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  #721  
Old 03-02-2012, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artemisia View Post
...The Japanese situation is not that dissimilar to some European countries such as Poland.
The Poland was an arystocratic republic with King elected by szlachta. Not any similarities to Japan.
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... If tomorrow the Prime Minister announced change towards male or equal primogeniture, we'd probably be surprised just how quickly those unsolvable obstacles disappeared.
They will definitely not. Since I visit Japan often, and I can see the situation with my own eyes, I doubt it will be so -- plain -- as you suppose.
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  #722  
Old 03-02-2012, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Kasumi View Post
The Poland was an arystocratic republic with King elected by szlachta. Not any similarities to Japan.
By similarity I meant the situation with female rulers. Obviously, the system of the governments couldn't be more different. In fact, I don't think any country in the world ever had anything similar to the Japanese monarchy system, with the possible exception of Ancient Egypt.

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They will definitely not. Since I visit Japan often, and I can see the situation with my own eyes, I doubt it will be so -- plain -- as you suppose.
I suppose we have to agree to disagree.
In my opinion, there are no issues that cannot be resolved if the first - and most important - step is made.
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  #723  
Old 03-02-2012, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Artemisia View Post
...In my opinion, there are no issues that cannot be resolved if the first - and most important - step is made.
They say, when in Rome, do like Romans do. Why should Japanese copy foreign rules?
The changes which are to be made are not supposed to please Western people or Western journalists, but to preserve and secure Japanese traditions and unique Japanese monarchy.
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  #724  
Old 03-03-2012, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Artemisia View Post
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.
Wow, such a lot of historical facts! I like historical facts! And I think it is very good and important to really take a close look at them instead of repeating the same old legends and stereotypes again and again...

No doubt, every country should do as they please. But we also know that it can be a means of political propaganda to contrast native with so-called foreign views. I suppose you all know that, for example, people in the US have been accused of "unamerican views" although they and their families have been loyal US-citizens for centuries - the point just being that the people who called them "unamerican" simply disliked their opinions. (I am taking the US example because I suppose that it is most generally known. The same happened in my country in the past, and, no doubt, in many other countries.) The idea of a reigning empress is not something only Westerners sympathize with. In fact, a lot of Japanese would be in favour of a female tenno.

There are soooo many myths being repeated constantly about Japanīs imperial family although historical science has already proven them to be clearly wrong. For example, you often read in the media things like: “a dynasty that has lasted for more than two thousand years”. This – I am saying it while being aware that I will probably have to repeat it again and again - is clearly a legend. Empirical evidence indicates that the monarchy in Japan originated around the fifth century A.D.. Nevertheless, the (still) official genealogy of the imperial house claims that the first tenno, Jimmu, founded the monarchy in 660 B.C. This 660 B.C. date is very obviously made up. The authors of Japanīs first historical records, the “Kojiki” (712 A.D.) and the “Nihongi” (720 A.D.), quite simply used Chinese astrological and genealogical tables, calculating that 1260 lunar years had passed since the reign of the first (Chinese) emperors. (Imperial China was at the time the much-admired great role model of the budding Japanese monarchy.) Taking 600 A.D. as their starting point and subtracting 1260, they concluded that, to be on a par with the Chinese monarchy, the first Japanese emperor ought to have ascended the throne in 660 B.C. So, they just maintained that he had...

To put it differently: a lot of the so called historical facts about Japanīs imperial house have been made up or manipulated in order to serve political purposes. That was the case in the 7th century when Emperor Temmu ordered the writing of Japanīs first history “with its goal the enhancement of a glorious emperor-centered past” (Jerrold M. Packard), and that happened again during the Meiji restoration at the end of the 19th century. As Kenneth Ruoff wrote, “the imperial institution constructed during the Meiji era was as much a cultural and ideological invention as a political-legal system. Virtually all aspects of the monarchy were reinvented and modernized. New imperial “traditions” or practices “which seek to inculcate certain values and norms of behaviour by repetition, which automatically implies continuity with the past,” were invented, and old traditions manipulated to suit the modern age.” (The Peopleīs Emperor, page 20)

What is worse, this tendency to believe and maintain whatever seems useful or desirable, is not a matter belonging to the past. Conservative politicians like former trade minister Takeo Hiranuma assert even today that Japanīs mythical first emperor, Jimmu, began his reign 2,672 years ago although, as I already stated, this is a legend, and, what is more, a legend that cannot under any circumstances be true. (For more concerning Japanīs invented traditions and the dislike of the IHA for scientific historical research please see this blog.)
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  #725  
Old 03-03-2012, 08:18 AM
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That means we should be rather cautious when we face an “ancient tradition” that is presented to us in order to justify a solid present-day political agenda.
In fact, there are several historians who contend that the “stop gap” theory concerning Japanīs female tennos does not hold up against the historical facts. (The “stop gap” or “intermediary” theory claims that women only came to ascend the Japanese throne when no male heir could be found or was still minor, which would mean that female tennos only served as a sort of “fill in” for some time until a male heir became of age.)

E. Patricia Tsurumi, Professor emerita of History at the University of Victoria, argues that the intermediary theory does not explain, for example, Empress Gemmeiīs transfer of the throne to her daughter, Empress Gensho. When Gemmei abdicated, Crown Prince Obito was, at seventeen, certainly old enough to succeed. Still, Gemmei obviously preferred “her own beautiful, able and energetic daughter of thirty-six years” over Obito as the next monarch. Tsurumi also takes a look at the other reigns of Japanīs six early empresses and comes to the conclusion that “the intermediary theory fits only the case of Kyogoku Saimei perfectly. [Empress Kōgyoku (594–661) reigned a second time as Empress Saimei.] All other fits are imperfect at best, and sometimes they are impossible.“

Hitomi Tonomura, a historian of the premodern period who teaches at the University of Michigan notes that the position of Japanīs ruling empresses “has been misconceived in modern times since the Imperial Household Law of 1889 disqualified women from the throne“. Tonomura reports that “the term excluding women from the imperial office was introduced in the 1889 Imperial Household Law, as Japan sought to reconstitute itself in the West-dominated world order. Thus, the term was less a product of Japanese history than a modern invention that required justification. Historically, eight female emperors occupied ten reigns. Therefore, the adoption of the exclusionary term involved a fierce debate ranging over numerous perspectives and interpretations.” During this debate, Meiji time “modernizers” who wanted to make it impossible for women to henceforth ascend the throne, argued that the Japanese tradition of women rulers had not been very relevant as these empresses had served – according to them – as mere stop gap rulers and had not passed the throne on to their children. On the other hand, Meiji time traditionalists who wanted to keep the tradition of female monarchs, contended that “excluding women from imperial rule not only went against the classical basis of the country, but also greatly injured people’s kokoro (hearts).”

We know that the Meiji time “modernizers” won the day not only insofar as presently, women are in Japan not allowed to ascend the throne but also in that nowadays nearly everybody shares their interpretation concerning the insignificance of Japanīs female tennos. Actually, although it is sometimes claimed today that the problem of conservatives is with a female line, not with a female tenno, it is obvious that there is something wrong in this picture: under the current law it is not only Aikoīs children who will be kept away from the throne, it is Aiko herself.

Professor Tonomura clearly criticizes the attempt to downplay the importance of the historical role of Japanīs eight reigning empresses by asserting that they had been mere “stop-gap” rulers who abdicated once a suitable male heir came of age, because, as she expresses it, “this one-dimensional characterization does not hold up against the evidence”. She states that male candidates were available in most cases when female emperors took office. For example, Suiko, the first of the six ancient female emperors, was enthroned in 592 at 39 years of age. Her nephew, Prince Umayado (later called Shotoku), was 18 when she ascended the throne, a male mature candidate of imperial descent. As Tonomura states: “If gender was the primary factor in the selection of an emperor, the choice of Suiko makes no sense.” Suiko never abdicated (as later Japanese tennos often used to do) and died at the age of 75, after reigning for 36 years.

On the other hand, Tonomura notes that while there were often male heirs available when women took the throne, it also happened in later centuries that at times when there actually was a dearth of male heirs and the installation of an “intermediary” figure would have been useful, no woman was put on the throne. Tonomura explains this on the basis of the social changes that took place in the 7th and 8th centuries. The period of the six early female rulers, “170 years during which women frequently took the helm,” was “the monumental period of Japan’s state-building.” Each reign, whether male or female, “resulted from complex power relations among the members of the imperial and ministerial families.” Royal qualifications “derived just as much from the mother as from the father, and there was no established rule of patrilineal succession before the end of the eighth century.” This reflected the ways of Japanīs contemporary elites, among whom bilateral descent was also the custom at the time.

But after that period, from 770 until 1630, no woman ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne. Tonomura attributes the dearth of female emperors after 770 to “a larger rhythm of social transformation—the diminishment of women’s level of economic and familial independence between 592 and 770. Women became absorbed into male-centered systems of residency, economy, and politics, and ceased to live in their own quarters. Society gradually moved from bilateral descent toward patrilineal descent.” That means that the imperial institution and its rules kept reflecting the changing customs of the society of which it was a part. Female rule “ended as society moved toward increasingly male-centered structures and values, which female emperors themselves had helped to institute.”

If Tonomura is right – and I, for one, find her argumentation very convincing – we could say that, in the past, the Japanese monarchy adjusted to the times and reflected social changes by increasingly insisting on the monarch to be male. But if that is so, it would obviously not break the tradition but rather carry it on if the monarchy in the 21st century also chose to reflect the social changes that have taken place and allow a woman on the throne.

Once more.
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  #726  
Old 03-03-2012, 08:32 AM
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Excellent posts, ChiaraC!
I learn a lot of new facts from your posts.
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  #727  
Old 03-03-2012, 10:17 AM
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Thank you very much!
For some reason that I can hardly explain I find it important that people get a chance to know the actual facts in this case (including myself, of course, I am always eager to learn more ).

So I am very glad to hear that you like my posts.
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  #728  
Old 04-04-2012, 06:30 AM
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Limits eyed for female Imperial branches

Quote:
The government is considering denying Imperial status to children born in family branches that would be created by female Imperial members in the future, several political sources said Tuesday. The move is apparently aimed at fending off criticism that the envisaged creation of female family branches could lead to the acceptance of female or female-line emperors, according to the sources. [...] The government is carefully weighing who should be allowed to create new branches — whether it should be limited only to the three granddaughters of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, officials said.
Japan Times

Quote:
While the government is seeking to revise the Imperial House Law to lessen the official duties performed by the Emperor by allowing princesses to retain their royal status after marriage to commoners, the revisions will apparently be minimal in order to separate the issue from Imperial succession.

Article 44 of the former Imperial House Law legislated during the Meiji era stipulated that female Imperial Family members, even after they married commoners, could retain their titles of "princesses" and "queens" under special permission of the Emperor. By referring to the Meiji-era law, some supported the idea of allowing female Imperial Family members to retain their "princess" titles and continue Imperial Household activities even after they marry commoners and give up their royal status, in which case their husbands would not need to become members of the Imperial Family. [...]

The government will also debate whether it is possible to reinstate Sayako Kuroda, 42, the daughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, who married a commoner in 2005, as a princess, the sources said. [...] At issue are several points including whether to allow female Imperial Family members to retain their royal status even after marriage; if they are allowed to retain their royal status, whether they are allowed to create their own Imperial Family branches; whether they will receive money from Imperial Family expense funds even after marriage; what status and titles will be given to their husbands; and whether these initiatives would be applied to princesses who are within a third or more degree of kinship from the Emperor.

During a House of Councillors Budget Committee session on March 12, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda stated that prudence must be exercised in revising the Imperial House Law, saying, "We must take into consideration the historical importance of the Emperors' male line having been retained for 125 generations." As to the declining number of Imperial Family members, the prime minister said, "The issue should be focused on stabilizing Imperial Household activities while reducing the burden of official duties by the Emperor and the Empress. It's not an issue that will linger on but may be an emergency one."
Mainichi

I am really surprised that they would consider to let former Princess Sayako get her title back. Of course, it would be a very good solution from a practical point of view - she has proven that she knows how to represent her country and she does not have children, so those who abhor the very idea of a female line need not worry. But once they begin to reinstall people, it is not clear where they will stop. I mean if they allow Sayako to again be a princess, would not it be only fair to also give Akihitoīs sisters their status back?

Besides, one has to say, as far as talking nonsense is concerned, Noda really succeeded in making the most of this occasion. 125 generations of emperors is a legend, and a legend that cannot possibly be true. This is like as if the president of the US stated in an official speech that the earth is flat because that is what the bible says. Fortunately, that would not happen. But in Japan it is reality and nobody even comments on it. I am not sure if that is comical or rather scary.

Second, I really do not understand how Noda can say that it's "not an issue that will linger on". To the contrary. If they do not give royal status to the children of the princesses, they are sure to have the same problem (too few imperial family members) again in the next generation, unless Hisahito fathers a dozen children. Considering the fact that nobody in the imperial family has produced more than three children in the last two generations, that does not seem very probable.
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  #729  
Old 04-04-2012, 12:22 PM
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Thanks for the updates!
I doubt that Emperor Akihito's sisters and Mrs. Kuroda will get their titles back. Current Imperial Princesses are likely to keep theirs.
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:39 PM
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Indeed, thanks for the update, ChiaraC.
While I agree wtih Al_bina that the Emperor's sisters are highly unlikely to get their titles back, Sayako is a different matter; she was very popular with the people and her marriage (and loss of title) were fairly recent, so there might be changes.
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  #731  
Old 04-04-2012, 02:18 PM
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Youīre welcome!

I would never have thought that they would even consider to give former Princess Sayako her status back, because of the formal difficulties of the matter. If they want the present imperial princesses to keep their status, they just have to change the relevant articles of the Imperial House Law, and thatīs it. But for Mrs Kuroda they would have to make a new law or add an article that says that former princesses can get their status back – which, obviously, would apply also to the emperorīs sisters. It would be a bit weird to exclude them by saying that this new article would only be valid for imperial princesses born after 1965, or something of the sort. It would be like making a law or changing a law for but one individual, a “Law Princess Nori”, so to speak. Normally, you do not do that.

On the other hand, now they have mentioned it, I do not think it is impossible. Lately, many statements concerning the change of the Imperial House Law underline the necessity to act fast in order to reduce the emperorīs workload. Imo, it is possible that it is not only his workload they have in mind. An aide to the emperor recently said something to the effect that he felt responsible for the fact that the whole problem had not been solved already in 2006 when there was the opportunity. I think it is absolutely possible that it is this what the emperor feels and that he is deeply worried that this problem might still be unsolved when he passes away. I have the impression that there are people who press behind the scenes for the changes to be made fast, in order to give the emperor peace of mind. And while they are at it, they may also think that he might feel even better if Mrs Kuroda would get her imperial status back. It is no secret how close the emperor and empress are to their only daughter.
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  #732  
Old 04-04-2012, 02:37 PM
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I see that the Mainichi article is already expired. That it is a pity because it gives many details. Here is a cache copy. Probably wonīt work for very long, but still.
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  #733  
Old 04-06-2012, 11:29 AM
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2 more experts back princesses creating imperial family branches

Here is another Mainichi article about the latest hearing that gives more details concerning who said what.
Quote:
Masayuki Yamauchi, professor of international affairs at the University of Tokyo's graduate school, also said the return to the imperial family of Sayako Kuroda, the emperor's 42-year-old daughter who became a commoner after marrying a man outside the imperial family, should be considered. In the public hearing at the prime minister's office, Makoto Oishi, professor of constitutional law at Kyoto University's graduate school, was also interviewed on the matter and expressed his endorsement to princesses establishing their own branches. [...]

Yamauchi said the eligibility should be limited because of financial burden and the need to gain public understanding. [...] Yamauchi referred to the possibility Prince Hisahito may take the throne in the future as the only eligible male of his generation. "Support by female imperial family branches can avoid" such isolation, Yamauchi said.

Oishi called for an early revision of the Imperial Household Law, saying that the number of imperial family members will decline under the current law and impede imperial activities. He also urged reviewing the emperor's official duties in light of the heart bypass surgery he had in February. [...]

The third hearing is slated for April 10, where journalist Yoshiko Sakurai, known for her cautious stance on creating female imperial branches, is expected to speak.
To say that Yoshiko Sakurai is "known for her cautious stance on creating female imperial branches" is clearly an euphemism. (Like Emperor Hirohito said in summer 1945: "The war has developed not necessarily to Japanīs advantage."...)
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  #734  
Old 04-06-2012, 12:02 PM
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On April 10th, the opinions from Ms. Yoshiko Sakurai, a journalist, and Dr. Akira Momochi, Professor at Nihon University, will be heard. It is clear in advance what they are going to say.

Ms. Yoshiko Sakurai is a well-known journalist and social critic in Japan, especially famous for her rightwing and sometimes ultra-nationalistic stance. She maintains that the Nanking massacre has never taken place and that the so-called “comfort women” (who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II) were “not taken by force”. (Maybe Ms Sakurai thinks that non-Japanese women like it that way...)

Needless to say that she is a fanatic supporter of the male bloodline. In February 2006, it was she who gave Prince Tomohito a platform to make his opinions (against a reigning empress and a female line) as public as possible: The Bungei Shunju article, titled ''Weight of the emperor's blood -- why I am opposed to a female-line emperor,'' is set in the format of a dialogue between the prince and Sakurai. Sakurai contends that “Imperial Female Family Branches Could Cause Troubles” and propagates “the introduction of a system allowing former imperial family members in the male line to be adopted into imperial family branches including those of the late Princes Chichibu and Takamatsu, brothers of the late Emperor Hirohito, which have been lost in the absence of any child adoption system for the imperial family”. (Source)

Professor Momochi, in his turn, has once said, "The Emperor possesses a divine existence, a sacred existence." Momochi was part of the minority that opposed Koizumiīs planned amendment of the Imperial House Law even before Princess Kikoīs pregnancy became known and proposed after Hisahitoīs birth to bring “more distant male royals into the imperial line” as (as he justly said) one heir would not be enough to ensure a stable succession. (Source) So both of them, Sakurai as well as Momochi, will in all probability recommend to allow the imperial family to adopt men from the former imperial branches and to let the princesses become commoners upon marriage.

The next hearing after that will take place on April 23th, then Dr. Hidehiko Kasahara, Professor at Keio University, and Dr. Shinichi Ichimura, Professor Emeritus of Kyoto University, will give their opinions. Ichimura is a distinguished Japanese economist, born 1925, who has written extensively on the development of the political economies of Japan and other Asian nations. As far as I could find out, he has never offered any opinion on the imperial family. (I suppose they ask him because of his venerable age.) Kasahara was among the supporters of a reigning empress before Hisahitoīs birth. Even in April 2006, he still contended that a reform would be needed. He said, “Even if the princess [Kiko] gives birth to a boy, who would be eligible to take the throne, there is no guarantee that there will continue to be eligible male successors in the future. The law should be revised to allow female succession.” At present, Kasahara opines that “There is no need for the question of the imperial succession to enter the picture at this time.” and that “Revision of the Imperial House Law should focus on ensuring the continuation of the imperial family by keeping its membership from dwindling.” In order to reach that goal he obviously thinks that it would be best to allow female-headed branches and “to include a proviso that these branches would retain royal status for one generation only and would confer no right of succession to the throne to the women who head them”. (Source)

What strikes me as amazing is the sudden haste: in February and March there was but one hearing each month, at the very end of each month, to be precise. Now two hearings are scheduled for April. I wonder if they are trying to get this done before the emperor gets worse. And I find it depressing that even “progressive” experts like Kasahara propose to establish the female branches for just one generation. As I have said before, that would not help matters at all.

As it is, Hisahitoīs position is difficult enough already, poor guy. He will have to find an acceptable wife whom he can love when every girl in her right mind will be prone to answer: “You are really a nice guy, but I know the lives of your aunt and grandmother. Thanks, but no thanks, I am not THAT crazy.” It is to be supposed that it will take him quite some time to find a partner, and during all that time he will be under HUGE pressure. Next, heīll have to produce a son as quickly as possible. Again, HUGE pressure. If they expect him, on top of that, to produce so many children as to guarantee that all the imperial engagements will be taken care of (which would mean, at the very least 4 or 5, better 7 or 8), I would not be surprised to find him saying at one point (once he will have come to understand whatīs going on): “Find another idiot to do this job! As far as I am concerned, I prefer to become a world-famous expert on Asian tiger mosquitoes, thank you very much.”

I mean, if you are looking for applicants for a demanding job, you have to offer them SOME incentives and not make it even more difficult for them than absolutely
necessary.
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  #735  
Old 04-06-2012, 12:38 PM
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This sounds like great news, the imperial family does have more females to males.
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Old 04-06-2012, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiaraC View Post
Here is another Mainichi article about the latest hearing that gives more details concerning who said what. To say that Yoshiko Sakurai is "known for her cautious stance on creating female imperial branches" is clearly an euphemism. (Like Emperor Hirohito said in summer 1945: "The war has developed not necessarily to Japanīs advantage."...)
That's the understatement of the century. - Didn't know that quote, thanks Chiara.

The two articles you refer to are indeed worth noting.

Not because the opinion of a fanatical nutcase like Yoshiko Sakurai is that important. (She's comparable to the author of Die Auschwitz Lüge! - In complete denial. Show me an ultranationalist, who don't deny but instead rationalise about what went on and I'll start to get scared)!
Not even because a professor talks about the subject.
No, what interest me is that a genuine debate seems to have started. Albeit not involving the general public - yet.
It may be only a matter of time, before the mainstream media picks that up?

As for males taking precedence and females not being allowed to become heir, even if a woman is made emperor. I wouldn't be that concerned.
It will be perhaps 30 years before the current Crown Prince dies, probably longer. That's plenty of time for the public to get used to having a crown princess around.
And is she does a good job as first crown princess then empress, and why shouldn't she, who among th politicians and the general public will stand up and say in 50 years from now: "Sorry, your bloodline is out, because you are a woman".
No, I believe once the first female is in position as heir, time will work for equal rights.
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Old 04-06-2012, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
That's the understatement of the century. - Didn't know that quote, thanks Chiara.
Glad to introduce you to it! It is often quoted as a humorous example of understatement although I am not sure that it sounds in the original language as absurd as it does in English. Kerim Friedman remarked, “Having read a little Japanese sociolinguistics, I know that Japanese discourse can often sound very indirect to English speakers, even though Japanese speakers would not necessarily hear it that way.” (Source)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
The two articles you refer to are indeed worth noting.

Not because the opinion of a fanatical nutcase like Yoshiko Sakurai is that important. (She's comparable to the author of Die Auschwitz Lüge! - In complete denial. Show me an ultranationalist, who don't deny but instead rationalise about what went on and I'll start to get scared)!
Then youīll probably never get scared... I have never found anybody defending the very worst things, like Auschwitz for example. They always say it did not happen. But I think for the victims that is just as bad. “A Nanking survivor - who was eight when she saw seven family members murdered and heard her mother and sister being raped and then killed - sued two Japanese authors and their publisher for allegedly distorting the truth about the event. Hiding under a quilt, she had been stabbed three times. She bore witness at the war crimes tribunal in 1945. And yet one of the writers, a professor, said in an interview that there was ‘no record’ proving the massacre had taken place.” (Source)
Just imagine how that poor woman must have felt.

But overall, I am not that worried about someone having Sakuraiīs weird opinions and not about her voicing them in public. It is regrettable but it happens all the time and everywhere. What does concern me, however, is the fact that a person like her would be interviewed as an expert and asked to counsel the government on an important political matter. I am convinced that this would not happen in my country, nor in many other democratic countries, and I am very grateful for that.

Neither do I share your optimism concerning the start of a serious and open debate, sadly. It seems to me that all this has taken place before. Like in 2004-2006, I get the impression that there is sort of an ritualized exchange of arguments, then there is some hope for a change and in the end, the leading politicians are too afraid of what people like Sakurai will think, and nothing happens.

The only point that might incite some optimism is that traditionalists seem to be so very afraid of female-headed branches , that they insist on allowing them but for one generation. As if their mere existence - even without succession rights - would be bound to finally lead to a reigning empress or a female-line emperor. But, frankly, I am not sure that they are right.
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Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
As for males taking precedence and females not being allowed to become heir, even if a woman is made emperor. I wouldn't be that concerned.

It will be perhaps 30 years before the current Crown Prince dies, probably longer. That's plenty of time for the public to get used to having a crown princess around.
And is she does a good job as first crown princess then empress, and why shouldn't she, who among th politicians and the general public will stand up and say in 50 years from now: "Sorry, your bloodline is out, because you are a woman".
No, I believe once the first female is in position as heir, time will work for equal rights.
I know it is puzzling that traditionalists keep saying that they do not mind a female tenno, just a female-line tenno, that they do not mind Aiko as empress, just her children inheriting after her. But, as a matter of fact, under the present law, Aiko will not become crown princess once her father ascends. If the succession line is not changed (and presently everybody who comments on that matter in Japan swears that they do not have the intention to do so), Aiko will never get the chance to prove herself as empress.
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  #738  
Old 04-12-2012, 12:25 PM
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Conservative experts slam female Imperial branches

Like I predicted, the ultraconservative experts who were interviewed at the latest hearing that took place on 10 April, spoke out against female-headed branches.
Quote:
Female Imperial family members should not be allowed to retain their royal status upon marriage, conservative experts told a government panel Tuesday, saying such a system could eventually break the centuries-long paternal lineage of Imperial blood.

Journalist Yoshiko Sakurai and Nihon University law professor Akira Momochi both expressed strong concern over recent discussions to allow Imperial family members to create their own family branches while retaining Imperial status. [...] "Establishing a female branch is based on the assumption that the women would marry commoners and that could lead to a maternal-line system," the journalist said.

To answer such concerns, the government is currently considering limiting female branches to only one generation — meaning that the children born into the family would be commoners.

But both Sakurai and Momochi pointed out that such families could fall apart, with children having the last names of their fathers while their parents have none. Furthermore, only the children would have a family registry, as all Japanese citizens do, but members of the Imperial family would not be included. "To separate the parents and children is impossible. And to begin with, it is unfortunate for both the parents and the children to separate their social status and treat them differently," Sakurai said.
Japan Times

Quote:
Two experts on Tuesday told a government hearing that they opposed the idea of enabling princesses to establish their own imperial family branches after marriage to commoners.Arguing that the idea will lead to female-line emperors who do not have an emperor on the father's side, journalist Yoshiko Sakurai and Nihon University professor of law Akira Momochi nevertheless said princesses should be allowed to retain their imperial titles to participate in imperial activities even after becoming commoners.

It was the first time that views opposing the creation of female imperial branches were expressed during the recently begun government hearings on the feasibility of establishing female branches of the family. In two earlier meetings, four other experts backed the idea of such family branches. [...]

To retain the male line of emperors, the two suggested revising the Imperial Household Law so that male descendants of former imperial families which renounced their royal status in 1947 be allowed to return to the imperial family as adoptees.
Mainichi

Japanese Journalist Weighs in on the Princess Problem

Quote:
Should Japan’s royal women be able to stay in the imperial family even if they marry outsiders? One of Japan’s most well-known, and controversial, female journalists says “no.” At a government hearing on Tuesday, Yoshiko Sakurai, a journalist known for her nationalistic comments about World War II, opposed a proposal to reverse the country’s current Imperial House Law, which boots princesses from the royal family if they marry commoners. [...]

Tuesday’s hearing was the third in a series that started in January, when Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura announced the government would be reopening the issue when the aim of re-drafting the Imperial House Law. Mr. Fujimura made clear, however, that the issue of allowing a woman to take the throne would not be discussed.

Ms. Sakurai, who heads the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals, said that “reform of the Imperial House Law is inevitable,” but warned against amendments that could cause “a qualitative change to the system.” In her view, the tradition of preserving the royal lineage through the male bloodline must be defended at any cost. That tradition could be endangered if offspring from non-imperial men were brought into the royal family, she said.

Instead, Ms. Sakurai suggested that the government recognize distant patrilineal relatives as royals. After World War II, she explained, 11 branches of the royal family were stripped of their titles. Four should be reinstated, she said. “There were too many, so they were cut back. Now we’re in the complete opposite position, why can’t we take the opposite measure?” she asked.
The Wall Street Journal
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  #739  
Old 04-12-2012, 12:36 PM
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What was the situation before the American imposed post WWII constitution? When an Imperial Princess married into the Japanese nobility did she lose her status as an Imperial Princess and member of the Imperial Family? I realize there was not a shortage of male heirs at the time but did princesses have any remote succession rights at that time?

Also would the above quoted journalists views be considered very conservative even in a conservative society like Japan?
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:45 PM
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Thanks, ChiaraC.

Why are anyone even listening to what an ultranationalist is saying?

I thought the experience of ultra nationalism was enough for most Japanese to say: "Go take a hike"!

Anyway, our firend Sakurai says that female bloodlines (genes) are inferior.

That you can strip people of their royal status and make them royals again on a whim, basically saying: "We can't use you, you are no longer royal. - Well, we need you so are royal again, - especially if you do, what we tell you to. - Sorry, too many daughters and stuff, can't use you".
I find the proposal of demoting and reinstating royals pretty disturbing!
The consequences, to put it mildly, can be... interesting.
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