it's great to see Princess Masako again..
too bad she's not there on the princesses line up, and we cannot get better picture of her with tiara & sash..
I think Princess Masako wore a different tiara than the one she usually wears. She wore this tiara that Empress Michiko wore before. (Photo #1 below from Corbis shows the then Crown Princess Michiko wearing this tiara at a banquet reception in 1983, #2 from Verena's Royal Tiara Page)
Japan Emperor wishes for peace on earth, good health of New Year's visitors
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko offered their New Year's greetings to tens of thousands of well-wishers who visited the Imperial Palace on Monday................ http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/nation...na016000c.html
Emperor Akihito offers prayers for peace in Japan New Year celebrations
Emperor Akihito offered traditional wishes for world peace before tens of thousands of Japanese after a year in which his country has been attacked for failing to atone for its wartime past.
Accompanied by Empress Michiko and other family members, he made New Year appearances on a balcony of the Imperial Palace as crowds waved small red-and-white Japanese flags and shouted "Banzai (Long Live)."
A total of 50,200 people filed into the palace, surrounded by moats and stone walls, for the seven royal appearances.
Chilly weather and occasional rain helped reduce the attendance by 24,870 from last year, police said.
The forested city centre palace is open to the public at New Year and on the emperor's birthday.................. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stori...186348/1/.html
Emperor offers New Year's greetings to public
Emperor Akihito offered his annual New Year's greetings to well-wishers who gathered Monday at the Imperial Palace to see the royal family.
Some 50,200 people -- the smallest number since the Emperor's reign began in 1989 -- visited the palace amid rainy weather, the Imperial Household Agency said................... http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/...20060103a1.htm
A Smiling Masako Rings In The New Year
In an indication that she is recovering from the stress-related disorder that has kept her from her duties since 2003, Crown Princess Masako of Japan took part in the Imperial family's annual New Year's ceremony for the first time in three years on Sunday.......... http://www.hellomagazine.com/royalty...apaneseroyals/
FEATURE: Ex-imperial family descendant in spotlight amid succession crisis
Tsuneyasu Takeda, 30, goes to work, cooks and enjoys karaoke, a person seemingly not much different from others his age -- except that he was born to one of the 11 Japanese imperial branch families divested of royal status shortly after World War II.
In a country where the imperial family is now forbidden to interfere in politics, Takeda has attracted media attention by calling for other male descendants of the former imperial branch families to do something to deal with the looming succession crisis by considering their "responsibility" as such descendants.
No male heir has been born in the royal family for 40 years.
"Historically, imperial branch families existed as bloodline 'spares' for the imperial line when the main family was in peril. Though we are now in different circumstances, each of us should try to find out what can be done, and have the resolve to return to royal status," Takeda, great-great grandson of Emperor Meiji, said in an interview. Takeda's idea clashes with a government panel's report on imperial succession, which proposed to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Nov. 24 allowing females and their descendants to ascend the throne.............. http://asia.news.yahoo.com/060104/kyodo/d8eu4co00.html
A house divided Concubines, divorce and extended family trees - all have been suggested to avoid putting a female on the Chrysanthemum Throne, writes Deborah Cameron.
SHE is the luckiest and most cursed child in Japan. A royal heir, yet destined, by having been born a girl, to be second best. Though not yet in kindergarten, Princess Aiko, with her intent face and halo of dark hair, personifies a dynastic crisis.
Aside from the constitutional heartache she is causing Japan, her future ascent to the position of the 127th monarch has exposed a royal rift and caused a debate that will reverberate beyond the reign of her grandfather and her father.
And it is a debate Japan seems really sorry to be having.
Neither the obvious intelligence or the samurai heritage of her mother, Princess Masako, 42, nor the transparent love of her father, Crown Prince Naruhito, 45, can protect or prepare Aiko for what is ahead of her in the next 20 or 30 years.................. http://smh.com.au/news/world/a-house...387628078.html
Cover Story/Next up: Overseas critics say changes, no matter how controversial, are needed for the family's survival.
This wraps up the series on issues and topics facing the imperial family. There's one thing liberal feminists and right-wing traditionalists have to agree on these days--the imperial family is in a time of flux.
Recent government recommendations will most likely allow for women to ascend the throne, and if this happens, there's no telling what's next. Would progressive changes put the imperial family more in touch with contemporary society? Or would changing the long-held patriarchal tradition endanger the very institution?
In Japan, news sources as diametrically opposed as weekly tabloids and the notoriously tight-lipped Imperial Household Agency are consumed with feeding--or depriving--the public with the scoop on the imperial family. Elsewhere in the world, too, scholars and politicians are watching and wondering what the future holds for Japan's royal family. Allowing women to serve as emperor is far from a radical concept, says Kenneth Ruoff, assistant professor of Japanese history at Portland State University in Oregon and author of "The People's Emperor: Democracy and the Japanese Monarchy," which received The Asahi Shimbun's Osaragi Jiro Prize for Commentary in 2004...................... http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-...601070131.html
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attend the year's first academic lecture held in the ''Matsu-no-Ma'' (hall of pine) at the Imperial Palace on Jan. 10. Also attending the traditional annual event dating back to 1869 are members of the royal family, noted scholars and other dignitaries.
Jan. 12, 2006. Emperor reflects on Norway visit in New Year poem
Emperor Akihito reflected on his visit to Norway last year, which marked the 100th anniversary of the start of Japan's diplomatic relations with the country, in a poem recited at the annual New Year poetry reading held Thursday at the Imperial Palace.
This year's theme for the "waka" poems was "smile." The emperor described in the poem the time he and Empress Michiko spent in Trondheim, the old capital of Norway, in May, where they cruised a canal in a boat with Norway's Crown Princess Mette-Marit.............. http://asia.news.yahoo.com/060112/kyodo/d8f2s4igd.html
Japan's royals 'smile' but princess a no-show
Japan's Crown Princess Masako, who is suffering from stress, skipped the imperial family's traditional New Year's poetry reading ceremony.
The princess "refrained from attending after considering such things as her condition," a spokesman at the Imperial Household Agency said.
Masako, a 42-year-old former career diplomat, has mostly shunned the public eye for more than two years as she adjusts to life as part of the world's oldest monarchy amid pressure to produce a male heir to the throne................ http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060112...e_060112062353
Imperial poetry session highlights children as succession crisis looms
With a potential succession crisis facing Japan's Imperial Family, some of the poems at Thursday's annual Imperial verse reading ceremony focused on a likely theme: children.
Both Crown Prince Naruhito and his wife, Crown Princess Masako, penned "tanka" poems about their 4-year-old daughter, Princess Aiko, who could become Japan's first reigning Empress in more than two centuries under changes to be considered by the Diet this year.
Crown Prince Naruhito's brother, Prince Akishino and his wife, Princess Kiko, meanwhile, were a bit more indirect in their poems, choosing not to write about babies, but something that symbolizes them: storks.
The celebration of youth -- under this year's poetic theme of "smile" -- comes as Japan grapples with a dearth of male heirs for the ancient Chrysanthemum Throne................ http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/nation...na019000c.html
Prince and Princess Akishino wrote about the event when they released one of the five artificially bred white storks during a ceremony at a park in Toyooka city, Hyogo prefecture, 24 September 2005. Five artificially bred white storks flew into open skies from a Japanese park 24 September as part of a half-century effort to protect and return the endangered species to the wild. Princess Kiko’s poem read:
"A stork takes wings
"It circles in the arch of the sky
"We look up
"With big smile." Princess Yuriko of Mikasa wrote about her great grandson who was born in Feb. of 2005.
Theme for the New Year's Poetry Reading, 2006: EMI (SMILE)
His Majesty the Emperor
At Trondheim Cruising along the canal, From the windows Of houses are people Seen smiling and waving hands.
Note: The Seventeenth Year of Heisei marked the Hundredth Year Since the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Norway and Japan, and in May of that year, Their Majesties visited that country as State Guests.
This poem describes Their Majesties' visit to Trondheim, the old capital in the Northern part of the country, where the Kings were crowned, and tells of the time that they cruised the canal in a boat with Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mette-Marit.
Her Majesty the Empress
Exchanging smiles But soon the tears are brimming Thinking of the pain Brought to each one I see As I go through the restored city.
Note: This Seventeenth Year of Heisei, in January, Their Majesties went to visit Kobe on the tenth anniversary of the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake. They observed the state of restoration in the urban areas.
Exchanging smiles with the people she met in the streets, while sharing their happiness at the restoration, the thought of the hardships they had had to get over moved her to tears and she wrote this poem.
His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince
Soothed by the smile of our young daughter, I hope for a peaceful world for all children.
Note: His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince keeps tender watch over the growth of Princess Aiko, now a healthy four-year old.
His heart put at rest by the young Princess's smile, this poem expresses his hope that she and all the children of earth can spend their life in a world at peace.
Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess
When one in the circle laughs, so does another, and the children's laughter spreads more and more.
Note: Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Princess consider it important that Princess Aiko spends time with children her own age.
At one such gathering, while the children were amusing themselves in a play circle that had formed, one child laughed, then another and another until the whole group was laughing.
The laughter spread to the mothers who were affectionately watching their children, and this poem by Her Imperial Highness recalls the sight of this very happy scene.
TOKYO, JAPAN: Japan's Emperor Akihito (C) and Empress Michiko (R), accompanied by Crown Prince Naruhito (3rd L), Prince Akishino (2nd L) and and Prince Hitachi (L) listen to a poem reading during the New Year Imperial Poetry Reading Party at Imperial Palace in Tokyo, 12 January 2006. Crown Princess Masako, who is suffering from stress, skipped the imperial family's traditional New Year's poetry reading ceremony.
Emperor moved by Trondheim Japan's Emperor Akihito was so impressed by his visit to Trondheim that he composed a New Year's poem about the "smiling" city and on Thursday read it for all of Japan.
Japan's New Year's celebrations end each year with a poem written and read by the emperor. This year's them was 'smile'. During a ceremony at the imperial palace, the emperor's poem about Trondheim was broadcast nationally on live TV............. http://www.aftenposten.no/english/lo...cle1197251.ece
Queen vetoed her mother's Japanese prank: book
(Kyodo) _ Despite her rather formal appearance, Queen Elizabeth is known to enjoy the occasional joke and can take pleasure when formal proceedings don't exactly go to plan.
However, one potential ruse on the Japanese royal family was just too much for her, according to a new book.
It reveals the queen's mother tried to have a sword which symbolized Japan's surrender in Southeast Asia in 1945 put out on display for Crown Prince Naruhito.
He was a guest at Windsor Castle following a day out at the annual Royal Ascot horseracing event, most likely during the mid-1980s when he was studying in England.
When the queen has foreign visitors at Windsor it is customary for her to display various items of interest in the library. The book recalls that the queen's mother was insistent that the sword of surrender be put on show...................... http://asia.news.yahoo.com/060120/kyodo/d8f8hleob.html
Ugandans Can Emulate Japanese Royal Family
JAPAN should change its succession laws to let women take the throne, a government panel has advised. The Imperial Household is in crisis as there is no young male to accede to the throne.
Under existing rules, only men can succeed to the throne, but no males have been born in the family for 40 years...............Though they too are patrilineal, Ugandan royal families do not face any such pressure. The succession is well worked out, for instance, in Buganda where presently the absence of an eligible son to succeed Kabaka Mutebi would open out the throne to his brothers or nephews............... http://allafrica.com/stories/200601301122.html