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  #181  
Old 09-08-2011, 09:19 AM
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And honestly it sounds as if though who are critical of Masako are reading off an IHA What's Wrong with Masako playlist:

She vacations a lot, she is shopping, eating out in restaurants, she wants to go to the royal wedding but not do any royal duties, keeping Naruhito and Aiko from seeing the Emperor and Empresses, she sits in class with Aiko, Aiko can't handle the pressure from bullies, the list goes on and on. And again with no proof.

If it was "conveniently" leaked that she kicked a puppy would be that be a talking point as well?
Its like negative propaganda from a government agency. I mean really, if Masako is supposed not to be well. Why do they comment (or allow comments) on her at all. Very suspicious if you ask me.


To me its just as bad (if not worst) than those who support Masako and come up with the crazy things that the IHA does (telling the Emperor about her monthly cycles) to torture her. Surely the truth is in beween?


I have rarely seen the Japanese royals out and about like other royal families. So does anyone have pictures Masako shopping and chilling in restaurants?
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  #182  
Old 09-08-2011, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by HRHHermione View Post
... You still sound like you're refusing to even consider that she's dealing with problems that are too difficult to just get over.

Or that mental illness is complex and experienced differently by every individual. Some recover, some cope, some don't.
Very well worded!
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  #183  
Old 09-08-2011, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Kasumi View Post
ChiaraC is quoting the book of Ben Hill 'Prisoner of Chrysanthemum Throne' which was prooved to be not reliable source, since Ben Hill never was acquainted with any member of palace stuff, or the Owada family, of friends of the Crown Princess Masako. Ben Hill was not present on any press conference of the Crown Princess, never met her in real life. He used only rumors from English language press (since he does not speak Japanese).

Actually, I was NOT quoting Ben Hills. Maybe you ask me before you assume something? (It seems to me that Ben Hills was quoting the same source as I.) It is here, well worth reading imo, but rather lengthy (four parts).

Incidentally, although there undoubtedly ARE mistakes in the Ben Hills book, it would be a bit too easy to say that absolutely everything he writes is wrong. The present case is a good example because Hills quotes a lot from other sources (not only English language sources, incidentally, also Japanese ones as you can see when taking a look at the bibliography of the book). But if you mean to say that articles that are, for example, published in "The Times" or "The Washington Post" mainly consist of rumours, there would probably be a lot of people disagreeing with you.

Of course, it is a certain disadvantage if an author has not met a person he is writing a biography about. But if that were a sort of obstacle that could never be overcome, nobody nowadays would ever be able to write a book about Napoleon or about Elizabeth I. A lot of biographers have never met their "biographees". Besides, I doubt that Hills received death threats just because he had written, for example, that Princess Masako miscarried when she was 7 months pregnant (which is one of his major mistakes, it was but a few weeks). I´d rather suppose that he was threatened because of the things that he got right.


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Originally Posted by Kasumi View Post
Ben Hill was sued in court for defamation, lost his case and had to appologize in written form.
And while we are talking about sources, would you please be so kind as to give a source for what you assert here?
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  #184  
Old 09-08-2011, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Charlotte1 View Post
This story is an urban myth!!!! Even Ben Hlls (whose book is full of errors) wrote that there was no evidence of anything like this ever happening. The Emperor is not the type to be summoning anyone to the palace much less Masako!

Well, that is the usual trouble with any story attributed to „palace insiders“ all over the world: you always have to make your own choice to either believe it or not. So, please, be precise: YOU THINK that the story is an „urban myth“. And you are, of course, absolutely free to believe that. But as long as you cannot give proof of what you believe (whereas there is at least one journalist, Lesley Downer, who has claimed the story to be true), everybody else is free to believe otherwise, if they so choose. (And, to be quite clear: this will not change even if you put ten exclamation marks...)

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Originally Posted by Charlotte1 View Post
More incorrect information! Masako was never criticised by any member of the Imperial Household in regards to her being able to speak various languages. The person who actually made this statement was a Japanese journalist a very conservative one. He not only made the comment but wrote it as well.

Please, have the goodness as to reread my post (page 8). You may notice that I spoke of a „royal watcher“, not of a member of the Imperial Household. (And bye the bye: if you could be so kind as to say: „More statements I disagree with!“ instead of „More incorrect information!“ Apart from sounding much nicer, it would also have the additional advantage of being the truth.)

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Originally Posted by Charlotte1 View Post
Some background on Japanese life, Japan does not have no fault divorce or shared custody of children of divorced parents. In cases where people divorce (ordinary people not Imperial family members! So not just if Masako divorced Naruhito) the person who was deemed at fault looses custody and if a woman receives no maintenance or alimony from her former husband. (that's for anyone!) There is no shared custody, the non custodial parent is given access but that can be as little as 2 photographs a year of your child or children! That's the reality in Japan so it's not just a case of 'poor Masako never seeing her child or not seeing much of her' It's the reality for many Japanese parents who don't have custody of their children.

Please, reread my post and the quote I was answering to. I have neither said „poor Masako“, nor have I compared her situation with that of other Japanese women. In the context I was writing (I was answering to AristoCat who compared Masako to Princess Diana) that would have made no sense, obviously. What I have said is that a divorce would have highly disagreeable consequences for Princess Masako and that they would be notably different from those that Princesses Diana and Alexandra have/had to deal with. If you disagree with any of those two statements, please elaborate.

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Originally Posted by Charlotte1 View Post
I also get irritiated by this whole 'bad IHA' and conspiracy theories. The IHA is made up of humans they are not immortal, the courtiers who gave Michiko a hard time in the early 1960s are not still working, most would be dead! Japan also has mandatory retirement (up until 5 years ago it was at 60, it's now up to 65) so the courtiers do retire and are replaced. The former Chief Steward of the Imperial Household did make the statement in 2002 that Masako's overseas trips were stopped in the late 1990s in the hope that she would get pregnant. He also said that he wanted the Crown prince couple to have a 2nd child and the Akishinos to have a 3rd child. He retired a few years back. The head of the Naruhito household is a former diplomat who is a good friend of Masako's father. This whole 'bad IHA' is ridiculous too, the IHA has over 1000 employees, anyone who works for the Imperial Household is IHA! That includes the gardeners, the farmers on the Imperial farm, the musicians in the Imperial orchestra, the nurses in the Imperial hospital etc, etc.

If you did not quote me, I would not even know that you are talking to me here. I have neither mentioned the IHA nor one of its members, much less called them „bad“. What I did in fact was naming several things that happened to the princess. At no point have I entered into a discussion as to why they came to pass and who was responsible for them. I am sorry that the fact that some people have an opinion about the IHA that differs from yours seems to bother you so much, but that is really no fault of mine.
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  #185  
Old 09-08-2011, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Charlotte1 View Post
Masako was a hard worker, but then all Japanese students particularly those who want to attend the top universities are! It's not uncommon for Japanese high school students to have 4 hours sleep a night due to all the study they do. (Which is why some then fall asleep in class! ) She was still busy as a royal, just a different type of busy since most of it revolved around ceremonial duties. (Including learning how to write old style poems)

Again, you completely seem to ignore the context of my writing. Although one could discuss if a person who is called by her (Japanese) co-workers „the woman who does not need any sleep“ would not be a bit above of even the Japanese hardworking standard, that was not the point I was trying to make. Instead, I was answering to AristoCat (whom I quoted, so it should have been clear that I was answering to her) who compared Masako to the late Princess of Wales and said „she [Masako] hasn't really had to do too many duties and tours while Diana did endless ones even after divorce.“ AristoCat seemed to think that Masako´s main problem consisted in too much work or rather in a lack of diligence – a reasonable assumption, considering the fact that the princess has been diagnosed with a stress-related illness – and I just wanted to inform her, that this was not exactly the case.

I disagree with you in that Masako as princess was always as busy as she had been before her marriage. In fact, that was exactly the point that I was trying to make. According to my source, after the crown couple´s trip to Kuwait, the United Arabian Emirates and Jordan (from which they were called back because of the Kobe earthquake) in January 1995, the princess would for nearly eight years not be given another opportunity to represent her country abroad. But what was much worse, at that time also Masako´s inside-Japan-activities were phased down. She had many ideas of how she could serve Japan within the country, but whenever she tried to initiate new projects, her actions were blocked. It was not the princess alone who felt frustrated. Together, the crown couple time and again explained their ideas and vision, they indicated the general direction in which they wanted to proceed and asked their staff to come up with specific suggestions of how their plans could be realized. But, over and over again, their initiative was opposed or ignored. At last, the crown couple understood that the continually negative answers to their requests could not be explained any longer by the fact that they were expected to concentrate their energies on the production of an heir. In order to make that kind of contribution that they were thinking of, it would not have been necessary for them to even leave Tokyo. But, increasingly, the duties the crown couple were scheduled for, consisted solely in having to greet the volunteers who were cleaning the palace garden. So rarely were they seen in public that, at last, they were criticised by the people for always being „on holiday“ while the elderly emperor and empress took so much trouble to serve the nation.

This information is from the German book „Princess Masako – The encaged butterfly“ by Martin Fritz and Yoko Kobayashi that I have summarized for this forum, to be found here. The relevant posts are 10 and 11. (Please note that it is just a summary. Regarding the issue I am discussing here, I have added a few details that are in the book, but not part of the summary. And bye the bye, there is an error in post 10: the trip to Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain, naturally, took place in November 1994.)

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Originally Posted by Charlotte1 View Post
The Japanese royals and their staff are not secretive, there is just very little information that is generally accurate from non-Japanese sources. No interviews are given to non-Japanese media, the weekly Friday press briefing that the IHA press office gives is only to Japanese media. With so little information, non-Japanese (and here it's not just western but also Asian as well, lots of really tabaloid type information comes from the Chinese press, who are generally not favourable to the Japanese. Historical reasons.) media rely very strongly on vague bits of information which is then transmitted as facts.

Concerning the secrecy or non-secrecy of Japanese royals and their staff, I´d like to make you an offer: for every source that I find that says that they ARE secretive, you have to find another that says that they are not. And in the end we will count. Or, if the sheer number may not seem sufficiently significant, we can compare what we have found so far after – say – 10 sources altogether, and discuss in which direction the results seem to tend. I´d be very curious indeed as to which sources you would come up with.
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  #186  
Old 09-08-2011, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by HRHHermione View Post
... If you think equality is a western ideal, you're wrong. Every step in that direction has been fought for because someone recognized that a system was fundamentally unjust. You've read all the arguments for why this is fundamentally unjust. They're logical.
I think the irony of this case consists in Princess Masako being, in all likelihood, not even much of a feminist (at the beginning, at least, maybe she is by now...) Although there is a tendency in her high achiever family to commit themselves to work and study that includes the women – Masako´s mother Yumiko, for example, had a degree in French literature – I doubt that Masako ever dreamt of becoming the mother of Japan´s ninth reigning empress. I am sure she would have been thrilled to have more children and would not have minded a son of hers taking precedence over his elder sisters and ascending the throne. And while I personally am sympathetic to the idea of gender equality, I am not much concerned about any different type of succession either, as long as it works (meaning: as long as there is a sufficient number of heirs to the throne, without anybody being made especially unhappy for it). But it is really heartbreaking to see how lives and even countries were being ruined in the past because of the need for a male heir, speaking, for example, of Henry VIII and his wives or of the last czarevitch of Russia, his mother and Rasputin. I really think that nowadays these tragedies should be prevented from happening by whatever means.

I am talking not only about Princess Masako here. (Though it does seem to me that I have seldom read a comment about her that would not have attributed her illness to the huge pressure to bear a male heir for the throne, at least in part.) It is to be dreaded that the next victim of the law will become the one who, at first sight, benefits from it the most: little Prince Hisahito. If nothing changes, he will probably be the only one in his generation to carry the imperial burden, hopefully along with his wife – but which young woman would marry him, with the memory of the fates of his grandmother and aunt in mind, with a workload before her that is unprecedented for an imperial spouse and being sure to be put under a pressure to bear a son that will be still stronger than the one even Masako ever knew?
I sincerely hope the law will be changed before the next generation will be rendered unhappy by it.

But, of course, the preference of males is an issue that not only royalty has to deal with. Of this fact I was strongly reminded when I recently got to read the following:

Quote:
When I became pregnant with my second child, there was the unspoken understanding that I must have a boy. When a test at the advanced stage of my pregnancy suggested that I would have another girl, my mother-in-law looked very disappointed and immediately asked if the test was really reliable...I was shocked by her reaction and started to feel that I had no value as a member of the family unless I gave birth to a boy.
It is to be supposed that at least women like this Japanese housewife, who is quoted here by the Asahi Shimbun, will get an empress in Masako with whom they can identify.
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  #187  
Old 09-08-2011, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by XeniaCasaraghi View Post
Y'''I find it ironic that you accuse me of implementing my western ideals into the situation, yet the same people who bash Japan, the Imperial Family, and the IHA for their "backwards male dominated society" aren't forcing their western ideals onto another society?
The only thing I will say about the content of your response is that I did not direct my comment about Western ideals in Japan to you specifically. It was a general remark, that's why it was at the end of my post and not precisely placed under a quote.
Furthermore I will indeed think what I want all I want - and I will cease to respond to you from now on. "I suffered, I know people who suffered and were worse off so why can't she get her act together?" stuff, numerous explanations to you seem to be in vain. Sometimes opinions are too different to have a proper discussion.

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Originally Posted by HRHHermione View Post
... You still sound like you're refusing to even consider that she's dealing with problems that are too difficult to just get over.

Or that mental illness is complex and experienced differently by every individual. Some recover, some cope, some don't.
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Originally Posted by Sancia View Post
Very well worded!
I totally agree with both of you - I find some people's attitudes and seeming lack of understanding a mental illness in a totally different situation and institution (what we probably can not really imagine) appalling.
And to conclude with a pointless comparison myself: once I read that Masako is (or was) under such heavy security where the security of the British Royal Family would looke like that of the most popular and most-often visited amusement park in the Netherlands. Aka much more freedom.

But I will cease to post here from now on - I have made my point and given my opinion and that is it.
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  #188  
Old 09-08-2011, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by ChiaraC View Post
I am talking not only about Princess Masako here. (Though it does seem to me that I have seldom read a comment about her that would not have attributed her illness to the huge pressure to bear a male heir for the throne, at least in part.)
But surely such pressure no longer exists? Masako is at an age where childbearing is unlikely; also, there now is a male heir. Yet her mental state does not seem to improve much, if at all. I think it's reasonable to ask, what will it take?
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  #189  
Old 09-08-2011, 03:51 PM
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But surely such pressure no longer exists? Masako is at an age where childbearing is unlikely; also, there now is a male heir.
No, not to cause any misunderstandings, I think the child-bearing pressure is over.
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Yet her mental state does not seem to improve much, if at all. I think it's reasonable to ask, what will it take?
That is a very good question. But while I think it interesting to speculate about it, we should be aware imo that all we (in this forum) can say to answer it, can never be more than just that: speculation. The problem is, of course, that the public has heard the same repeated for years (that Masako´s recovery is progressing slowly but surely), but still, no change becomes visible. It is indeed frustrating, in the “Groundhog Day“-way. But imo we have to allow for the possibility that we might be told the truth. As „outsiders“ we are not in a position to judge if there actually is not any progress or if it is just not publicly visible (yet). If we complain about things not changing with the princess, we have to be aware that we may be wrong - or maybe we are absolutely right. Both is possible.

This being said, I can tell you what I personally believe that it „would take“. But I have added the above „preface“ to make clear that this is just my guess, that I am quite comfortable if anybody else is guessing differently, and that I know that history may prove me wrong.

To my mind, the main point is in the „official duties“. I have no means to know this but I suppose that the projects of the crown couple are still being blocked (as happened already in the nineties, see above post 185). According to my impression of Masako, the princess needs the feeling that she is being of use. Masato Kanda, a government official who went to the University of Tokyo and Oxford University with Masako, says that the crown princess has „a natural sense of mission to contribute to Japan's diplomacy and help this country obtain an honorable position in the international community“. I think the princess as well as her husband are concerned because younger Japanese seem to be disinterested in the monarchy. Accordingly, the couple strive to adjust it in a way to the 21st century Japanese as to keep the monarchy meaningful even for future generations. That is the background behind their „new ideas“. (Here I am again strongly influenced by the book quoted above, the relevant posts here would be 6 and 66, no error). I think that if the princess would be given an opportunity to realize some of the couple´s plans, along with her husband, she would, after some time, receive sufficient energy from the feeling of fulfilling her life mission as to be able to finally recover. Imo, that was what her doctors meant when they suggested that arrangements be made for Masako to engage in public duties where she could take advantage of the expertise and experiences she accumulated before her marriage.

But – and this is, in fact, a big „but“ – I am afraid that this will not happen in the lifetime of the emperor, not because he wants to be mean – I am convinced that he is a honorable, well-meaning man – but because he thinks that if the monarchy would be even more modernized (he has, in fact, done some „modernization“ himself), it would cease to be „special“ and thus lose its „raison d´´e`tre“. (Here, again I am strongly influenced by the views of the book I have mentioned above.)

I am aware that this is a rather depressing answer that I am giving here to your question about "what it takes", but, unfortunately, that is what I believe.
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  #190  
Old 09-08-2011, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by HRHHermione View Post
... You still sound like you're refusing to even consider that she's dealing with problems that are too difficult to just get over.

Or that mental illness is complex and experienced differently by every individual. Some recover, some cope, some don't.
Exactly; and given the secrecy that surrounds the Japanese Imperial Family, IMHO it's next to impossible for outsiders to judge Masako, who is dealing (or has dealt) with depression in circumstances completely alien from the "average" western experience. Given that her husband does understand the the undercurrents of life in their surroundings, I think his opinion and support of Masako carry an awful lot of weight. I don't think anyone can assign blame unless they have an inside view of her life. Interestingly, the few Japanese I know say that this subject is not a big issue with the Japanese themselves.
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  #191  
Old 09-08-2011, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Zonk View Post
Why do they comment (or allow comments) on her at all.
It's because she's the CP of Japan, she gets so much attention and protection. They're probably observing the crowd's reaction to her every single movement and see how well-liked she is. I don't know much about these things, but that could help her improve? I dunno, but they did shut the people around Princess Tsuguko up...
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  #192  
Old 09-08-2011, 05:03 PM
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I wasn't aware that CP Masako had suffered a miscarriage at seven months. I knew that there was a miscarriage, but I didn't know that it was that late. That's an age when a child is viable will the help of a prenatal unit! To lose a baby at that stage of development would be heart-breaking for any woman; but to go through that grief in addition to the already-heavy pressure to have a male child plus the regular duties that being a Crown Princess involves (in Masako's case, this includes isolation) would cause any woman to break down temporarily. However, if a person already has a family tendency toward depression (I believe her uncle comitted suicide), what would cause a "normal" woman grief and some depression causes another person to become seriously ill. There are some people who, although given medication and therapy, never truly recover from depression. Most people who suffer from this ailment do recover, but some never do--or they recover temporarily and then slide back.
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  #193  
Old 09-08-2011, 05:11 PM
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Where did you read she lost a baby at seven months of pregnancy? What I read the most is she lost the baby in the early stages of pregnancy.
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  #194  
Old 09-08-2011, 10:43 PM
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Perhaps it was seven weeks and I misread a previous post. Thanks for the correction.

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Where did you read she lost a baby at seven months of pregnancy? What I read the most is she lost the baby in the early stages of pregnancy.
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  #195  
Old 09-09-2011, 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Zonk View Post
And honestly it sounds as if though who are critical of Masako are reading off an IHA What's Wrong with Masako playlist:..?
Zonk, I really think you hit the nail on the head with this post. It's reasonable to assume that Empress Michiko was in good mental health when she married Akihito yet she too had problems; a nervous breakdown which was likely a more serious problem than the Crown Princess's depression. I agree with you that the truth is somewhere in between Masako's supporters and the IHA but again, as her husband knows the IHA from birth and yet still firmly supports his wife, (beyond cultural norms in his outspokenness) I tend to believe the truth is more towards Masako's supporters' version rather than the IHA. It's not exactly a point in their favour that they have driven two consecutive Japanese Crown Princesses to mental problems. IMHO, Masako deserves major credit for not folding her hand and walking away in despair, although I'm sure the custody of her daughter is a factor in this as well. Nevertheless, it must be supremely difficult. I keep thinking about how Diana, Princess of Wales found life among the British Royal Court too stifling to deal with, and yet she had incalculably more freedom than Masako. I doubt anyone who has not lived under that kind of pressure can accurately gauge its effects. I hope Masako and Naruhito stay close to each other and to their daughter and that they will have an easier time of it when it is their time to sit on the throne. I also think Naruhito deserves commendation for his support of his wife; enlightened men who don't think of women as second class citizens will always get my support, especially when they're from a culture where that is not the norm and where conformity is prized before all other character traits.
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  #196  
Old 09-09-2011, 01:02 AM
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BTW, just let me clarify, when I say that Masako should have gotten over it by now, to elaborate, I mean she needs to learn how to function enough to do her job. Not that she needs to get over her depression or whatever she has. A lot of people suffer from mental illness, horrible ones worse than depression; but we all have to learn how to deal with it in enough of a way that allow us to function in daily life. I.E. go to work, school, raise and support are families. I am not saying she needs to just get up and say "depression be gone" because that is in no way going to happen.
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  #197  
Old 09-09-2011, 01:08 AM
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I must agree; I believe Masako's situation generated plenty of sympathy at first (especially around the time of her miscarriage). But after a while, people begin to question why she is seemingly able to enjoy herself on vacation, eating in restaurants, shopping- yet cannot perform royal duties. Sympathy evaporates and impatience sets in. It's human nature, imo.
I don't know how many vacations Masako takes or what restaurants she eats at. But I agree that after 10yrs the sympathy for "poor Masako" just gets old.
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  #198  
Old 09-09-2011, 01:20 AM
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Xenia is admittedly right. After ten years there should be a solution and a result of all this drama and with no resolution, there is just going to be more grief. It's time for difficult decisions to be made and implemented just to put an end to a decades lon nightmare.
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  #199  
Old 09-09-2011, 02:50 AM
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Could somebody, anybody, show me a link to photo's of Masako shopping, lunching with the friends or vacationing forever!!!!

None of these allegations have been backed up by anything other than "he said, she said" type arguments.


I have to admit the fact that both the Empress and the Crown Princess both have "mental" problems leaves me wondering if:
  • The Emperor and Crown Prince used the same psychiatrist's Rolodex to find a wife, or
  • The IHA really are as bad as they are made out to be.
Let's face it, the odds of both men marrying head cases or, more correctly, women suffering from depression or incipient non-specific "mental problems" is right up there with winning the lottery twice in a row!

The fact that in the face of such heavy criticism the Crown Prince has placed himself firmly behind his wife speaks volumes. It goes against the all tradition and If, after 10 years she has still not gotten over the vapours I would have expected them to be living almost separate lives. To me it speaks of things going on of which none of us can know but the behaviour of the principal parties is interesting to say the least.
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Old 09-09-2011, 03:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Mermaid1962 View Post
I wasn't aware that CP Masako had suffered a miscarriage at seven months. I knew that there was a miscarriage, but I didn't know that it was that late. That's an age when a child is viable will the help of a prenatal unit! To lose a baby at that stage of development would be heart-breaking for any woman; but to go through that grief in addition to the already-heavy pressure to have a male child plus the regular duties that being a Crown Princess involves (in Masako's case, this includes isolation) would cause any woman to break down temporarily.
This misunderstanding was probably caused by my post concerning the Ben Hills book (post 183). I wrote: „I doubt that Hills received death threats just because he had written, for example, that Princess Masako miscarried when she was 7 months pregnant (which is one of his major mistakes, it was but a few weeks).“ That means: Ben Hills SAID that she was 7 months pregnant. But that was wrong. It is one of his major errors. (Just to nip any rumours about her having been 7 months pregnant in the buds. )

Besides, I know it has been a rather long time, but I do not understand why people keep saying in this thread that sympathy for Masako is wearing out „after 10 years“. In December 2003, the princess broke down, being diagnosed with shingles, and seems to have not fully recovered ever since. But that would make just around 8 years (not quite).
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