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  #941  
Old 08-27-2016, 02:51 AM
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We can only hope.
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  #942  
Old 01-01-2017, 12:01 AM
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Empress regnant a distant prospect for Japan despite gender equality law - The Mainichi
Quote:
In around spring of 2012, Shinzo Abe -- the current prime minister who was then a legislator of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) under the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)-led administration -- expressed frustration about the government's handling of the Imperial succession issue. "Is the Imperial Household Agency serious about enabling members of the former Imperial Family branches to return to the Imperial Family?" he asked.

Abe's question came during an informal study meeting that the LDP held at a hotel in Tokyo, where more than 10 attendants including LDP legislators discussed the declining number of Imperial Family members in line to the throne. The participants deliberated on proposals including one to bring male-line males in 11 former Imperial Family branches back to the Imperial household, in order to maintain Imperial succession by males with patrilineal lineage.

[...]

In the February 2012 edition of the Bungei Shunju monthly magazine, Abe stated that allowing Imperial Family branches headed by female members could fundamentally overturn the traditional process of Imperial succession. After Abe returned as leader of the ruling party in December that year following the LDP's victory in a general election, he brought the issue back to the drawing board.

The Imperial succession by male-line males, upheld since the Meiji era, was not something that had gone unchallenged. An ad-hoc research council on the legal system, which served as an advisory panel to the Cabinet that started discussing the current Imperial House Act in July 1946, debated whether to allow for an empress regnant -- also sometimes called a "female emperor." It reasoned that the postwar Constitution provides for gender equality.

The then Imperial Household Ministry offered the view that Imperial succession only by male-line males would not run counter to gender equality guaranteed under the Constitution because the Imperial Family was an exception. However, in the then Imperial Diet, many legislators pointed out the inconsistency between male-only Imperial succession and the supreme law.

"When I read the Imperial House Act, I can't help feeling that the Imperial Family stands out from the people," said Ito Niizuma, a legislator of the Social Democratic Party of Japan, during a House of Representatives session in December 1946. Niizuma was elected to the Diet in April that year -- the year when Japanese women were franchised in national politics. Citing gender equality under the postwar Constitution, Niizuma continued, "As women appear to have become equal to human beings, I wonder if they can somehow eliminate the 'male-line male' rule."

[...]

Because there were still many young male members within the Imperial Family, the minister shelved the issue, saying, "As there is no practical need to solve the issue (of a female emperor), I would like to entrust the whole matter to in-depth research in the future."

Arguments for allowing an empress regnant also did exist during the process to institute the former Imperial House Law in the Meiji era. The law, however, ended up stating for the first time that only male-line males could succeed to the throne.

The Genroin (chamber of elders), a legislative body in the Meiji era, was open to the possibility of women ascending to the Imperial Throne. It noted, "Males are prioritized over females in the same family and elders are prioritized over juniors in the same kindred." Among the draft constitutions drawn up by private citizens amid the freedom and civil rights movement in the late 19th century, many also allowed for a "female emperor" in case there was no male in line to the throne.

[...]

The constitutional principle of equality of the sexes has taken root in Japanese society and the public today finds it rather unnatural for the Imperial Family alone to attach weight to the births of male members.

According to the Japan Association for Public Opinion Research, a survey in 1975 found 31.9 percent of respondents open to the idea of am empress regnant. The figure climbed to 83.5 percent in a 2005 poll. In a November 2016 survey, 85 percent of respondents approved of an empress regnant or a matrilineal emperor.

[...]

A former government official who negotiated with the Imperial Household Agency over the issue of a female or matrilineal emperor under the government of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi surmised the feelings of Emperor Akihito, saying, "As he has made his own efforts to form the image of an emperor as the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people, he wouldn't hope for former Imperial Family members who have long been away from the Imperial household to succeed to the throne just because they are male-line males."
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  #943  
Old 01-02-2017, 11:06 AM
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The IHA and the emperor never commented on the former branches as far as I know, and the IHA was aiming for legal revisions to allow female branches, so I am confused as to why Mr. Abe had the idea that the IHA would be serious about returning former male-line branches in 2012. Maybe he had supporters within the agency.

Quote:
At the end of January 2012, Abe attended meetings with members of the former Imperial Family branches to explore the possibility of their return to the Imperial Family.
If Mr. Abe's commitment to restoring former branches was so serious that he met with branch members when he was an opposition legislator, why has he not submitted a bill to enable restoration in the more than four years since he returned as Prime Minister?
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  #944  
Old 01-28-2017, 08:27 PM
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I wonder how the IHA is split; it’s a big organization and I’m sure members don’t all agree. The 2012 LDP meetings were exploratory or strategy sessions and I suspect Abe/LDP has met with former branches since then. Maybe they weren’t ready on restoration at the time but with the refocus on the Imperial family due to abdication, they’re taking the opportunity now.

Bringing former members back to imperial family is option: Abe - The Mainichi

Many Japanese Look for a Shift to Female Heirs to Throne - The New York Times

Josei Seven seems more like a tabloid. I don’t believe Princess Aiko was "shocked with the intense attention she received as an imperial family member."
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  #945  
Old 01-28-2017, 09:51 PM
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Thanks for the update!
Mr Abe's proposal is sensible. Reinstating Oke (i.e., collateral branches) will give Prince Hisahito a bigger pool of relatives to help him to carry various engagements. The funding/allowance issue may arise though.
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  #946  
Old 01-29-2017, 02:01 AM
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Agree. But it's only a patching-up solution.

You can't turn entire family branches into what is basically commoners and let them make their own living and then: Ups! We need some spares, better reinstate them again. - And still expect them to be politically, economically and commercially neutral. - Let alone willing.

A permanent solution has to be made, ensuring that there is always at least one spare in each generation. The financing of an extra family is trivial in comparison to the insecurity of having too few or no spares. Not to mention the possible controversy in suddenly reinstating a whole family-branch. Which IMO is simply not a decent way to treat people.

If other monarchies can work out that situation, surely Japan can as well.
The conservative simply have to swallow a couple of camels and accept women being in the line of succession. And I doubt the majority of Japanese mind in this day and age.
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  #947  
Old 01-29-2017, 03:19 AM
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How far do they have to go back to find a line to reinstate? The emperor only had one brother and he had no children. If they are going to allow female line male heirs (like the son of a princess) doesn't that defeat the purpose of preserving the male line? I mean if one of the emperors sisters sons could be an heir, why not his granddaughter and her sons after

The emperor only had one uncle who had children. Takahito only had two sons who had kids, and all of those grandchildren are girls. Hirohitos father only had sisters. Seriously where is this linevgoingbto come from?

But I guess to male only conservatives, they would rather skip over a woman if absolutely necessary then have a female.

But then the question is, if naruhito was emperor when he becomes a grandfather, and it's a boy, then who is heir? If they are willing to have a female line male heir, would the emperors grandson have a better claim then his nephew?
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  #948  
Old 01-29-2017, 04:27 AM
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I assume the conservatives are seeking to restore or adopt from the 11 collateral branches (Ōke) stripped of their Imperial membership in 1947. There are 7 former families remaining as 4 are extinct (or will be as they also lack male heirs).

Ōke - Wikipedia
旧皇族 - Wikipedia (Japanese version has more details and charts)

Wikipedia’s not the most reliable but I haven’t found a English site focused on the Ōke.

Restoration or adoption will need public support which, unfortunately for the conservatives, is leaning towards female-succession or female-branches from the current Imperial family.

ETA: Goshi Hosono of the DPJ criticized Prime Minister Abe's proposal as "utterly unacceptable to the people" and urged discussion on the introducing female branches or letting them stay in the family after marriage, "If it is not made quickly, it may be too late depending on circumstances." [Sankei]
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  #949  
Old 02-01-2017, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Countessmeout View Post
How far do they have to go back to find a line to reinstate?
The supporters of reinstatement count only paternal descent, so around 600 years.

Quote:
These former Imperial Family members […] are only distantly related to the present Emperor, the common ancestry that they share with him going back some six hundred years to the Muromachi period.

Historically speaking, it would be highly irregular for someone who has seceded from the Imperial Family to rejoin it, or for a non-member of the Imperial Family to be enrolled in it. And in only two cases have such individuals ascended the Throne, both during the Heian period. (Both individuals differ from the so-called former Imperial Family members presently under consideration in that they seceded only briefly from the Imperial Family and were close blood relatives — sons — of Emperors.) This tradition has a substantial purpose, being designed to prevent any confusion about the status of Imperial Family members by drawing a clear distinction between their standing and that of the ordinary Japanese. This point deserves due consideration still today.
The Advisory Council on the Imperial House Law Report (24th November, 2005)
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  #950  
Old 02-01-2017, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatiana Maria View Post
The supporters of reinstatement count only paternal descent, so around 600 years.

The Advisory Council on the Imperial House Law Report (24th November, 2005)
You forget the Emperor's nephews. They are also male line descendents of emperors. So they have close relatives to restore.
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  #951  
Old 02-01-2017, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spheno View Post
You forget the Emperor's nephews. They are also male line descendents of emperors. So they have close relatives to restore.
The descendants of Akihito's sister Shigeko Higashikuni are surely his close relatives, but their male line common ancestry goes back 600 years.
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  #952  
Old 02-01-2017, 10:58 AM
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They have three male successors. Naruhito, Akishino and Hisahito. There were plenty of monarchies with fewer successors at all, which still exist. Queen Juliana of the Netherlands was the only child and successor. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands was the only child and successor. King Carl XVI Gustaf was the only successor aside his much older uncle Prince Bertil. King Felipe was the only male successor in Spain. Prince Albert was the only male successor in Monaco. They all made it to the throne anyway. Not that Naruhito, Akishino and an older Hisahito theoretically can procreate until they are lying in their coffin. When Prince Hisahito gets two sons, they can suddenly end in a situation with plenty of successors. Look at Denmark, where Queen Margrethe also started with just two boys. The problem of the succession is not that urgent, in comparison.
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  #953  
Old 02-01-2017, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatiana Maria View Post
The descendants of Akihito's sister Shigeko Higashikuni are surely his close relatives, but their male line common ancestry goes back 600 years.
It doesn't important. They satisfy two basic requirements:
1) they are male line descendents of emperors (for shinto purpose)
2) they are very close relatives (for general public) In fact, they are closer relatives than all Mikasa and Takamado princesses.
So they can be successfully restored.
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  #954  
Old 03-17-2017, 01:39 AM
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More talks on female-led Imperial Family branches encouraged in special law proposal - The Mainichi
Quote:
A proposal for the establishment of special legislation for Emperor Akihito's abdication presented on March 15 by the heads and vice heads of both houses of the Diet encourages the government to swiftly work on examining possibilities of building Imperial Family branches headed by female members as a possible way to ensure a stable succession to the throne.
That's it. The rest of the article is about abdication...
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  #955  
Old 03-17-2017, 05:19 AM
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At least they are now seriously thinking the unthinkable: A female as Emperor of Japan!
Then perhaps they'll begin to remember that it has happened before?
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  #956  
Old 03-17-2017, 08:12 AM
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The ruling coalition compromised with the Democratic Party over the Diet's abdication proposal. The DP secretary-general has called for debate on female-headed branches for months.

Emperor Akihito and his possible abdication

Prime Minister Abe promised in December 2015 to set up discussions on the decrease in female imperial family members as a result of the emperor's birthday news conference, where Akihito deplored his advancing age. However, no discussions have been planned and Mr. Abe persists in encouraging restoration of former imperial branches.

Government to set up expert panel to deal with decrease in female Imperial family members | The Japan Times
Succession Issues
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  #957  
Old 03-24-2017, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
At least they are now seriously thinking the unthinkable: A female as Emperor of Japan!
Then perhaps they'll begin to remember that it has happened before?
But even though there were a few female tennos in the past, the chain of tennos belonging to the same male-to-male blood line has never really been broken. The female tennos were all succeeded by their sons or nephews, who happened to belong to the old imperial blood-line. The current tenno is a male-line descendant of tennos from fifteen hundred years ago. And that would still be an important thing for many people in Japan. So even if a female tenno would be acceptable for them, they would have a hard time accepting her children as her successors (unless their dad happened to be a male-line descendant of the imperial blood-line).

And I seem to remember that there also are a couple of rituals within the Shinto religion, which according to tradition can be performed only by a male tenno. And I don't know how that was solved during the female tennos, but I can see how that would also be important to many people. So yeah, there were a few female tennos in the past. But I don't see how it would happen in the near future, unless something awful happens to Prince Hisahito.
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