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  #1  
Old 06-09-2006, 06:51 AM
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Protocol in the Imperial Family of Japan

Protocol. n. The formal etiquette and procedure for state and diplomatic ceremonies.

I have read many articles about CP Masako and the difficulties she is experiencing as she adjusts to life within the Imperial Family. From the articles I have read one of the main reasons cited is imperial protocols.....could anyone offer some enlightenment as what sort of protocols (rules?) exist in relation to the Imperial Family? They don't necessarily need to relate to CP Masako, I just find the concept itself interesting. Of course any insight as to how these protocols contribute to CP Masako's difficulties would be appreciated....

Are there protocols for their private lives as well as their public lives? What kind of restrictions are placed on them? I have many questions.....
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Old 06-09-2006, 07:02 AM
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Well this is what I know about some rules or I guess protocols:
-From articles they say that the Empress can't step on the Emperor's shadow (well I think this applies to all female members of the Imperial Family, not sure if they need to do this even in private or only in the public)
-male needs to always walk first with the female members walking behind them (usually Princess Masako or the Empress gets off the car first and then they need to stand aside and wait for their husbands to get off and they usually bow to them the moment their husbands alight from their cars)
-during press conferences the answers of Princess of the Empress' can't be longer than their husbands meaning that the male members should always be the one doing most of the talking (Masako was crtized during the engagement press conference for talking more than Naruhito....think it was 7 mins longer or something)
-the Imperial family members usually align themselves according to the imperial succession line when they are in functions such as the garden party (like this order-Emperor, Empress, Crown Prince, Crown Princess, Prince and Princess Akishino, Prince and Princess Hitachi and etc.....)

this is the things I remember for now....maybe I'll add on some more when I remember them
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Old 06-11-2006, 06:51 AM
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Not stepping on the emperors shadow? Interesting. Are the customs/protocol of the Imperial Family something you can buy a book on?
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Old 06-12-2006, 01:50 AM
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Here's another one..... the Imperial Family do not attend funerals of commoners, even if they are related. And the Emperor and Empress do not attend the funeral of lower-ranked Imperial Family members. Their chief chamberlain usually represents them.
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Old 06-12-2006, 05:33 AM
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So does that mean the Emperor and Empress never attend funerals? That sounds very sad...
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Old 06-12-2006, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandyy
Well this is what I know about some rules or I guess protocols:
-From articles they say that the Empress can't step on the Emperor's shadow (well I think this applies to all female members of the Imperial Family, not sure if they need to do this even in private or only in the public)
-male needs to always walk first with the female members walking behind them (usually Princess Masako or the Empress gets off the car first and then they need to stand aside and wait for their husbands to get off and they usually bow to them the moment their husbands alight from their cars)
-during press conferences the answers of Princess of the Empress' can't be longer than their husbands meaning that the male members should always be the one doing most of the talking (Masako was crtized during the engagement press conference for talking more than Naruhito....think it was 7 mins longer or something)
Thats so sad how restricted the female members of the IRF are - OMG!!! And in this day and age!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 06-12-2006, 09:10 AM
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No wonder she has had adjustment disorder. Coming from a background where a female is treated equal and now having really no voice is amazing in this day and age. Instead of trying to change Masako, maybe they should change the imperial household.
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Old 06-12-2006, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latet13
So does that mean the Emperor and Empress never attend funerals? That sounds very sad...
Yes. There were 2 deaths in the Imperial Family in the recent years. Princess Takamatsu (aunt of the emperor) and Prince Takamado (cousin of the Emperor). Both the emperor and the empress sent gifts, went to pay respects before the funeral, and sent their chief chamberlain to represent them but didn't attend the funeral.
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Old 06-13-2006, 01:02 AM
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Okay, I don't know if this true but I read somewhere that protocol says that one shouldn't be "too talkative" with foreign guests. Princess Masako was said to be chided for talking to both then Pres. Clinton (in English) and Pres. Yelstin (in Russian) when she was seated between the two at some dinner years ago. Apparently, the IHA wasn't pleased that she conversed with them in fluent English and Russian .... and that she need not even know how to speak English (there are interpreters for that); the royal family are not ambassadors and her (Masako's) job is "to smile." Can you believe that?

Imperial Family members should not voice out their preferences. For example, CP Naruhito shared that Princess Aiko loves sumo, but declined to name her favorite sumo wrestlers.

When Imperial Family members give interviews on their birthdays or before leaving on foreign trips, all questions and answers are "screened" by the IHA.

The Emperor and Empress do not attend wedding ceremonies. If I recall it right, they didn't attend the wedding of Naruhito and Masako. The couple had the rites first then reported to the Emperor and Empress, who gave their blessing. However, they attended Sayako's wedding so I guess this protocol is no longer being followed or maybe they just insisted on being able to attend as the wedding marks Sayako's transition into a commoner.... not sure.

But there are certain exemptions (meaning family members went against protocol) that I know of:
- the late Princess Takamatsu authorized the publication of her husband's diaries and the IHA, of course, was opposed to publishing such personal details. Princess Takamatsu went ahead and had them published. :)
- Prince Tomohito of Mikasa has written openly against changing the succession laws. Apparently, Imperial Family members should not give their views on that (political matters).
- CP Naruhito speaking without the IHA's "permission" on Masako's difficulties in 2004
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Old 06-13-2006, 02:45 AM
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Dear Monica17,

H.M.Empress Michiko was attend at the funeral of her father MR.Shoda 1995.


Ropura


Quote:
Originally Posted by monica17
Here's another one..... the Imperial Family do not attend funerals of commoners, even if they are related. And the Emperor and Empress do not attend the funeral of lower-ranked Imperial Family members. Their chief chamberlain usually represents them.
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Old 06-13-2006, 05:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ropura
Dear Monica17,

H.M.Empress Michiko was attend at the funeral of her father MR.Shoda 1995.


Ropura
Oh, thank you, ropura. I stand corrected then. :)
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Old 06-13-2006, 05:23 AM
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Princess Masako and her husband Naruhito also attended the funeral of her own maternal grandmother in 2004.
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Old 06-13-2006, 05:28 AM
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It sounds very much like the IHA control every aspect of the Imperial Family's life....who are these people?
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Old 06-13-2006, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latet13
It sounds very much like the IHA control every aspect of the Imperial Family's life....who are these people?
Well, the IHA is a government agency in charge of the imperial family and their role in state matters. But as far as I can gather, it also exerts influence over the private lives of the family. It has more than more than a thousand employees from gardeners, maids, ladies-in-waiting, chamberlains, doctors, to the Grand Steward (highest IHA official), etc. If I recall it right, the Imperial Family was allocated more than US$200 M (can't remember exact year, though) by the Japanese Government to run the palaces, state functions, etc., out of which very small amount goes to the family for personal expenses/allowances.

Here's more on the IHA:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_Household_Agency

http://www.kunaicho.go.jp/e15/ed15-01.html (History of the IHA)

http://www.kunaicho.go.jp/e15/ed15-02.html (Organization/Functions of the IHA)

Their webpage is http://www.kunaicho.go.jp/eindex.html
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Old 06-13-2006, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandyy
Princess Masako and her husband Naruhito also attended the funeral of her own maternal grandmother in 2004.
Thanks, mandyy! I'm glad to hear that some protocols are being changed. :)
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Old 06-14-2006, 06:47 AM
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There was an interesting article at the scotsman.com news site......it think it perhaps gives a better insight into life in the imperial family


http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=873612006
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Old 06-15-2006, 02:32 AM
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How do the Japanese people feel about all this strict protocol? I'm all for traditions but there has to be some flexibility. Masako is such an intelligent woman and I can't believe anyone would criticize her for being able to speak fluent English and Russian?! Even if the succession law does not change for whatever rubbish reason they come up with, some of the protocol should change. I don't even know why the women are even considered princesses when they're mostly ordered around and have no free reign over their lives. Even though the men also have strict rules, the women have it much worse when it comes to the IHA. And how do the people feel about the Grand Steward?! Isn't he kind of controlling all this?
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Old 06-18-2006, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monica17
Well, the IHA is a government agency in charge of the imperial family and their role in state matters. But as far as I can gather, it also exerts influence over the private lives of the family. It has more than more than a thousand employees from gardeners, maids, ladies-in-waiting, chamberlains, doctors, to the Grand Steward (highest IHA official), etc. If I recall it right, the Imperial Family was allocated more than US$200 M (can't remember exact year, though) by the Japanese Government to run the palaces, state functions, etc., out of which very small amount goes to the family for personal expenses/allowances.
I have a question when CP N becomes emperor is there no way that he could reform the IHA. Because they drastically need changing.

What a restrictive life the Imperial RF have - crazy!!!
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Old 06-18-2006, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monica17
Okay, I don't know if this true but I read somewhere that protocol says that one shouldn't be "too talkative" with foreign guests. Princess Masako was said to be chided for talking to both then Pres. Clinton (in English) and Pres. Yelstin (in Russian) when she was seated between the two at some dinner years ago. Apparently, the IHA wasn't pleased that she conversed with them in fluent English and Russian .... and that she need not even know how to speak English (there are interpreters for that); the royal family are not ambassadors and her (Masako's) job is "to smile." Can you believe that?
So they want her to be a puppet - IDIOTS!!!
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Old 06-18-2006, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amina
I have a question when CP N becomes emperor is there no way that he could reform the IHA. Because they drastically need changing.

What a restrictive life the Imperial RF have - crazy!!!
Firstly, that's your opinion and, secondly, I don't think it's your call to make - or right to criticize them. At all times, I'm sure anyone is able to leave the Imperial Family should they so wish (though, I'm sure, they'd be strongly advised against it). Also, these aren't rules made "willy nilly" by the IHA - I'm sure most of these aren't even written but come down the ages (and I mean the last 2500 years!). Much of them also form part of Japanese culture and tradition and like everywhere else in the world, some still adhere to them while the younger generations are eager to change. In any (traditional) Japanese household, I think the man is still regarded in that light. And from what I read above, the rules of protocol aren't very different to the British, for instance. Prince Phillip should really be walking about three paces (which, Im sure, is the length of her shadow) behind the queen (can't remember the exact number). The REAL problem is that people (like Princess Diana) marry into this rigid form of life they were never really exposed to and the transition is never easy.
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