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  #741  
Old 04-12-2012, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by NGalitzine View Post
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?
First one has to say that, before the US occupation, there had been a big change in the Meiji era. During the Meiji Restoration (1868), the Japanese monarchy remodeled their succession law after that of Prussia which meant that, from then on, women had no succession rights, neither for themselves, nor for their children. (However, their loss of status upon marriage was not as radical as it is today as they would usually wed an imperial prince from a collateral branch or at least someone from the nobility.) Before that, there was no fixed succession law. The principle of patrilinearity had been observed at least since the 8th century. Even before that there is no evidence that there was ever an emperor who did not have an emperor on his paternal side but maybe this was hardly surprising at a time when emperors used to marry their half-sisters or cousins. In most cases a candidate who did not have an emperor on his mother´s as well as on his father´s side did probably not have much of a chance to succeed anyway, in those early times. Before the Meiji restoration there was no rule concerning the elder son necessarily having priority, so the status and descent of the mother mattered a lot, even after the 8th century.

As you probably know, there have been reigning empresses in Japan´s history, for the social and historical background of that phenomenon I´d like to refer you to the part "Japan´s reigning empresses" of this article.

Incidentally, one tends to assume that "there was not a shortage of male heirs at the time" because of the many concubines. For the earlier times that is true but, in fact, for several generations before Emperor Hirohito and his three brothers, there had been but one surviving male heir. I would have to look it up to say for how long exactly but it seems to me that we would have to look back at least as far as the 18th century to find an emperor with a surviving brother.

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Also would the above quoted journalists views be considered very conservative even in a conservative society like Japan?
Those journalists are indeed very conservative even for a conservative society like Japan. However, those ultraconservatives, even if their views are extreme, use to play an important part in Japanese politics. There is reason to believe that, so far, everybody who wants to yield political influence has to heed their views. Look at Noda, he is from a so-called center left party (DPJ), still he repeats that nonsense about the 125 emperors. He even talks about "125 generations" of emperors which is even more absurd because it rather often happened that brothers followed brothers on the throne. I am sure he knows better than that but obviously he feels that it is this what he has to do to keep his position. And he may be right, who knows. Perhaps otherwise he might soon get a parcel with a severed fingertip enclosed...
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  #742  
Old 04-12-2012, 02:02 PM
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I wonder what they would do if little Prince Hisahito turns out to be unable to father a child, or his eventual wife is infertile or he is gay and just not interested in an arranged marriage. Japan would be back in the situation with a lot of Princesses or former Princesses but no available male heir.
If they don't go forwards with provisions for female succession they are being very short sighted.
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  #743  
Old 04-12-2012, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
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"!
You´re welcome! That is indeed the big question. Of course, people want a national identity and want to be proud of their nation. But there is so much Japan can indeed be proud of that they should not listen to people who think that they have to deny historical facts, for example the Korean roots of the imperial family or that the monarchy did not start before around the 5th century, in order to boost the national identity. Even if the monarchy did not start earlier, it is still the oldest in the world, so where´s the problem? And there is so much more to be admired in Japan, their philosophy, their love of peace, their way of life, their endurance, their will and talent to negotiate and find compromises etc. They really do not need those ultranationalist people to make them proud of themselves.

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Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
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.
Of course, it can sometimes be necessary to implement reforms, as in the present case, but, as you say, to strip people of their royal status and then reinstate them again is a way that goes against the very idea and purpose of a monarchy which is stability. This is also why I am not convinced that it would be good to give former Princess Sayako her status back. She was an asset to the imperial family and would be one again. But I think it is always a problem to apply laws retroactively. If they did not want to lose her, they should have thought about it before her marriage.
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  #744  
Old 04-12-2012, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by NGalitzine View Post
I wonder what they would do if little Prince Hisahito turns out to be unable to father a child, or his eventual wife is infertile or he is gay and just not interested in an arranged marriage. Japan would be back in the situation with a lot of Princesses or former Princesses but no available male heir.
If they don't go forwards with provisions for female succession they are being very short sighted.
Exactly. If I may quote myself:
Quote:
As it is, Hisahito´s 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, he´ll 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 what´s 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.”
Of course, if they made the female branches permanent (without succession rights), they would at least have the option to again change the law and give them succession rights if it should become clear that Hisahito wouldn´t have a son. I am not fond of this idea of constantly changing laws, as needed, but it is a realistic possibility. But if only the princesses are allowed to keep their title while their children have commoner status then things would become very difficult indeed.
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  #745  
Old 04-12-2012, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by NGalitzine View Post
I wonder what they would do if little Prince Hisahito turns out to be unable to father a child, or his eventual wife is infertile or he is gay and just not interested in an arranged marriage. Japan would be back in the situation with a lot of Princesses or former Princesses but no available male heir.
If they don't go forwards with provisions for female succession they are being very short sighted.
I wonder if Hisahito will have to divorce his wife, if she turns out to be infertile, because of all the pressure, that people will lay on him. And if he himself is infertile... I guess people just don't want to think about such a disaster. And if he's gay, he would have to marry a woman anyway, again because of all the pressure. One may feel sorry for the princesses, who don't have a right to ascend the throne at the moment, but Hisahito probably won't have an easy life either.

I'm conservative myself (at least for being Swedish), and I have no real problems with male primogeniture, or that only male-linage children can become heirs to a throne. But as we see with the situation in Japan, where there only are three heirs to the imperial throne, problems can easily occur. First of all, the three young princesses should be able to become tennos, if something would happen to all three males of the family.

But it's harder to say, that their children too should be able to become tennos, because the Japanese have such strong traditions about this. There have been several female tennos, but every tenno since forever has been belonged to the same male-linage dynasty. So I don't know. I'll leave it to the Japanese to solve this.
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  #746  
Old 04-21-2012, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Furienna View Post
I wonder if Hisahito will have to divorce his wife, if she turns out to be infertile, because of all the pressure, that people will lay on him. And if he himself is infertile... I guess people just don't want to think about such a disaster. And if he's gay, he would have to marry a woman anyway, again because of all the pressure.
But what would they have to use against him in order to put him under pressure? There is a certain custom in Japanese history of substituting an emperor who is politically inconvenient by another, usually by his son or his younger brother. That is very true. (We are just witnessing the latest example of this tradition with the present crown prince.) But there is nobody to substitute Hisahito with if he should refuse to cooperate. In many respects, the imperial bureaucrats will be basically at his mercy.

The Japan Times conducted a non-representative poll, asking: “No girls allowed? - The debate continues about the role of female members of the Imperial family. What's your take?“
There were 3421 votes altogether. The majority, 42%, were of the opinion that „women should be treated equally to men“. 31 % asked if Japan did not have „bigger things to worry about“. 18 % maintained that „the whole Imperial family“ was „an anachronism“. 9% answered, "The paternal Imperial blood-line is sacred".
Japan Times
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  #747  
Old 04-21-2012, 03:03 PM
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Japan’s “Princess Problem” - Conservatives Panic at the Prospect of Female-Headed Imperial Family Branches

Some days ago, I have written a blog that deals with the latest expert hearing concerning whether female members of the imperial family should be allowed to keep their titles when they marry. As already said in this thread, the experts of the hearing that took place on 10 April, journalist Yoshiko Sakurai and Nihon University professor of law Akira Momochi, opposed the idea of enabling princesses to establish their own imperial family branches after marriage to commoners. As an alternative solution, they proposed to reinstate the former imperial branches which renounced their royal status in 1947 or else to let male descendants from these branches be adopted into the imperial family.

In my blog I give information about these former branches and also about the traditional custom of adoption. Among East Asian societies, Japan is known for its indiscriminate practice of adoption compared with China and Korea, for example, where more stringent rules and prohibitions are imposed. Japanese nobles, in particular, often took recourse to adoption. I also discuss whether, in the 21st century, this instrument could still be effectively used to solve the succession problem of the imperial family.
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  #748  
Old 05-05-2012, 03:56 PM
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Imperial revision draft set for autumn release

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The government is poised to draw up a rough draft this autumn for revising the Imperial House Law to allow female members of the Imperial family to retain their Imperial status after marriage, government sources have disclosed. [...] As the pros and cons over the retention of the royal status of female Imperial family members who marry commoners remains a key discussion point, the leadership of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will be crucial to government reform of the system, the sources said. Eight experts on Imperial matters have presented their opinions in four meetings from Feb. 29 to April 23 that were attended by government officials including deputy chief cabinet secretaries Tsuyoshi Saito and Hiroyuki Nagahama. As the government plans to hear the views of "just under 20 experts," it is assumed that hearings are halfway finished. [...] Of the eight experts, six, including journalist Soichiro Tahara, spoke in favor of creating houses for female members of the Imperial family by enabling them to retain their Imperial status after marriage. [...]

During the government's hearings, a number of unforeseen ideas were put forth, officials said. They included a proposal to expand the number of Imperial family members by allowing men of former princely houses, which were abolished after World War II, to be reinstated as family members through adoption procedures. Another idea that drew attention was allowing female Imperial family members to retain the title of "princess" even after leaving the Imperial family due to marriage, so they could remain engaged in the royal family's activities despite losing the formal Imperial family member status, the officials said.

This idea has been supported by proponents and opponents of the creation of houses for female members of the Imperial family, they noted. The possibility of allowing female Imperial family members to hold the title of princess even after their marriage could be a compromise if discussions on the creation of houses for female members remains inconclusive, the officials said. [...]

The government plans to call on a wide range of people to give opinions on a rough draft for the law revision that will be developed in autumn after the hearings with experts have finished. The government will consult the ruling Democratic Party of Japan and major opposition parties on the draft before submitting an Imperial House Law revision bill to an extraordinary Diet session in autumn or to an ordinary sitting of the legislature next year. [...] Noda once said the Imperial House Law revision "should be settled as quickly as possible." But he has not made any public remarks on this issue for many months, creating skepticism among some government officials about whether the issue is a major priority for Noda, the officials said. One factor affecting his decision may be that his tenure as DPJ president expires at the end of September, which officials said will cause added uncertainty about the issue of enabling female Imperial family members to have their own houses. Some members of the government have suggested the prime minister should create a timetable regarding the revision process of the Imperial House Law. [...]

"When considering the near future, the system needs to change. I'm concerned about how discussions will proceed, but all we can do is see how things develop," a senior official of the Imperial Household Agency said. Some experts said the establishment of female branches of the Imperial family will not reduce the burden on the Emperor, as female members cannot conduct duties in place of the Emperor. However, the Imperial Household Agency has a different view. The Imperial House Law stipulates that the Empress and princesses, including not only the Emperor's daughters and granddaughters but also great-granddaughter and others, are temporarily allowed to act on behalf of the Emperor in state matters. During the Emperor's recent stay at a hospital for heart bypass surgery, Crown Prince Naruhito carried out many of the Emperor's duties. Prince Akishino also represented the Emperor. If female members of the Imperial family are allowed to retain their royal status after marriage, they would be able to take on the duties of Crown Prince Naruhito and Prince Akishino, thereby freeing up their schedules to take over the Emperor's duties.

This would create a relaxed environment for the Emperor to fully recovery.
The Yomiuri Shimbun
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  #749  
Old 05-22-2012, 02:09 PM
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ive been troubled by an issue that could happen, please share your thoughts.

just view the scene: Crown Prince Naruhito is now the Emperor Naruhito, in the line of succession comes his brother Prince Akishino and then his nephew Prince Hisahito. by now it was approved the law that female princesses retain their titles even if marrying a commoner and thus Princess Aiko married and remained in the royal family, then she became pregnant and gave birth to a boy, a grandchild of Emperor Naruhito.
the thing is, will Akishino and Hisahito still be ahead in the line for the throne? even if yes, the male grandchild still is more 'genuine' and 'legitimate' to the family line because its after all a direct descendent from Emperor Naruhito.

what do you guys think? if this will happen, im sure till bring more issues and heavy debates in the japanese governement and society.
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:52 PM
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For as long as there are records of it, every tenno has belonged to the same blood-line. And unless Aiko gets married to an aristocrat with imperial ancestry, her children will have no right to ascend the throne, at least not as the laws stand today.
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  #751  
Old 05-23-2012, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by kathia_sophia View Post
ive been troubled by an issue that could happen, please share your thoughts.

just view the scene: Crown Prince Naruhito is now the Emperor Naruhito, in the line of succession comes his brother Prince Akishino and then his nephew Prince Hisahito. by now it was approved the law that female princesses retain their titles even if marrying a commoner and thus Princess Aiko married and remained in the royal family, then she became pregnant and gave birth to a boy, a grandchild of Emperor Naruhito.
the thing is, will Akishino and Hisahito still be ahead in the line for the throne? even if yes, the male grandchild still is more 'genuine' and 'legitimate' to the family line because its after all a direct descendent from Emperor Naruhito.

what do you guys think? if this will happen, im sure till bring more issues and heavy debates in the japanese governement and society.
The ultra-conservative royalists will oppose the Toshinomiya (Aiko)'s son to be enthroned because, currently, only the male descendants of an imperial prince is entitled to assume the throne.
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  #752  
Old 05-23-2012, 11:47 AM
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For as long as there are records of it, every tenno has belonged to the same blood-line. And unless Aiko gets married to an aristocrat with imperial ancestry, her children will have no right to ascend the throne, at least not as the laws stand today.

Do you mean a male member of the kobetsu sekke (皇別摂家) by saying an aristocrat with imperial ancestry ? If so, the male members of the Kobetsu sekke are not classified as the descendants of a Tenno but as the descendants of the Fujiwara Clan that this is not possible.
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  #753  
Old 05-24-2012, 11:07 AM
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Hello, mariaantoniapia, welcome to this forum! I think Furienna has been talking about a male member of the collateral imperial houses that were stripped of their membership in the imperial family in October 1947, that means of the Seshū Shinnōke or, practically speaking, rather of the ōke, as (at least as far as I know) three of the four Shinnōke are already extinct and the fourth has but female offspring. Of course, they are all commoners, so if Aiko married one of them that would not change anything at all under the current law. Whatever she does, neither she nor her children will have any succession rights unless the law is changed. I suppose Furienna has been speaking hypothetically. (?)


According to a press conference by the chief cabinet secretary Fujimura, there was another expert hearing about the status of the princesses scheduled to take place on May 21. The experts should be Professor Yuji Otabe of Shizuoka University of Welfare and Professor Yoshi.taka Shima of Waseda University. I suppose that it has taken place as planned but there is absolutely no coverage to be found about it in the internet (in English). That is a pity because I was looking forward to what those two men would say. Shima said some time ago in a comment for the Daily Yomiuri that, for him, the best solution would be to allow the imperial family adoption of male members of the former imperial branches. According to him, the "second-best solution" would be to establish a female-headed family branch only for one generation but to make it permanent if the respective husbands came from the former collateral branches.

Concerning Otabe, I have not found a recent statement of his, but in 2006, when someone brought up the idea to let the imperial princesses marry males from the former branches to maintain the lineage, he clearly opposed it, arguing that institutionalizing such a marriage would be a violation of human rights, because such a match would have to take place regardless of whether the participants loved one another.

From what I have read about him, I think that, all in all, Otabe would tend to support the proposal to have the princesses remain in the family. So this might have been the first expert hearing where the two experts had opposing views! I would have loved to know what they actually said on the occasion... Maybe we will be so lucky as to get at least an English summary of the hearing in autumn when the draft will be released.

Mariaantoniapia, you are in an extraordinary position in so far as you have probably access to Japanese sources. If you should happen to find an article about what Shima and Otabe said at the latest hearing, I would be very interested to hear what you can tell us about its contents...
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  #754  
Old 05-24-2012, 11:54 AM
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According to Asahi Shinbun (dated May 2, 2012), on 21 May there was a hearing re: the topic of a possible josei miyake establishment at the PM's residence, Tokyo. Two experts were invited to the hearing.

Prof. Otabe was in favour of establishing the josei miyake but opposed to the idea of making her husband and children the members of the Imperial Family.

On the other hand, Prof. Shima opposed to the establishment of a josei miyake because of the possible complications re: the status of her husband and children as well as the succession issue. He also mentioned re: the idea of adoption of a male member (kyuu kouzoku danshi) of the former cadet branches (miyake) of the Imperial Family by one of the existing miyake and providing him with the imperial succession right. Re: this opinion, Mr Sonobe, a former Supreme Court judge, who was at the hearing showed his displeasure because he did not expect the succession issue would be discussed at this particular hearing.

However, Prof. Shima was in favour of the idea in which an imperial princess who married to a male member of the general public should be able to retain her status as a naishinnou or a joou in order to carry out her royal duties after her marriage.
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Old 05-24-2012, 12:41 PM
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Thank you very much, mariaantoniapia!

That is very interesting indeed. It seems that professor Shima has become a bit more radical since he made his comment for the Yomiuri. At the time, he still favoured a female-headed miyake, if even for but one generation. If one of the opposing parties becomes even more strict with insisting on their views, instead of looking for a compromise, this does not bode well...

It is very understandable that Mr Sonobe was unhappy about the succession issue being mentioned. It seems that if they include this question, there will never be an agreement (at least not during the next years), and it is obviously urgent to come to a decision in this matter before the princesses marry.
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  #756  
Old 05-24-2012, 03:55 PM
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Hello, mariaantoniapia, welcome to this forum! I think Furienna has been talking about a male member of the collateral imperial houses that were stripped of their membership in the imperial family in October 1947, that means of the Seshū Shinnōke or, practically speaking, rather of the ōke, as (at least as far as I know) three of the four Shinnōke are already extinct and the fourth has but female offspring. Of course, they are all commoners, so if Aiko married one of them that would not change anything at all under the current law. Whatever she does, neither she nor her children will have any succession rights unless the law is changed. I suppose Furienna has been speaking hypothetically. (?)
Yes, those would be the families, which I was thinking of. But are there really no male member of those families left? I am speaking hypothetically, of course, but since those families have imperial ancestry, it would solve a few problems, if Aiko got married to a man from one of them. For if Hisahito somehow can't get a son, the blood line could then be carried on by Aiko's children. Considering how there now are only three possible heirs to the throne, the Japanese should be open to alternative solutions.
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Old 05-24-2012, 04:18 PM
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It seems pretty drastic to tell someone who to marry. I believe one of the experts in the current hearings said that it would be a violation of human rights. As traditional as the Imperial
Family is, the current Emperor and his children married for love. Even if Aiko (or her cousins) wasn't actually forced into it, they'd feel the pressure and no one would be certain that they weren't coerced into it. If they refused and Hisahito really couldn't have sons, they'd be blamed but if they agreed and Hisahito has sons, they would have married someone they may not love for nothing.

Besides, why would the Princesses have to marry their distant relatives anyway as their children would only be able to claim the throne through the male line?
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Old 05-24-2012, 05:20 PM
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It seems pretty drastic to tell someone who to marry. I believe one of the experts in the current hearings said that it would be a violation of human rights. As traditional as the Imperial
Family is, the current Emperor and his children married for love. Even if Aiko (or her cousins) wasn't actually forced into it, they'd feel the pressure and no one would be certain that they weren't coerced into it. If they refused and Hisahito really couldn't have sons, they'd be blamed but if they agreed and Hisahito has sons, they would have married someone they may not love for nothing.

Besides, why would the Princesses have to marry their distant relatives anyway as their children would only be able to claim the throne through the male line?
Do you think that establishing josei miyake may be one step forward for Aiko's right to the succession of the throne ?
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by ChiaraC View Post
Hello, mariaantoniapia, welcome to this forum! I think Furienna has been talking about a male member of the collateral imperial houses that were stripped of their membership in the imperial family in October 1947, that means of the Seshū Shinnōke or, practically speaking, rather of the ōke, as (at least as far as I know) three of the four Shinnōke are already extinct and the fourth has but female offspring. Of course, they are all commoners, so if Aiko married one of them that would not change anything at all under the current law. Whatever she does, neither she nor her children will have any succession rights unless the law is changed. I suppose Furienna has been speaking hypothetically. (?)
Thank you for your welcome message.

I see. So, she meant 11 miyakes that lost their imperial highness status in 1947. Then, they were not aristocrats (kazoku) but were the members of the Imperial House (kouzoku). The practice of the Seshuu shinnouke was stopped in the Meiji Era and the 25th Fushimi-no-miya was styled as an "ou". So, when the GHQ instructed the Japanese government to reduce the numbers of the miyake, there were only ou denkas, ouhi denkas and joou denkas who left the imperial house and now the descendants of such people are called "kyuu kouzoku". Takamatsu-no-miyake, Chichibu-no-miya-ke and Mikasa-no-miyake were allowed to retain their rank and style of Their Imperial Highnesses and stayed as "kouzoku".

The four seshuu shinouke were unique miyakes created by the Tokugawa shogunate modelled upon the go-sanke (three cadet branches of the House of Tokugawa) in order to provide an heir to the throne at the absent of an heir in the main imperial line. In those days, it was not a practice for an "ou" to become Tenno that the heads of the four seshuu shinouke received "shinou senge" from the reigning tenno to be created as "shinnou" so that they, too, were entitled to the throne. This practice disappeared after the kou****su tenpan or the imperial house laws were laid down and a mere ou became to be entitled to succeed the throne.

Until the Meiji Restoration, even children of an reigning emperor were not styled as "shinnou" and "naishinou" unless they received the "shinnou or naishinnou senge". Until the senge, they were simply called "miya-san" like in the case of the Kazu-no-miya. After the Restoration, also, the title of "nyoin" was abolished because the Imperial House was cut off from the Buddhism. Shirakawa haku-ouke was also deprived of their right to become ou. I think it was such a pity to abolish such fancy titles as the nyoin-gou and Shirakawa Haku-Ouke.

In modern day Japan, there are no "commoners" because apart from the members of the Imperial House, all the people of Japan are categorised as the Japanese national. I do not wish to be called as a commoner because I am not.

Thank you, again, for your kind welcome message.
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Old 05-25-2012, 09:18 AM
Tsar bobo Iv's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2012
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im sure she will make a great empress
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