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  #601  
Old 11-26-2011, 03:32 AM
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Japanese leaders urged to allow branches of imperial family headed by women
Japan's Imperial Household Agency has told the prime minister that it is "an urgent matter" for the government to consider whether a female member of the imperial family should be allowed to create a new family branch by maintaining her royal status after marrying outside the family, it has been learned.
The agency also told Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda last month it is necessary to design a system to ensure stable succession to the imperial throne, government sources said.
Article 12 of the Imperial House Law stipulates that female members of the Imperial family cannot form a family branch - they lose their royal status upon marriage, unless they marry the emperor or another member of the imperial family.
The agency is apparently proposing revisions be made to the relevant laws so female members of the Imperial family can create new branches of the family tree, according to the sources.


Let's not think bad about the Imperial Household Agency anymore, folks!
They are doing their job well, it's only the media who makes 'bad guys' of IHA.
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  #602  
Old 11-27-2011, 02:50 PM
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Hmm...It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

By allowing female members to create 'branches', does this mean that Imperial status can pass through the female line? With the exception of Belgium, this hasn't happened in European monarchies unless the female in question is directly in line for the throne.

I'd also like to see what they do about the line of succession. If Hisahito is placed ahead of Aiko, it could become confusing. If his line runs out, whose branch has seniority? Aiko's or Mako's?

I'm inclined to think that the IHA is doing this more out of necessity than progressiveness. That doesn't necessarily make them 'bad guys', though. We never know what goes on behind the scenes.
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  #603  
Old 12-02-2011, 12:02 PM
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Japan debates whether royal brides should keep titles - TODAY People - The Royals - TODAY.com
Japan's prime minister said Thursday the government should study the possibility of allowing women in the royal family to keep their imperial status after marriage. [...]
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said he intended to seek a national debate on the matter.
"From the viewpoint of stability, this is a matter of urgency," Noda said at a news conference.
Noda did not give a timeline or say how the discussion would occur.
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  #604  
Old 12-12-2011, 03:41 AM
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Divisions deepen in Japan royal court

The Australian

A rift in the world's oldest royal household has become public for the first time with reports that the crown prince and princess of Japan are "isolated within the entire imperial family".

The divisions are so sharp that Crown Princess Masako, pleading a cold, did not once visit the ailing Emperor Akihito, who turns 78 this month, as he lay for 19 days in the University of Tokyo hospital with bronchitis.

The estrangement between the emperor and the couple comes in the twilight of Akihito's reign and foreshadows profound changes in the ancient dynasty.

Long rumoured, but seldom confirmed, the troubles of the monarchy last week moved from the gossip pages of weekly magazines into the staid columns of Japan's most respected newspapers.
Supporters of the crown prince and princess, who both studied at Oxford, had hopes they would refresh the court with a modern, cosmopolitan touch - hopes that foundered on stony traditions.

Instead, Japan has endured the private anguish of itscrown princess, who has been receiving psychological care for eight years and seldom appears at royal engagements. Masako was ostracised by courtiers when she tried to break with protocol, failed to produce a male heir to the throne and then went into seclusion after a nervous collapse.

The royal couple have a daughter, Aiko, 10, who cannot accede to the Chrysanthemum throne under a rule barring women. Crown Prince Naruhito has defended his wife against criticism and this has led to an erosion of his stature in the eyes of the emperor and the rest of the family.

Instead, Prince Akishino, his younger brother, has advanced in favour as the father of the male heir to the throne, Prince Hisahito, now aged five. Hisahito's birth 12 years after his parents' last child ended parliamentary discussion of reforms to allow Aiko to succeed.

Now taboos are crumbling after the younger prince spoke publicly about the distance between the brothers.

"Unfortunately, we do not have the opportunity to interact on many occasions with the crown prince and princess," Akishino told a press conference to mark his 46th birthday.

He remarked the imperial grandchildren rarely saw each other, even though they all lived on the leafy Akasaka estate in central Tokyo. "There have only been a limited number of opportunities for our children to be together," Akishino said.

According to the Asahi Shimbun, a leading daily paper, his comments "give the impression that the crown prince and his family have become isolated within the entire imperial family".

It said the elderly emperor saw far more of little Hisahito, who is a passionate collector of insects, and joined him on expeditions in the imperial palace gardens.

"That may reflect a special bond towards Hisahito, who is the first and only grandson," the paper commented, adding:"The emperor and empress ... want to pass on the future to (Akishino's) children ... that is because they feel they can no longer depend on Masako, who rarely makes public appearances due to an 'adjustment disorder'."
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  #605  
Old 12-12-2011, 04:37 AM
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I applaud the Crown Prince for the devotion and support he has shown his wife throughout what has no doubt been a very difficult eight years for them. And the Imperial Family as a whole, of that there would be no doubt.

And I don't doubt for a moment that courtiers could be a menacing lot if they wish. I hope in due course that Naruhito orders a complete overhaul of staff and removes from positions of influence those who have treated (?) his wife ever so poorly.

No one asks to be unwell and unfortunately for many cultures throughout the world, the realities of mental health still largely remain under a cloud of ignorance and denial. Particularly where the concept of 'saving face' is so culturally embedded into the social psyche.

I hope it all works out for them in the end and above all, I hope the 'broken butterfly' can again one day be whole in mind and spirit.
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  #606  
Old 12-12-2011, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Madame Royale View Post
I applaud the Crown Prince for the devotion and support he has shown his wife throughout what has no doubt been a very difficult eight years for them. And the Imperial Family as a whole, of that there would be no doubt.
.
I don't know about that; he seems like the type who wants to have his cake and eat it! By now it seems clear that Masako will never be able to perform the duties of the Empress on anything like a consistent schedule; after nine years, let's face it, she's not going to adjust. But instead of stepping aside and talking his wife into a lifestyle where she would feel happy and flourish, his attitude is to blame everyone else. I don't admire him at all; he seems to be stubbornly insistent on maintaining his position no matter what unhappiness it causes his father, his wife, and his daughter. Sorry if this seems harsh, but someone should intervene and tell him that enough is enough.
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  #607  
Old 12-12-2011, 09:33 PM
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I don't know about that; he seems like the type who wants to have his cake and eat it! By now it seems clear that Masako will never be able to perform the duties of the Empress on anything like a consistent schedule; after nine years, let's face it, she's not going to adjust. But instead of stepping aside and talking his wife into a lifestyle where she would feel happy and flourish, his attitude is to blame everyone else. I don't admire him at all; he seems to be stubbornly insistent on maintaining his position no matter what unhappiness it causes his father, his wife, and his daughter. Sorry if this seems harsh, but someone should intervene and tell him that enough is enough.
I personally find it very endearing that a man should support his wife through what is I'm sure a very difficult disorder to live with. You don't cast someone aside who is unwell or adbicate your responsibility when you come across times that are hard to comprehend or manage. Such resolve would speak volumes about the character of the indavidual or indeed the family should (?) that be the particular approach that is widely adopted.

I'm personally not fond of his younger brother who sets out, however subtely, to publically undermine the Crown Prince by declaring the dynamics of the family unit. That in my opinion, is most disagreeable and nothing short of an attempt to further fuel public frustrations towards the CP couple. Knowing full well that a great deal of the Japanese public appreciate (expect) a united front, even though if behind closed doors that is not the case, suggests to me that Akishino is rather self serving. Ambitious, dare I suggest. That is of course my opinion and mine alone.

When the going gets tough you don't chuck in the towel and the Crown Prince's resolve is something I truly admire. Selfish? I don't believe so. A worthy heir and successor? Most definitly.
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  #608  
Old 12-13-2011, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Madame Royale View Post
...I'm personally not fond of his younger brother who sets out, however subtely, to publically undermine the Crown Prince by declaring the dynamics of the family unit.
Most likely the text for the press conference was previously granted the consent from HM the Emperor as the Head of reigning House. Since Prince Akishino was elected as reserve Imperial Representative of the Imperial Household Counsil in September 2011, I assume he had his father's consent and approval.

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... Akishino is rather self serving. Ambitious, dare I suggest. That is of course my opinion and mine alone...
You are absolutely right. That's all just speculations.
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  #609  
Old 12-13-2011, 05:51 AM
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If he indeed had the Emperor's approval to highlight the seperation of contact, then I find that rather poor on His Majesty's behalf and cannot understand why he would allow anyone to further fuel speculation that there is prehaps considerable dissension within the Imperial Family. To what benefit exactly does that serve the institution or it's popularity? If anything, it would only cause further concern or influence the community to pick a preference of character and that is a dangerous game to play.

And certainly my opinion of Akishino is one I've long held and I'm never one to speak poorly of any royal, but this indavidual does not appeal to me in the slightest. Quite the contrary!

But, I am a mere foreigner who's opinion means nothing for the survival or dignity of the Imperial Family.
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  #610  
Old 12-13-2011, 09:40 PM
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I personally find it very endearing that a man should support his wife through what is I'm sure a very difficult disorder to live with. You don't cast someone aside who is unwell or adbicate your responsibility when you come across times that are hard to comprehend or manage. Such resolve would speak volumes about the character of the indavidual or indeed the family should (?) that be the particular approach that is widely adopted.
I'm not saying Naruhito should cast her aside; I think he should put her first! Is it so unthinkable that he should take her into the private sector, where she would feel comfortable? Who knows, she might even resume her career? But no, it's all about him, and about how she is failing him! Has anyone considered that perhaps he is failing her?
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:07 PM
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I understand where you're coming from, but no I don't believe he is failing her at all. Infact, I'm sure he takes every measure to ensure that his wife is as comfortable as is possible and supports her most faithfully. It makes one wonder that should there be any family dissension, what infact the rest of Imperial Family or the IHA are like towards Masako in private.

He is evidently supporting his wife as best he can given the nature of the lives they live. It's pertinent to remember that he married, I pressume, a psychologically stable Masako and this unfortunate set of circumstances were unforseen. I don't think it's rational or quite so easy to ask, or expect, a man who is to become Emperor of Japan to abdicate his responsibilities because his wife has experienced what appears to have been a nervous breakdown. And that's the reality of it. Implementing ways to help support the Crown Princely couple and those closest to them would better serve the monarchy in the long run but somehow, from what has been printed over the years, it sounds as though the IHA have more influence than they should.

It's a matter of ensuring Masako is as comfortable as is possible and helping her to regain her sense of self strength.

The Crown Princess may still yet regain her health in years to come or, she may not. The reality about such conditions is that it can take years to achieve any real level of recovery. For some it happens in a matter of months to years and for others it could take a decade or more. The road to recovery is long and not an easy one.

I continue to maintain that the Crown Prince has shown to me that he is a man of true character and devotion.
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  #612  
Old 12-14-2011, 06:04 AM
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...I continue to maintain that the Crown Prince has shown to me that he is a man of true character and devotion.
Still I believe that neglecting and hurting the ailing father and monarch is rude and cruel.
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  #613  
Old 12-14-2011, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Madame Royale View Post
I'm personally not fond of his younger brother who sets out, however subtely, to publically undermine the Crown Prince by declaring the dynamics of the family unit. That in my opinion, is most disagreeable and nothing short of an attempt to further fuel public frustrations towards the CP couple. Knowing full well that a great deal of the Japanese public appreciate (expect) a united front, even though if behind closed doors that is not the case, suggests to me that Akishino is rather self serving. Ambitious, dare I suggest. That is of course my opinion and mine alone.
Modesty is a very likeable quality. But imo in this case it leads you a bit too far. To say that Akishino is ambitious is undeniably an opinion and, as such, subjective (as well as it would be subjective to state the contrary). But you are very far from being alone with this view. It is shared by lots of other people and has been expressed in this forum by various members many times before. Whoever would try to deny that is either willfully choosing blindness or else, not very knowledgeable concerning this matter.

I am not convinced that, this time, Akishino had his father´s backing in every point. It is true that when he criticized the crown prince in his birthday press conference in 2004, it was widely believed that he did so with the emperor´s consent. I believe that, too. But since then, many things have changed. In 2004, Akishino was but the younger son. Since then he has become the father of the heir with the prospect of following his brother on the throne if he outlives him (unless the law should be changed). As the Asahi Shimbun expresses it: “[Prince Akishino´s] comments would seem to be a reflection of his pride at being chosen to shoulder the burden of the future of the imperial line. That pride has likely been fostered by the growing public presence of his family as successors to the imperial family image.“

To put it differently, I think it possible by now that Akishino feels himself authorized to speak for the emperor even if he has not asked his father before about every single point he wants to mention, especially so during a time when the emperor is too ill for serious political conversation (which he probably was). The idea that this might be the case here first entered my mind when I read about Akishino´s idea concerning a retirement age for emperors. It is obvious that such a change would considerably heighten Akishino´s chances to ascend the throne himself because that would mean that he would not have to outlive his elder brother (a risky business, considering that Prince Mikasa is still kicking around at age 95) but he would just have to wait for his brother´s retirement age. So, while I do not think that Akishino has meant any harm to his father, I seriously doubt that he has discussed this special idea with the emperor before the conference took place. I doubt it because the emperor is imo the type of person who wants to „die with his boots on“. I am personally absolutely convinced that he abhors the very idea of retirement, not only because of what the crown prince has said about his father „cherishing his duties as emperor“, but judging from everything that I know about Akihito´s biography and personality. That does not mean that I think that, in the event of him being convinced that it would be best for his country, Akihito would not still step down, even if he detests it. He definitely has a very strong sense of duty. But, at this point, I see no reason why he should think that the nation profits in any way from his abdication.

So, I have a very hard time believing that Akishino ever spoke to his father about the retirement idea. This impression is enhanced by the fact that the birthday press conference this year „was unusual. It lasted about 90 minutes, or about double the originally scheduled time. Also, in many of his comments, Fumihito went further than the more scripted comments of the past.“ (See this Asahi Shimbun article of which the „The Australian“-article is imo but a clueless copy.) That means that Akishino may have been „improvising“ which makes it more probable that he expressed ideas in the conference that he may not have discussed before with anybody.

The second point that struck me as amazing was the fact that, concerning the possible changes of the Imperial House Law, Akishino actually said that it “would be good if the opinions of either myself or the crown prince are heard in that process.” (Especially the “either – or”-construction is very interesting. Does he want to suggest that the Diet should ask for his, Akishino´s, view on the issue, without considering that of the crown prince?) But the main point here is imo that Akishino expects to be consulted in a political matter and openly says so. In public! I cannot think of a precedent for this (if anybody here remembers one, please let me know). It is true, of course, that Prince Tomohito of Mikasa commented on the succession law, but, according to him, that had been made as a private statement that had never been meant to get public. Also, the emperor managed to somehow have his view on the issue of male succession known (without ever publicly commenting on it, though). But that was probably as it has ever been since the end of the war: officially, the tenno has nothing to do with politics, but inofficially, well, you know... I do not doubt that there were things – political things – that Emperor Akihito wanted to have an impact on and succeeded. But he knows his limits: he would not officially comment on matters of the state, nor would he publicly demand to have his views heeded because that would be against the Japanese constitution. I doubt that Akishino has asked the emperor before he told the Diet to listen to his (Akishino´s) suggestions concerning the Imperial House Law. Imo, his father would not have hesitated to tell him that this is not at all the way to do things. Btw, here I disagree with the Asahi-article: according to them, the abnormality of the statement shows that it must have been carefully discussed with the emperor and empress. But I see no reason to believe that it would have been made at all, if Akishino had sought his father´s advice. During the years, Emperor Akihito has repeatedly demonstrated that he is very aware of his constitutional role. I do not see why he should change that all of a sudden or why he should encourage his son to behave in a way that is clearly unconstitutional.

I´d like to further add that one of the reasons why I call the Australian-article “clueless” is that they make it sound as if Princess Masako had invented an illness as a mere pretext to stay away from her father-in-law whereas the Asahi Shimbun (which probably was the only source for the article) says no such thing. It just states that the planned visit “was canceled at the last minute because she came down with the cold”. I am, in fact, one of those who think that there is a serious conflict in the IF, but that would not mean that I believe without further evidence every nasty rumour that the media chooses to spread. Who knows if the crown princess did not really have a cold? After all, her daughter had been in hospital not so long ago. Just how deserving would it be to visit you ailing father-in-law while you are yourself full of germs to bombard him with?
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Old 12-14-2011, 06:44 AM
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Still I believe that neglecting and hurting the ailing father and monarch is rude and cruel
Yes, it has been stated that the Crown Princess did not visit the Emperor whilst he was unwell, but again, we do not know the state of their relationship. Yes, ideally we would like to think that when someone is unwell that they should be visited by members of their family, but there are two sides to every story.

Quote:
Crown Prince Naruhito has defended his wife against criticism and this has led to an erosion of his stature in the eyes of the emperor and the rest of the
That says much more about the Imperial Family and Emperor than it does of the Crown Prince!

ChiaraC, I enjoyed your post and found it well reasoned and clearly expressed :)

I am not, nor do I claim to be, an avid follower of the Imperial Family so I do appreciate the thoughts and perspectives of people like yourself who have taken what appears to be a closer interest than I.

Thank you.
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Old 12-16-2011, 05:29 AM
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5946 people (3300 male, 2646 female) had responded the questions on December 13th, 2011.
"I agree to establishing the succession through the female branches of Imperial family" - 34% said "yes", 64% said "no".
"I agree to returning the old Imperial branches membership" - 54% said "yes", 46% said "no".
"Japan needs to accelerate the revision of the Imperial House Law" - 50% said "yes", 50% said "no".

Full article Sankei

Imperial law revisited as family shrinks, Emperor ages | The Japan Times Online
[...]
While the prime minister did not set any deadlines, he indicated the government plans to build a framework to discuss the issue.
But it remains to be seen whether amendments to the Imperial Household Law will be possible.
In recent weeks, conservative lawmakers have expressed concerns over Noda's willingness to consider allowing female members to remain in the Imperial household, fearing that if they were to wed a commoner and bear offspring, this could potentially dilute the Imperial lineage.
Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of the Liberal Democratic Party said on Dec. 8 that there should not be a rush to decide such a delicate matter.
[...]
Traditionalists are therefore in a dilemma over whether to maintain the tradition of male-only heirs, or to change the system to secure a sustainable and stable line of successors to the crown.
Takeo Hiranuma of Tachiagare Nippon (Sunrise Party of Japan) said during a Nov. 26 meeting with conservative organizations that the Imperial household's male line of heirs should be maintained, although he did express a degree of understanding over the need to maintain a sufficient number of members in the Imperial family.
Hiranuma suggested that even if female members were allowed to remain after marrying a commoner, it would be important that they try and marry a fellow royal, even if he is from one of 11 branches of the Imperial family that were disenfranchised in October 1947 during the Occupation, to maintain the male succession.
The exclusion of the 11 branches effectively limited the family's membership to male heirs of Emperor Taisho (1879-1926).
Hiranuma has suggested that in order to maintain a system of male-only heirs, the disenfranchised families should be reinstated to boost the Imperial family's size.
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Old 12-16-2011, 06:15 AM
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Are they more worried about spreading the workload or about the succession? If it's just having enough people to do duties, a possible solution would be allowing female members to keep their titles after marriage but not to pass them on to their children. An example would be the Princess Royal in the UK, she does a lot of royal duties but her children are private citizens. If I were a female member of the Imperial Family, I would certainly prefer that than being pressured to 'try to marry a fellow Royal'.
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Old 12-16-2011, 10:18 AM
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Are they more worried about spreading the workload or about the succession? ...
The reinstatement of the 11 Imperial branches (王家) is very wise and historically fair decision.
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:21 PM
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Reinstating the Imperial branches will be an interesting development. Are they going to reinstate all of them or choose senior ones?
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:43 PM
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... Are they going to reinstate all of them or choose senior ones?
No further info yet. We'll have to wait and see.
The Japanese PM said any changes would be possible after national debates, in 4-5 years, not tomorrow.
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Old 12-16-2011, 02:36 PM
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Why does 'marrying comoners' by females reduces the imperial blood, and not when males do marry commoners? Bearing in mind, that also in Japan it's the womens womb, where any child is crawling from
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