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  #201  
Old 09-09-2011, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by MARG View Post
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 two cases are not really similar. The Empress once had a breakdown, which lasted six months. Masako's condition has persisted for nearly a decade.
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  #202  
Old 09-09-2011, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by ChiaraC View Post
... 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).
Thanks for the clarification, I was also wondering what the "ten years" was based on. I don't believe that most people are losing sympathy or empathy for Masako, though, regardless of the time involved. Marg expressed so well what I think is the majority opinion by a large measure. IMHO, some do not allow enough consideration for the environment in which the CPss lives and give too little weight to the CP's firm support of his wife. But discussion and debate are what these boards are for; it would be very boring if we all agreed!

From several of your posts, it seems as though Ben Hill wrote a book of pure fiction as he coyly claimed. After following this thread since it started "heating up", I've ordered a copy of his book from Amazon just to see it for myself.
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  #203  
Old 09-09-2011, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Aliza View Post
Thanks for the clarification, I was also wondering what the "ten years" was based on. I don't believe that most people are losing sympathy or empathy for Masako, though, regardless of the time involved. Marg expressed so well what I think is the majority opinion by a large measure. IMHO, some do not allow enough consideration for the environment in which the CPss lives and give too little weight to the CP's firm support of his wife. But discussion and debate are what these boards are for; it would be very boring if we all agreed!
You are absolutely right, imo.

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Originally Posted by Aliza View Post
From several of your posts, it seems as though Ben Hill wrote a book of pure fiction as he coyly claimed. After following this thread since it started "heating up", I've ordered a copy of his book from Amazon just to see it for myself.
There is a TRF thread where the book is discussed. Maybe you are interested to take a look at it? I´ll put some remarks of my own at the end of the thread.
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  #204  
Old 09-09-2011, 04:00 PM
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I find the talk here about what it's going to take for Masako to get over her situation, how it's time for her to move on and improve her situation, etc. to be more than passing strange. IMO, what it would take for Masako to improve her situation would be a time machine. She should have followed what it seems like her every instinct was telling her years ago and never married the Crown Prince. But she bowed to intense pressure from several directions and now here she is in a situation, partly of her own making but partly completely beyond her control, that there's really no getting out of.

I think Masako has left the royal family as much as she can without taking the final step of physically leaving, which would involve abandoning her husband and probably her only child. I think it would also be seen as looking bad, from a Japanese point of view, for both the imperial family and Masako's own family.

Based on everything I've read I don't think Masako was any sort of pioneering Japanese feminist. Yes she was decently educated and yes she worked hard but my understanding is that she was also very much a rule follower and not one to rock the boat. Which, to me, begs an important question. If someone like Masako: intelligent, educated, traditional, conscientious and dutiful can't succeed at the role of Crown Princess then who could? Two successive Japanese Crown Princesses have now had major mental health issues. Perhaps it's not the women marrying into the family who need to "get over it" but the family and royal institution itself that need to change.
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  #205  
Old 09-09-2011, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by camelot23ca View Post
If someone like Masako: intelligent, educated, traditional, conscientious and dutiful can't succeed at the role of Crown Princess then who could? Two successive Japanese Crown Princesses have now had major mental health issues. Perhaps it's not the women marrying into the family who need to "get over it" but the family and royal institution itself that need to change.
Kiko seems to be doing fine. You might argue that she is not the Crown Princess, yet in a sense she is, since she has had to take on many appearances and responsibilities in place of Masako. And Kiko will be Empress herself one day.
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  #206  
Old 09-09-2011, 05:31 PM
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Why? Won't her son inherit the Chrysanthemum Throne after Naruhito? Or is there a plan to somehow get rid of Naruhito and put his brother on the throne?

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And Kiko will be Empress herself one day.
Kiko has every reason to be well: she's given the nation a future emperor and is seen as the "good princess."
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  #207  
Old 09-09-2011, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Mirabel View Post
Kiko seems to be doing fine. You might argue that she is not the Crown Princess, yet in a sense she is, since she has had to take on many appearances and responsibilities in place of Masako. And Kiko will be Empress herself one day.
I quite agree with you, mermaid, concerning the "good princess".

Kiko´s and Masako´s situation differ from each other in many ways. Just for example, for the crown prince household there are around fifty people working, for the Akishinos only around ten - maybe some more after Hisahito´s birth, I am not quite sure. But in any case it is clear that the Akishinos are in a quite different league than the crown couple, so to speak. The crown prince and his family also use to have a lot more security around while the Akishinos oftentimes are only accompanied by one or two men. That means that they are much more free to move. When they go out (for example to visit the emperor) it is possible for them to do it without too much planning in advance while for the crown prince family there usually is a lot of organization necessary to get that number of people moved.

Besides, during most of the times of their married life and also during their courtship, the Akishinos did not get such an amount of public attention. That means that Kiko enjoyed much more freedom insofar as she had a lot of time during which she could adjust to the imperial way of life rather unobservedly. (During the last years this has naturally changed to some degree, but it is to be supposed that she knows the ropes by now.) One would also have to consider that the expectations towards the crown princess were sky-high: she should be “traditionally Japanese” AND “international”, “close to the people” AND “every inch a princess”, “traditionally modest” AND “intelligent”. In other words, she was expected by the people to harmonically unite tradition and modernity, without ever suffering from the contradiction herself and without ever raising discordance or disagreement in the nation. (In short, accomplish effortlessly what the Japanese as a nation are struggling with.) And, in addition, she should, of course, bear a male heir ASAP. Compared with that, the expectations towards Kiko were quite low.


Had Kiko been the crown princess, a crisis might have been caused already by the fact that she had two girls in a row. But as she was only the wife of the younger son, it did not really matter. We know today that Kiko has a good chance of becoming empress. (If Akishino outlives his elder brother, he will become emperor and his son after him, according to the law.) But I am convinced that she should thank her lucky stars that this was not known already, say, at her wedding day. Of course, it is always impossible to say what would have happened if. But I am sure that in that case, Kiko´s life would have been a lot more difficult (not to mention what would have happened even, if she had turned out unable to bear children ).

We could further add that Kiko has everything that, at least according to common notions, makes a woman´s happiness: a husband, children and a job. On the other hand, Masako had for a long time neither a child nor fulfilling work. Kiko probably
has got what she expected to get when she married. Masako did not get it, not until the present day.
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  #208  
Old 09-09-2011, 07:05 PM
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Had Kiko been the crown princess, a crisis might have been caused already by the fact that she had two girls in a row. But as she was only the wife of the younger son, it did not really matter
Yes, the life of the spouse of the spare is very different than that of the wife of the heir no matter what monarchy you're talking about. But given that Kiko had years to have a relatively low key family life with her husband and two healthy daughters, and then became the golden girl who was able to have the almighty boy, I think comparing her to Masako is comparing apples to oranges. No one is going to criticize Kiko now no matter what she does - she could be trying to set fire to the royal residences every night and I'm sure we'd never hear a word about it, unlike the rumors that seem custom designed to tear down Masako.
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  #209  
Old 09-09-2011, 07:36 PM
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I also think it would be massively disheartening to know you're giving up your whole life only to see your only child passed over by the very institution you sacrificed for. A bit of "What's the point of doing this, of never having any freedom at all if my child is just going to be hurt and excluded anyway?"
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  #210  
Old 09-10-2011, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by camelot23ca View Post
No one is going to criticize Kiko now no matter what she does - she could be trying to set fire to the royal residences every night and I'm sure we'd never hear a word about it [...]
Although I am absolutely sure she would never do anything even coming close to that vision, it is really a funny idea to imagine, of Kiko running around to put the palace buildings on fire, and IHA officials running after her with fire extinguishing equipment...

I am being silly, I know. But it is such a sad story, generally speaking, that it is relieving to take the opportunity to laugh whenever you get it. (And I am really meaning no offense to Princess Kiko, I am convinced she always puts a lady´s behaviour on display, also in her private capacity.)
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  #211  
Old 09-11-2011, 11:15 AM
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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.
Ooouups! I just noticed that when I said that after 1995 "the princess would for nearly eight years not be given another opportunity to represent her country abroad" I forgot to mention that one unfortunate trip to Belgium in 1999 when she attended the wedding of Philippe and Mathilde, along with her husband, and which ended with the heartbreak of her miscarriage.
I apologize!
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  #212  
Old 09-11-2011, 08:02 PM
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It really is a sad story all around, for many of the people involved. I'm not without sympathy for Akishino and Kiko, as to me it seems they were quite happy with their two daughters and hadn't planned on raising a third child at this stage in their lives, (although I'm sure they adore their little boy). You never know, of course, but to me the ages of their older two children when the third was born, as well as the timing of the conception in relation to it becoming apparent Masako was never going to have a son, indicate that if Kiko and Akishino went by purely personal preference they'd probably still be a family of four. Whether their reasons for choosing to go ahead and have a third child were good, bad or a bit of both I guess is up for debate.
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  #213  
Old 09-13-2011, 04:11 AM
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Who knows what can be done at this point; she's been Crown Princess for so long that to change would be a trauma, while if she stays, she'll still be in this unhealthy ambience.
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  #214  
Old 09-16-2011, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by camelot23ca View Post
It really is a sad story all around, for many of the people involved. I'm not without sympathy for Akishino and Kiko, as to me it seems they were quite happy with their two daughters and hadn't planned on raising a third child at this stage in their lives, (although I'm sure they adore their little boy). You never know, of course, but to me the ages of their older two children when the third was born, as well as the timing of the conception in relation to it becoming apparent Masako was never going to have a son, indicate that if Kiko and Akishino went by purely personal preference they'd probably still be a family of four. Whether their reasons for choosing to go ahead and have a third child were good, bad or a bit of both I guess is up for debate.
I agree insofar as I think that if the Akishinos had wanted a third child just for the sake of having a third child, he or she would have been born much earlier than Hisahito was. (They had Mako 1 ½ years after their wedding, in 1991, and Kako three years after her, so it is not to be supposed that they had any problems procreating.)

Still, I am convinced that having Hisahito was no sacrifice for them and that they had him with the clear intention of producing the future emperor. Accordingly, I am very sure that they took actively part in leaking the news of Kiko´s third pregnancy prematurely to the public in order to prevent the succession law from being changed (to allow women to ascend the throne). I think the pics taken after Hisahito´s birth (1, 2, 3) show them clearly happy and triumphant. It seems to me that at least Akishino has hopes that his elder brother will give in to the pressure and will step down in his favour. A German periodical quoted him in March 2010 with saying that he, in contrast to the crown prince, strongly resembled Emperor Akihito with whom he had, allegedly, entertained a "deep and comprehensive relationship" already during his childhood. In addition, Akishino declared his „readiness as the second son“. I find this very telling, especially as I have never before heard anybody say that Akishino, who was reported to have been rather unruly as a youngster (to put it politely), bore exceptional resemblance with his father. Imo, Akishino´s message here is quite clear: „I am like my father, the emperor. That means it is me who should rightfully follow after him, not my brother.“

So, if we speak from Akishino´s point of view, the story is probably not that sad... There have been reports about him showing signs of brotherly rivalry already many years ago (see the Vanity Fair article that I quoted earlier in this thread). I´d assume that, for him, the whole situation must be like a secret dream come true.

As for Kiko, she does seem to enjoy the high-profile position as mother of the heir and (maybe) future empress, but I´d suppose that her main reason for agreeing to a third pregnancy was something else. (Of course, this is just my guess. But then it is as good or bad as anybody´s. As far as people´s motives are concerned, we obviously are always dependent on speculation.) According to my personal view, Kiko is just another example of a chance lost and excellent talents gone wasted (like Masako). I have stated elsewhere in this forum that the „know how“ of „how to make a family“ seems to come from the commoner wives in the imperial family. (Michiko was the first Japanese crown princess ever to raise her children herself.) Every one of the three: Michiko, Masako and Kiko, had her own special contribution to make. Kiko has, imo, an exceptional talent to bring love and cheerfulness to the people around her, she loves peace and harmony and is an outstanding communicator. (It is a brilliant metaphor that she even knows sign language: yep, that princess has the ability of talking to the deaf!) But, our abilities are our weaknesses turned inside out. I think Kiko´s weakness consists in that she not only knows how to create peace and harmony but that she urgently needs them. I doubt that she would ever have survived (literally!) a hostile mother-in-law like the late Empress Nagako (that Michiko had to deal with). She cannot live without the approval of the people who are close to her. Accordingly, I suppose that her main reason for getting pregnant again was that she wanted to please her parents-in-law (namely the empress) and her husband.

I agree with Zonk and Marg in that everybody should always be cautious and make up their own mind on what to believe about the real events in the imperial family. There seems to be some sort of tradition of slanderous press campaigns against its members that started already before Masako (just remember the campaign against the empress in 1993 that left her unable to speak for some time). Still, I, for one, do believe that there is a rift and an ongoing quarrel in the imperial family. Subtle and non-so-subtle messages are being exchanged via press conferences that lead you to ask if the family members find it so absolutely impossible to privately discuss things that bother them as to make it necessary for them to put their message in a newspaper to get it across. It is, imo, a sad and depressing state of things. And here is where Kiko could have come into play: if her husband and her parents-in-law had asked her to find a way to bridge the gap and „translate“ between the crown couple and the rest of the family, I think she would have had the ability to do it. She would not do such a thing of her own accord. If the people close to her expect her to side with them, she will do that as she needs their approval. If we take a look at Kiko´s behaviour, it is to be supposed that it is exactly this what is being requested of her. (For example, it did not strike me as overly empathic when Kiko, on being asked about Aiko´s schoolproblems, answered that she hoped Aiko would ‘‘head in better direction.’’ To me this sounds as if the little princess had been caught stealing silver spoons...)

Kiko could have been an instrument of peace. Instead, she was used as an instrument of war: she was asked to produce a son in order to humiliate the crown princess. (This would not have been necessary. Kiko´s having a son could have been presented as an act of family solidarity – but in order to create this impression, the family would have had to present themselves as of the same mind in other matters also and stop that constant public bickering. This would also have meant to respect the marriage bond of the crown couple and Naruhito´s birth right: all that talk about „divorce“ and „stepping down“ should have been absolutely avoided.)

I do not know what Kiko feels. I hope she can be content with what she has because, in all likeliness, she really has not much of a choice. But I am convinced that we are all born with a certain purpose in life and that Kiko´s purpose is to bring about love, peace and unity. To use her as an instrument of discord and enmity means, to abuse her - however much applause and honour might be afterwards given to her as a reward. And, to me at least, it shows.

Kiko is still an admirably elegant princess who carries out her duties with grace, beauty and intelligence. But imo she has lost something that she had when younger and that I personally found simply adorable: a spontaneity, a love of life and laughter. (Her smile was famous as the „Kiko-chan“ smile, „little-Kiko“ smile.) Maybe those pics give you an idea of what I mean: wedding, collage, laughing
Nowadays there is sometimes an artificiality, a frozenness, a smugness, a haughtiness in her demeanour that I find quite deplorable. She still laughs sometimes, but, somehow, it is not the same anymore.

I am not saying that anybody else has to see what I am seeing. After all, it is only photos. Maybe it is just me. But I miss something.

So, also for Kiko: yes, sad story.
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  #215  
Old 09-16-2011, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
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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?
Kasumi, are you still busy searching for the source I have asked you to provide one week ago or what is the reason for your silence (only in this thread, not elsewhere)?
I´d seriously request you to either give me a source for what you have maintained, or else to withdraw your statement and explain how you came to make it in the first place.
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  #216  
Old 09-16-2011, 04:52 PM
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LMAO at this idea that Akishino and Kiko had their son as an act of war. So apparently unkind stories about Masako have to be false and leaked by the enemy, but unkind stories about Akishino, Kiko and the IHA have to be true. I highly doubt it and think the truth lies somewhere in between.
Akishino and Kiko probably had a third pregnancy to lift the burden off the entire Imperial Family and the IHA. The fact that she could do what Masako couldn't is not her fault nor is it Masako's; it just is what it is. The entire situation reminds me of the race to the alter of George IVs brothers in hopes that one of them would produce a child to be heir. Only in Japan the race was to produce a son and Kiko was the one able to do it.
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  #217  
Old 09-16-2011, 05:11 PM
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I can see it, ChiaraC. Her smile now seems tight.

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I am not saying that anybody else has to see what I am seeing. After all, it is only photos. Maybe it is just me. But I miss something.
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  #218  
Old 09-16-2011, 06:52 PM
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Only in Japan the race was to produce a son and Kiko was the one able to do it.
Another option, though, would have been for Akishino to not have had a third child but rather to have vocally and publicly supported his brother and sister in law. Before Hisahito was born there were signs that things were changing in Japan - polls showing the majority of people supported Aiko reigning after her father, sections of the media supporting the idea, etc. If Akishino hadn't had a son and the family stood united I think the most likely scenario would not have been the end of the Japanese monarchy but rather Aiko succeeding her father in due time.

I have a hard time believing Akishino and Kiko decided to conceive a child out of malice but I have an equally hard time believing it was done for purely altruistic reasons. And I think it will be very interesting to see how, (not if), the family dynamics and balance of power changes once Naruhito and Masako become the reigning couple.
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Old 09-16-2011, 07:58 PM
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The pressures on both couples must be enormous. An ordinary family puts subtle pressure on its members to behave in a certain way; this is an entire royal family plus all those courtiers.

Heartbreaking really.
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Old 09-16-2011, 08:11 PM
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It has been stated various times before that Akishino and his mother and father are conservative, and as conservatives they wanted to preserve the Imperial line by having a male become Emperor. Why should he support his brother if he does not agree with his stance? There are dozens of coulda woulda shoulda in this situaiton. Narahito could have left Masako alone back in the 90s. He could have divorced his wife and found another one who would produce an heir. Akishino could have sided with the progressives in supporting a female Emperor. We do not know what went on behind closed doors, whether Akishino and Kiko came up with the idea to get pregnant on their own, or they were approached by the IHA and the Emperor and Empress to attempt to have another child. Whatever it was somehow a Prince was finally born and it seemed to make everybody happy and close the book on the succession problems.
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