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  #701  
Old 02-16-2012, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
Three then. And the Emperor himself is old and his health isn't too good.

That's critically few. It only takes a tragedy and a scandal - and then there were none...

In that situation, wouldn't it be acceptable that a woman stepped in from time to time? Say in case Naruhito is ill and Akishino is away on an official visit.
They do after all have plenty of female cousins, who are still Princesses.
Is it impossible to imagine that say Princess Akiko stepped in and everyone quietly overlooked the protocol and traditions?
That is theoretically possible, even under the present law. The Imperial Household Law says:
Quote:
Article 16. In case the Emperor is a minor a Regency shall be instituted. In case the Emperor is affected with a serious disease, mentally or physically, or there is a serious hindrance and unable to perform his acts in matters of state, a Regency shall be instituted by decision of the Imperial Household Council.
Article 17. The Regency shall be assumed by a member of the Imperial Family of age according to the following order:
1. The Kotaishi or Kotaison
2.
A shinnô or an ô
3.
The Empress
4.
The Empress Dowager
5. The Grand Empress Dowager
6. A naishinnô or a nyoô
In the case of No. 2 in the preceding paragraph the order of succession to the Throne shall apply, and in the case of No. 6 in the same paragraph, the order of succession to the Throne shall apply mutatus mutandis.
(Kotaishi is the crown prince if he is the son of the emperor, Kotaison is the imperial grandson who is heir apparent. Shinnô are male descendants of an emperor in the male line in the first or second generation, ô all other male descendants of an emperor in the male line. Naishinnô are female descendants of an emperor in the male line in the first or second generation, nyoô all other female descendants of an emperor in the male line.)

That means first all males would step in, after them the empress and then one of the princesses. In the present case, the next one would be Princess Mako (as Princess Aiko is still minor). (As you will notice, the consorts of the princes are not mentioned in the list, so neither Princess Masako nor Princess Kiko would be called upon to fill in for their father-in-law.)

But imo the point is that if Princess Mako really were to represent her grandfather, it would become embarrassingly obvious 1) how absurd it is that while the princess can perform the emperor´s duties (at least his public ones, I suppose that Shinto rites are still another story) she can never follow him on the throne, 2) how very few eligible heirs to the throne are left. That is why I think that they would do their utmost to avoid such a situation if they possibly can.

P.S.: In case anybody should wonder why Princess Mako and not Princess Akiko: Princess Mako has recently become of age. Actually, it has been supposed that her coming of age (as eldest grandchild of the emperor) has led to the initiative to let the princesses remain in the family. But the genealogy table has obviously not been updated as yet, otherwise we would see Mako´s picture there.
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  #702  
Old 02-20-2012, 09:08 AM
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Wishing the Emperor a quick recovery--and a lighter workload

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We would like to pray for the Emperor's recovery. In consideration of the Emperor's health and advanced age of 78, we hope the Imperial Household Agency will reduce the burden of his official duties in the future. [...] We hope the Emperor, who is also fighting against cancer, does not strain himself and concentrates on his postoperative treatment and recuperation. [...]

When concerns arise over the Emperor's health and when he needs to recuperate in the future, flexible responses may be necessary, such as having the crown prince temporarily assume the Emperor's constitutional functions and act on his behalf, or have other Imperial family members attend events to speak on behalf of the Emperor.

The Emperor is worried about the future of the Imperial family.

Nine of the 22 members of the Imperial family are aged 30 or younger. All nine, except for Prince Hisahito, are unmarried women or girls. When these females get married, they will leave the Imperial family. As a result, the number of Imperial family members will steadily decline. In the near future, serious concerns will arise over the stability of Imperial Household activities.

The government will soon start hearing the opinions of experts on the possible establishment of Imperial family branches led by female members, and a possible revision to the Imperial House Law that will enable female members of the Imperial family to remain in the family after marriage. [...] We hope these discussions will give the Emperor and the people peace of mind.
The Yomiuri Shimbun

Although any change of the Imperial Household Law would be a sensitive issue it seems that the pressure to amend it in order to allow female members to keep their status after marriage is getting stronger day by day.
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  #703  
Old 02-23-2012, 01:10 PM
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Imperial Family talking point

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The government this month starts hearing opinions from knowledgeable people on the idea of allowing female members of the Imperial Family to remain in the family even if they marry commoners and to become the heads of branches within the family. Behind the move is a fear that as long as the current Imperial Household Law remains as it is, the number of Imperial Family members will dwindle as time goes on. [...]

But if male members of the Imperial Family become very few, it will become difficult to keep the Imperial line. The Imperial Household Law stipulates that an emperor must be a son of the male Imperial line. Given the current situation of the Imperial Family, making a woman Imperial Family member serve as an emperor may become unavoidable. [...]

In the planned hearings, the main points will be whether the female heads of branches in the Imperial Family should be limited to daughters or granddaughters of the emperor and whether male commoners who marry female Imperial Family members and their children should be counted as members of the Imperial Family. The topic of succession to the Imperial throne will be avoided. A suspicion will persist that the government is shying away from discussing a possible situation in which there will be no males to succeed to the throne.
If this is not discussed, people's concerns about the Imperial Family will not be addressed, thus making it a shaky institution.
Japan Times Editorial Feb. 10, 2012
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  #704  
Old 02-23-2012, 01:19 PM
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So the wheels of change are slowly moving?

Thanks, ChiaraC
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  #705  
Old 02-23-2012, 01:44 PM
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You´re welcome.

Of course, one has to be aware that the Japan Times as an English speaking publication will always take a rather liberal stand. They bitterly complained when the plans to change the succession law were shelved after Princess Kiko´s third pregnancy became known in February 2006. (“No wonder the Crown Princess gets depressed. The spectacle of the chasm between the Imperial family and the 21st century has long been enough to depress anyone. But then, just when the princess must have thought the gap might be closing a bit, given the prime minister’s efforts to win the right of succession for the family’s female members, along comes an unexpected pregnancy to send everything back to square
one.“ ...)

But still, I share your impression. It is definitely but a compromise that, for the time being, they are not going to touch the rule of succession. But, at least, there seems to be a widespread agreement that the princesses will be allowed to stay in the family – which is NOT the solution ultratraditionalists proposed and would have preferred. (They wanted the imperial family to adopt individuals from the abolished branches who lost their imperial status after World War II.)
And once the princesses are allowed to stay in the family, the next logical step would be to grant them succession rights.
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  #706  
Old 02-25-2012, 11:16 AM
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Emperor's Surgery Highlights Scarcity of Japanese Heirs
Japanese Emperor Akihito is undergoing heart surgery today in Tokyo, casting light on rules that limit the line of succession to the world’s oldest hereditary monarchy.
[...]
Concerns over his health have prompted the government to consider altering the 1947 law for the world’s oldest hereditary monarchy that mandates only men succeed to the throne and requires princesses to give up their titles if they marry commoners. Akihito’s grandson Hisahito in 2006 became the first male born into the family in more than four decades, increasing the number of potential heirs to three.
[...]
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Dec. 1 said the government should study whether princesses should be allowed to keep their status after marriage and called for a national debate.
The matter is “of great priority in assuring the stability of the activities of the imperial family,” Noda told reporters. “We are currently considering how we should move forward.”
He has made no mention of altering the law to allow women to ascend the throne.

Royal challenge awaits Noda | The Japan Times Online
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda appears strongly committed to revising the Imperial Household Law to let female members of the Imperial family remain in the royal family even if they marry commoners. The Imperial family is the oldest royal family in the world and Chapter 1 of the Japanese Constitution is about the emperors. For Japan, to ensure stable imperial succession is an important matter.

But much doubt has been expressed about his ability to implement such a revision, which could potentially split public opinion down the middle, because he already faces a large number of urgent and sometimes controversial issues [...]
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  #707  
Old 02-26-2012, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Kasumi View Post
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Dec. 1 said the government should study whether princesses should be allowed to keep their status after marriage and called for a national debate.
The matter is “of great priority in assuring the stability of the activities of the imperial family,” Noda told reporters. “We are currently considering how we should move forward.”
He has made no mention of altering the law to allow women to ascend the throne.
If I understand correctly, the Prime Minister wants to allow females retaining their place in the Royal House upon marriage, but not allowing females to succeed? In other words, should the changes be approved Princess Aiko would remain a Princess after her marriage (unlike Sayako Kuroda), but will not be able to succeed her father.

Still, I suppose that's a step forward.
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  #708  
Old 02-26-2012, 10:26 AM
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What is the saying? "Every great journey begins with a single step."
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  #709  
Old 02-26-2012, 10:28 AM
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Indeed. With only three possible heirs according to the current law, every step is good.
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  #710  
Old 02-26-2012, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artemisia View Post
If I understand correctly, the Prime Minister wants to allow females retaining their place in the Royal House upon marriage, but not allowing females to succeed? In other words, should the changes be approved Princess Aiko would remain a Princess after her marriage (unlike Sayako Kuroda), but will not be able to succeed her father.
Yes, exactly. At present they seem to be only discussing the amendment of Articles 12 and 15 of the The Imperial Household Law.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiaraC View Post
Article 12 says:
Quote:
In case a female of the Imperial Family marries a person other than the Emperor or a member of the Imperial Family, she shall lose the status of Imperial Family member.
Articles 15 says:
Quote:
Any person outside the Imperial Family and his or her descendants shall not become a member thereof except in the cases where a female becomes Empress or marries a member of the Imperial Family.
If they change Article 12, imperial princesses will be able to retain their status after marriage, and if they change Article 15, their husbands may become imperial princes. But that does not mean that they would automatically get succession rights as long as Article 1 is not amended that says:
Quote:
The Imperial Throne of Japan shall be succeeded to by male descendants in the male line of Imperial Ancestors.
[...]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baroness of Books View Post
What is the saying? "Every great journey begins with a single step."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Furienna View Post
Indeed. With only three possible heirs according to the current law, every step is good.
I absolutely agree, especially as under the current law, Hisahito is the only eligible heir in his generation. If he should not father any children, there would not be any options
left.

But if they allow the princesses to stay in the family, they could change the succession law “at short notice” if it should become necessary. This would certainly not be an ideal solution as Princess Mako´s children may well already be teenagers when Hisahito marries and, as young adults, suddenly find themselves in line to the throne (depending, of course).
But it is still better than nothing.
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  #711  
Old 03-01-2012, 03:50 PM
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Lineage limits for those who wed; foreigners would be taboo

Imperial family talks begin / Should female members retain royal status after marriage? : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)

Keep females in Imperial clan: experts | The Japan Times Online
Female members of the Imperial family must retain their status after marriage to maintain the Emperor system, experts told a government panel Wednesday.
Journalist Soichiro Tahara and Akira Imatani, a Teikyo University professor on medieval Japanese history, were invited to give their views at the panel's first hearing. Panel members include Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tsuyoshi Saito and Itsuo Sonobe, a former Supreme Court justice who was appointed as special adviser to the Cabinet on the issue.
Both Tahara and Imatani recommended that females be allowed to stay within the Imperial family after marriage, though with limits on their lineage.
[...]
But creating female branches of the royal family raises various issues, such as how far the line would extend and what would be the status of commoner husbands.
Tahara and Imatani suggested a quasi Imperial status for such husbands, permitting them to attend official events and keep their jobs, though perhaps with some restrictions.
Tahara cited Tadateru Konoe, president of the Japanese Red Cross Society, who is married to the daughter of Prince Mikasa, the youngest brother of the late Emperor Showa. Such a job should be permitted, though one in the financial industry, for example, might not be.
[...]
During Wednesday's hearing, Tahara noted some are concerned that creating female lines will lead to heirs to the crown from the maternal side. By law, only the sons of emperors can ascend the Chrysanthemum throne.
Tahara said that in his view empresses should be allowed but the discussion of a maternal line is a different story.
[...]
The government panel will hold one or two hearings a month and hear from various experts on the issue.
While no deadline has been set, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said Wednesday that the government did not intend to "continue the meetings forever."
Tahara also said that members of the Imperial household should not be allowed to marry foreigners.[...]
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  #712  
Old 03-01-2012, 04:58 PM
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Thank you for the links and the quotes, Kasumi!
It's really interesting to read about the proposed changes; if females are allowed to retain their status upon marriage, then surely it's just a matter of time till they are also allowed to succeed to the Throne, at least in absence of direct male heirs (male primogeniture)?
Steps in the right direction, small ones, but still.
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  #713  
Old 03-01-2012, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Artemisia View Post
... if females are allowed to retain their status upon marriage, then surely it's just a matter of time till they are also allowed to succeed to the Throne, at least in absence of direct male heirs (male primogeniture)? ...
The matter of female monarchs had been discussed alot of times at several previous pages of this thread.
The female monarchs will be able to succeed the Chrysanthemum throne, thus they won't be able to pass it to their children from the commoner spouses.
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  #714  
Old 03-02-2012, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Artemisia View Post
It's really interesting to read about the proposed changes; if females are allowed to retain their status upon marriage, then surely it's just a matter of time till they are also allowed to succeed to the Throne, at least in absence of direct male heirs (male primogeniture)?
Male primogeniture in the case of Japan´s monarchy would mean that Princess Aiko would follow her father, Crown Prince Naruhito, as she has no brothers. While there are certainly many Japanese who would welcome this, one has to be aware that this might lead to fierce debates as, from the point of view of some people, Aiko´s cousin, Prince Hisahito, was "born to be emperor", so to speak. I´ll try to show what I mean.

Japan-blogger Michael Cucek once explained why he thought Shinzo Abe was the perfect Chief Cabinet Secretary for Koizumi. (Shinzo Koizumi was a very charismatic LDP prime minister. In 2004-2006, he made an attempt to change the succession law in order to enable women to ascend the chrysanthemum throne. He was already about to realize his plans when, in February 2006, it became known that Princess Kiko was six weeks pregnant. As a consequence, the plans were shelved.) Cucek said that Shinzo Abe was perfect for Koizumi because, as prime minister, Koizumi “needed someone close by who could set him straight about what a conservative--a real knee-jerk, fire-breathing conservative--felt about certain issues. Abe fit the bill, perfectly.” Cucek also gave an example for what he meant by the following story:
Quote:
A famous example of Abe's riding to Koizumi's rescue occurred in the immediate aftermath of the announcement of Princess Kiko’s pregnancy. The Diet was set to debate the proposal of opening up the throne to direct primogeniture, creating the possibility of Princess Aiko becoming a reigning empress. At the announcement of Kiko-sama's pregnancy, Abe remarked to Koizumi in a matter-of-fact way that the discussion and the legislation were now moot. Koizumi, to his eternal credit, could not grasp Abe's point. He asked Abe why the effort to revise of the imperial house law could not proceed. Abe, his brain probably bursting from incredulity, managed to explain that if the revision passed, and Kiko-sama gave birth to a boy, then many persons would scream that the Diet had stolen the throne from Kiko's son. [my bold]
So, you can be sure that any attempt to change the succession law to male primogeniture would lead to a very controversial and heated debate. The Japanese DPJ government - while probably rather in favour of such an amendment (it actually was one of their promises I think for the 2005 election to change the law and let Aiko follow her father) - shies away from such a conflict. I suppose they think that they would not have to gain anything by it, but much to lose. Political realists, you know...
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Old 03-02-2012, 08:40 AM
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The "problem" with the Japanese succession is that the same dynasty has been emperors for some two thousand years. No other monarchy in the world comes close to that. Even in the case of the few female regents of Japan, they weren't succeeded by their children (Did either of them even have children?), but by male relatives, who belonged to the right dynasty. So even if it would be possible for Aiko to become an empress regent, her children wouldn't be able to succeed her, unless their father belongs to the imperial dynasty.
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:19 AM
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Thank you for explaining, Kasumi, ChiaraC and Furienna!

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... So, you can be sure that any attempt to change the succession law to male primogeniture would lead to a very controversial and heated debate. The Japanese DPJ government - while probably rather in favour of such an amendment (it actually was one of their promises I think for the 2005 election to change the law and let Aiko follow her father) - shies away from such a conflict. I suppose they think that they would not have to gain anything by it, but much to lose. Political realists, you know...
I doubt there would be any long-term negative consequences. Prince Carl Philip of Sweden was born to be King as well (he was the Crown Prince at the time of his birth), but when Sweden adopted equal primogeniture, his elder sister Victoria became the Crown Princess instead.
A lot of people felt uneasy about it at the time, including the King. However, look at Victoria now: she is easily the most popular member of the Swedish Royal Family, hard-working, dedicated and certainly the best future Monarch Sweden could choose.

If Japan change succession to equal or male primogeniture, whereby Princess Aiko would become Crown Prince Naruhito's heir, I doubt there would be an outcry, Now, I understand this is a sensitive issue since there are certain positions only an Emperor can hold, but I doubt there isn't absolutely any way out.
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:38 AM
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While I agree that Victoria will make a great queen one day, I still don't like how Carl Philip was stripped of his crown prince title, even if he only was a baby at the time. They should rather have waited until the next generation for these changes to take effect, like they did in Norway.

About the issue of Japan, there are like I said strong historical reasons why Aiko could become tenno, but most likely not her children, so that's a tougher problem than what we have anywhere in Europe.
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:15 PM
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The "problem" with the Japanese succession is that the same dynasty has been emperors for some two thousand years. No other monarchy in the world comes close to that. Even in the case of the few female regents of Japan, they weren't succeeded by their children (Did either of them even have children?), but by male relatives, who belonged to the right dynasty. So even if it would be possible for Aiko to become an empress regent, her children wouldn't be able to succeed her, unless their father belongs to the imperial dynasty.
Japan had ten Empresses Regnant. Actually, only eight women ascended to the Throne, but two of them reigned twice. The successors of Japanese Empresses Regnant were usually selected among their closest male relatives of the imperial bloodline (sometimes, their own children). However, there was one notable exception; Empress Gemmei's successor was her daughter, Empress Gensho.

- Empress Suiko (reigned from 593 to 628).
She was the consort and half-sister of Emperor Bidatsu and did have children with him - two sons and three daughters. Her successor was Emperor Yomei who was both Suiko's and Bidatsu's brother.

- Empress Kogyoku (reigned from 642 to 645 and from 655 to 661).
She was the great-granddaughter of Emperor Bidatsu, as well as the wife and consort of Emperor Jomei (her uncle). Kogyoku and Jomei had three children: Prince Naka (later Emperor Tenji), Prince Oama (later Emperor Temmu) and Princes Hashihito (consort of Emperor Kotoku).
Because she reigned twice (first, as Empress Kogyoku from 642 to 645, then as Empress Saimei from 655 to 661), she had two successors. Her first successor was her son-in-law Kotoku (himself a descendant of Emperor Bidatsu), and the second one - her son with Emperor Bidatsu, Emperor Tenji. Another son would later become Emperor Temmu.

- Empress Jito (reigned from 686 to 697).
She was the daughter of Emperor Tenji and consort of Emperor Temmu (her uncle). She succeeded Emperor Temmu on the Throne. Her son with Temmu, Kusabake, was the crown prince and her intended successor; however, he predeceased his mother. Kusabake's son, Karu-no-o, was then named as the Empress's successor: he succeeded his grandmother as Emperor Mommu.

- Empress Gemmei (reigned from 707–715).
Empress Gemmei was the daughter of Emperor Tenji, half-sister of Empress Jito, and crown prince Kusabake’s wife (he was, incidentally, her nephew). Because Kusabake died young, their son Emperor Mommu succeeded Empress Jito. After Mommu's death in 707, his mother became the Empress Regnant. Because Mommu was her only son, Gemmei was succeeded by her sole surviving child, Empress Gensho.

- Empress Gensho (reigned from 715 to 724).
She was the daughter of Empress Gemmei and Crown Prince Kusabake, elder sister of Emperor Mommu, and granddaughter of Emperor Temmu and Empress Jito. Initially intended to be a regent for her young nephew (Mommu's son Prince Obito), she instead became a reigning Empress in her own right. Gensho had no children of her own, and so was succeeded by Obito who reigned as Emperor Shomu.

- Empress Koken (reigned from 749 to 758).
She was the daughter of Emperor Shomu, and thus the granddaughter of Emperor Mommu, and great-granddaughter of Empress Gemmei and Crown Prince Kusabake. Koken had no children and reigned twice. Her first successor was Emperor Junnin (son of Prince Toneri, himself the son of Emperor Temmu), and the second one was Emperor Konin (son of Prince Shiki, himself the son of Emperor Tenji).

- Empress Meisho (reigned from 1629 to 1643).
She was the daughter of Emperor Go-Mizunoo and became empress following the abdication of her father. She had no children and after her abdication was succeeded by her younger brother Emperor Go-Komyo.

- Empress Go-Sakuramachi (reigned from 1762 to 1770).
She was the second daughter of Emperor Sakuramachi and the elder sister of Emperor Momozono (her predecessor). Go-Sakuramachi had no son and selected her nephew and Emperor Momozono's son as her successor; he ascended to the throne as Emperor Go-Momozono.
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Old 03-02-2012, 02:22 PM
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Japan had ten Empresses Regnant. ...
Like I've mentioned before, Artemisia, this matter had been discussed dozens of times in this thread.
All the Empresses you've mentioned had never passed the throne to their own children, and were succeeded by their closest male relatives (brothers/nephews) as soon, as the male heirs come to age. The Empresses were just throne keepers, actually.
Thus there can be no parallels to any European traditions of primogeniture. The Japanese cultural and historical trditions are not the same as the European ones.
Aiko is likely to be tenno, but her offsprings will be not, unless she marries a miyake descendant.
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Old 03-02-2012, 02:37 PM
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Like I've mentioned before, Artemisia, this matter had been discussed dozens of times in this thread.
All the Empresses you've mentioned had never passed the throne to their own children, and were succeeded by their closest male relatives (brothers/nephews) as soon, as the male heirs come to age. The Empresses were just throne keepers, actually.
That is not entirely accurate.
- Empress Kogyoku was succeeded by her son, Emperor Tenji.
- Empress Gemmei was succeeded by her daughter, Empress Gensho.
- Empress Jito was succeeded by her grandson, Emperor Mommu.
- Empress Suiko reigned for 35 years until her death in 628.
- Empress Kōgyoku abdicated in favour of her brother because of the Isshi Incident but re-ascended to the Throne upon his death to reign until her own death in 661.
- Empress Koken (Shotoku) reigned until her death in 770.

Only the following Empresses relinquished the throne once the male heir was of age:
- Empress Jingu (in favour of her son, Emperor Ojin)
- Empress Jito (in favour of her grandson, Emperor Mommu)
- Empress Gensho (in favor of her nephew, Emperor Shomu).
- Empress Meisho (in favour of her brother, EmperorGo-Komyo).
- Empress Go-Sakuramachi (in favour of her nephew, Emperor Go-Momozono)


The Japanese situation is not that dissimilar to some European countries such as Poland. Because there is no title "Queen" (Queen Regnant) and the monarch was always be "King", Polish female rulers such as Jadwiga were crowned as Kings. Armenian and Georgian female Queens Regnant such as Isabella of Armenia had to share the Throne with their husbands who became their co-regnant monarchs. They were considered essentially Throne keepers as well; however, over time that changed.

I understand Japan is deeply traditional country, but to imply there is absolutely no possibility of a female succession is plain wrong. If tomorrow the Prime Minister announced change towards male or equal primogeniture, we'd probably be surprised just how quickly those unsolvable obstacles disappeared.
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