of Princess Nobuko
- 1983 wedding of Masako Sen, youngest daughter of Prince Mikasa
- 1984 wedding of Princess Hisako
- 1990 wedding of Princess Kiko
- 1993 wedding of Crown Princess Masako
- 2011 coming of age for Princess Mako
- 2014 coming of age for Princess Kako

Founder Yaeko Yogi opened her first salon in 1948 in Ginza. The salon is now run by her daughter Midori and granddaughter Ikuko and currently located on the 2nd floor of Hotel Okura Tokyo.

Yogi Salon offers beauty, kimono, and bridal services. Coming-of-age services can be booked a year in advance.
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  #78  
Old 12-05-2018, 03:06 AM
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Posting here as a state visit from the U.S. in Fall 2019 is not confirmed.

Japan mulls inviting Trump after new emperor's accession in May - The Mainichi
Quote:
The Japanese government is considering inviting U.S. President Donald Trump as a state guest after Crown Prince Naruhito's planned accession on May 1, government sources said Tuesday.

The government is trying to arrange a meeting between the new emperor and Trump, in a move that could make the U.S. president the first foreign guest to meet with him, according to the sources.

[...]

A senior Japanese government source said Trump's Japan visit will come after the new emperor's enthronement.

The U.S. leader paid a visit Japan in November last year as an official guest, rather than a state guest. His predecessor Barack Obama was invited to Japan as a state guest in April 2014.

[...]

ETA: Although Nikkei Asian Review reports possible state visit in May...

Japan suggests Trump visit twice in mid-2019 - Nikkei Asian Review
Quote:
The Japanese government is eyeing having U.S. President Donald Trump visit as a state guest next May to meet its new emperor before attending June's Group of 20 meetings in Osaka, Nikkei has learned.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has approached Trump on several occasions about a May visit [...] Trump indicated he is positively inclined toward the idea, describing it as an honor, the source said.

[...]

Visiting twice in just two months would make for an unusually rapid return for a U.S. president. Moreover, a full state reception would include a banquet at the Imperial Palace and a visit by the emperor to Trump's lodgings to bid farewell as the president leaves Tokyo. [...]

The Japanese and American governments are set to enter concrete negotiations soon. If scheduling a May visit seems difficult, Trump may attach an official visit to his June trip for the Osaka G-20.

Japan typically receives just two to three state guests per year. Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to visit Japan for the Osaka G-20, and the Chinese are said to be pushing for Xi to be received as a state guest. Some in the Japanese government have expressed concern that Washington and Beijing could be competing over who gets to meet the new emperor first.

[...] A number of world leaders have expressed a desire to meet with the incoming emperor ahead of the October [enthronement] ceremony.

[...]
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  #79  
Old 12-19-2018, 02:48 AM
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Symbol of the State: Emperor's trips to console souls of war dead symbolize Heisei era - The Mainichi
Quote:
[...] The following are the excerpts of an interview with Junichiro Shoji, fellow, the National Institute for Defense Studies

Q: You have explained the history of warfare to Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress before the Imperial Couple traveled overseas to console the spirits of the war dead. The first time you did so was on June 15 and 22, 2005, shortly before the Imperial Couple visited Saipan to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.

A: [...] I was supposed to meet Their Majesties for 30 minutes each time. However, as they asked me many questions, my meeting with the Imperial Couple surpassed an hour on both occasions.

The location for the Emperor's wartime evacuation was changed from Numazu (in the central Japan prefecture of Shizuoka) to Nikko (in the eastern Japan prefecture of Tochigi) because there was a growing danger of Numazu being attacked by U.S. submarines following the fall of Saipan. Therefore, the Emperor may have a strong impression of Saipan. [...]

Q: Their Majesties offered prayers in front of the cenotaphs for those from Okinawa and the Korean Peninsula in Saipan, although it was not initially planned, in addition to those for Japanese people and local residents.

A: In Saipan, not only Japanese and U.S. soldiers but also many civilians were killed in the war. About 80 percent of Japanese civilian victims are those from Okinawa Prefecture, and many civilian employees of Japanese forces from the Korean Peninsula also lost their lives.

The Emperor said he prayed for the repose of the souls of all involved in the battle. I feel that His Majesty thinks about all war victims and sympathizes with them regardless of their nationalities and whether they are servicemen or civilians.

Q: You visited Their Majesties' residence before they visited Peleliu, Palau, in 2015, which marked the 70th anniversary of the end of the war.

A: His Majesty was interested in the details of the battle. On Peleliu Island, few civilians were killed. Instead, Japanese and U.S. elite units had a fierce battle on the island. Peleliu is in sharp contrast with Saipan in terms of the sacrifice of civilians. Peleliu has been called a forgotten battlefield because few Japanese soldiers returned alive from the island. Their Majesties were thankful for local people who made extra efforts to clean up the cenotaphs and collect victims' remains. Peleliu now draws attention from the public because of the visit by Their Majesties, and many Japanese people now know of the island.

Q: Before leaving for the Philippines in 2016 on his last trip to console the spirits of war victims, His Majesty mentioned the Battle of Manila (February-March 1945) between Japan and the United States, which left some 100,000 people dead.

A: Since he mentioned the urban warfare that few Japanese people know in detail, I felt his determination to make the visit a culmination of his trips to console the spirits of the war dead. I took his remark as a message to the public. [...]
Symbol of the State: Emperor's visits to disaster zones helped define 'Heisei way' - The Mainichi
Quote:
[...] Makoto Iokibe, an expert in political and diplomatic history, has met the Emperor on numerous occasions to lecture on these topics, as well as on natural disasters.

The following are excerpts of an interview with Iokibe, who explained the content of a lecture he gave Emperor Akihito in July 2011, just a few months after the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. This lecture was based on the proceedings of the Reconstruction Design Council in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake, an organ of the Cabinet Secretariat which Iokibe chaired.

[...]

Q: What do you suppose the Emperor thought when he visited the disaster zone?

A: I think that, more than just a simple symbol, he feels very strongly that he has a duty to bring the Japanese people together when they have been disrupted or are unhappy. I believe that's why, when the (1991) eruption of Mount Unzen (in southern Japan's Nagasaki Prefecture) happened, he made sure to visit there and join hands with the victims. He has made similar visits since then.

When he goes to a disaster area and stands hand-in-hand with people in terrible circumstances, he is expressing his determination that people at risk of being excluded from the wider community should not be left behind. He does the same thing for people with disabilities. I think he's an active symbol.

Q: Emperor Akihito really cares about the state of recovery after a disaster.

A: Following the (January 1995) Great Hanshin Earthquake (in western Japan's Kansai region), the Emperor invited the then governor of Hyogo Prefecture Toshitami Kaihara to the Imperial Palace just about every year to hear updates on the situation. After the Kumamoto Earthquake (of April 2016), he also invited Kumamoto Gov. Ikuo Kabashima to the palace last year and this year. I was also present, and the Emperor eagerly asked questions about recovery efforts (in the disaster area). He has also asked me many questions about disasters and recovery programs when I have met him on separate occasions.

[...]
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Old 12-20-2018, 01:07 AM
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Toward a New Era: Okinawa's complicated relationship with imperial era system, the 'Showa' era - The Mainichi
Quote:
At the opening ceremony for the 32nd National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament at Hanshin Koshien Stadium in Japan's western Hyogo Prefecture, the team captain of Okinawa Prefectural Naha Senior High School, the first team from the southernmost prefecture since the end of the war, had a slip of the tongue.

During the players' pledge, captain Seijun Makishi said, "Nineteen Sixty--Showa 35, April 1," revealing a complicated relationship between the residents of Okinawa Prefecture, who were under the rule of the U.S. military at the time and used the Western calendar, and the imperial era system used in mainland Japan.

[...]

His classmate Sumiko Ito, now 76, who was cheering from high in the stands that day, said, "I was saying to a friend, 'Why do we have to go out of our way to say Showa?' When I heard him restate it, I truly felt the difference between Okinawa and the mainland."

[...]

Under U.S. occupation, American authorities would forcefully seize land from Okinawan residents to ensure space for military use, in a method referred to as "bayonets and bulldozers." Sexual assaults on Okinawan women by U.S. military personnel occurred one after the other, and the anger and desolation of residents developed into a deep longing for the Japanese mainland with the war-renouncing Constitution.

Sei Miyazato, 86, who worked for the civil "Ryukyu government" under U.S. occupation explained, "Under U.S. military rule where we had no rights, we thought we would be saved if only we returned to Japan."

[...]

In January 1968, the Ryukyu Shimpo changed the way the year was printed from the Western calendar to the Imperial era system. The Western 1968 appeared in parenthesis with Showa 43. [...]

Hiroaki Nako, 75, who was in charge of administrative negotiations with the Japanese government in the Ryukyu government said, "They must have first wanted to be 'in line with the mainland' above all else." Within the Ryukyu government, he said, there was a feeling among his co-workers that "all the other prefectures were using it."

[...]

But there were many Okinawans who felt mixed feelings toward the return of the imperial era system, which invoked Emperor Hirohito, known posthumously as Emperor Showa, and the Hinomaru flag, reminding the residents of the horrors experienced near the close of World War II. Still, to criticize Japan before Okinawa was returned was seen as taboo. [...]

However, as the return of the islands approached and it became clear that the burden of U.S. military bases on Okinawa would not be lifted, residents' sense of disappointment grew. Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato and U.S. President Richard Nixon agreed on Okinawa's return at a 1969 meeting, but it also became clear that the U.S. military presence on the islands would remain. Takamine, who joined Ryukyu Shimpo in 1970 and covered the return of Okinawa, said of the time, "It became clear that we wouldn't get a peaceful Okinawa free of military bases."

After the Sato-Nixon meeting, the Ryukyu government was bombarded with paperwork from mainland Japan about how the islands were to come under the government, how laws were to be applied and other such topics, but the wishes of the people of Okinawa were all but ignored.

A proposal containing all of Okinawa's wishes was submitted to Sato and the heads of both houses of the Diet in November 1971, but immediately before a bill related to Okinawa's return to Japan was rammed through the Diet's House of Representatives Okinawa reversion agreement special committee. On May 15, 1972 (Showa 47), Okinawa would be returned to Japan.

Miyazato, who had once seen hope among members of the Ryukyu government in Okinawa's return to Japan, had a copy of the proposal on hand. Under the printed "November, Showa 46," he had written "November 1971" in red pen. "I must have written it out of my feelings of resistance," he said.
Toward a New Era: Okinawa's struggle to accept imperial system - The Mainichi
Quote:
"We were sacrificed by the horrors of war as well as the rule of another ethnic group," the Okinawa Times, a local newspaper in Japan's southernmost prefecture, wrote in its editorial on June 8, 1979, as it criticized the Era Name Act that was enacted two days ago.

The editorial pointed out that it is "of great significance" that the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly was the only prefectural assembly in Japan that did not adopt a resolution calling for the enactment of legislation on era names. It reasoned that views are prevalent that "the responsibility for the war is rooted in the imperial system." Therefore, the editorial said it was "emotionally difficult for prefectural residents to accept the fact that era names were linked to the imperial system."

[...] Tatsuhiro Oshiro, 93, the first novelist from Okinawa to win the prestigious Akutagawa literary prize, said, "I thought it'd be necessary for Okinawa to be returned to Japan's sovereignty if U.S. extraterritorial rights over sexual assaults committed by U.S. soldiers were to be rectified under the Constitution of Japan. But we learned that that condition wouldn't be met," Oshiro said. "I now want to say, 'damn it.'"

In March 1979 before the bill of the Era Name Act cleared the Diet, a monthly magazine article revealed a fact that heightened Okinawa residents' feelings of repulsion toward the Showa era. A researcher found a declassified U.S. document showing that Emperor Showa had sent a message to the United States via an aide around 1947, asking Washington to continue occupying Okinawa. In a way, it was a calm and realistic judgment to call for the continued presence of U.S. forces as a deterrence against the Soviet Union. However, the revelation gave Okinawa residents the impression that "the ties between Us (the Emperor) and Our people" that "have always stood upon mutual trust and affection," which Emperor Showa mentioned in his imperial rescript in January 1946, were severed by the Emperor himself.

[...]

A former official of the government of the Ryukyu Islands also said, "I wondered why we had to respect the Emperor who agreed to separate Okinawa from Japan."

The Okinawa Times and the Ryukyu Shimpo, two major local newspapers, began to indicate the year of the Showa era along with the dominical year before the reversion. However, since 1979 both papers have played up the dominical year more over the indication of the year of the era.

[...]

Akio Oshiro, secretary-general of an association of people from Okinawa Prefecture living in Tokyo, said he was surprised when Emperor Akihito told him, "In the 15th century, it was the reign of King Sho Shin, wasn't it," when he first met with the Emperor in 1975. The Emperor was referring to the king of Ryukyu who was on the throne in the 15th century.

Oshiro, who has met with Emperor Akihito more than 10 times, said the Emperor "enjoys Ryuka, traditional poetry in Okinawa, and has profoundly studied the history and culture of Okinawa."

Ill feelings that lingered during the Showa era have considerably eased during the current Heisei era [...]
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