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  #221  
Old 09-17-2011, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by ChiaraC View Post
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.)
You cannot predict fertility. Kiko and Akishino had just as much pressure put on them to have a third child as Masako and Naruhito had to produce a second child. In 2002 the Chief Steward of the Imperial Household told them press that "frankly speaking he wanted the Crown prince and his wife to have a second child and the Akishinos to have a third child" Hisahito was born in 4 years later a few days before Kiko's 40th birthday. We have no idea how long they tried for a third child or if they had used fertility treatments which don't necessarily work the first time.

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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). 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“.
Japanese pregnancies are always announced early, Kiko's one with Hisahito was no different from Masako's 2 pregnancy announcements. They usually go along the lines of "is showing signs of pregnancy" which is announced very early into the pregancy well before the 12 week mark, and then the "is pregnant" announcement much later. December 11th (I was in Tokyo that day for an event so the date sticks!) the papers broke the "Masako is showing signs of pregnancy" she would have been a few weeks pregnant and then miscarried the first days of January, she was less than 8 weeks along.

Don't take too much credence in German periodicals as no German journalist has ever managed to get past the press office of the Japanese royals. So how could they quote anyone?!

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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.)
What absolute twaddle! Instrument of war!!!! Rubbish! Producing a son to humiliate the crown princess? Oh for goodness sake! A reality check on Kiko.

She has always been extremely popular, right from her engagement announcement. "Kiko-mania" was in full force. She was very much admired from the woman's magazines readers, hers and Akishino's relationship was 'romantic' and normal to the readers. They met at university, dated (they were seen around Tokyo is his VW Beetle, the traffic lights were he proposed for a while became a tourist site!) They had 2 children, Kiko continued her studies at university (groundbreaking since Japanese woman rarely continue with their education of a job after they marry and have children) Kiko has the same naturalness with people that Diana, Princess of Wales had and that added to her popularity. Kiko has always had a high profile and continues with that high profile.

Akishino is close to his father, but that's because he and his father share a common interest, both do scientific research. (Naruhito doesn't share that interest) It's Akishino who states in his birthday interviews that his father needs to have his official duties lessened (which they now have) The Akishinos are also very close to the former Princess Sayako, she married a friend of theirs from university whom she met at the Akishino's home. Sayako is very, very close to her parents, they broke with tradition to attend her wedding. Sayako gets on well with both her sisters-in-law so there is a connection there with all 3 women.

To answer another poster, the Emperor is not a conservative, infact he's actually quite progressive. As Crown Prince he made great changes in how his household would run, his children were the first royal children to be brought up by their parents and be educated solely in the Japanese education system. (no private tutors) As Emperor he did a major 'clean out' of old practises and the 'old guard', getting rid of various archaic posts. (until 1989 there was an staff member whose job it was to be the official Emperor's food tester!) The Emperor acknowledged his Korean ancestors in a speech (which horrified the ultra conservatives) At a palace garden party he told a right wing politician that Principals should not be forced to use "Kumigayo" (the Japanese national anthem which has WW2 overtones). He's certainly not a conservative!

Neither are the Akishinos, Kiko continued to study after she married and had children. They have broken with tradition and have sent Hisahito to the Ochamizu kindergarten rather than Gakushuin which educated all royal children. (According to them because Ochamizu is a 3 year program, Hisahito started there age 3 rather than Gakushuin which is a 2 year program. They wanted Hisahito to mix with other children) Mako is attending the Christian University that Akihito's former tutor Elizabeth Vinning helped found, rather than Gakushuin which both Akishinos attended and Kiko's father is a professor there.

The Japanese weren't 'coming round' to the idea of female succession but resigned to it. That's what was the prevailing view among those Japanese who commented on it. (Ultra conservatives didn't want it at all, and were pushing for the collatoral branches who were disenfranchised in 1947 to be reinstated for a male heir) With Kiko's pregnancy it was very obvious how little support female succession had that the parlimentary debate on it was postponed until after the birth. (with a male birth, the parliamentary debate disappeared altogether) Prior to Kiko's pregnancy the view tended to be " a female emperor is better than no emperor" so we'll accept it but would prefer a male one.
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  #222  
Old 09-19-2011, 11:30 AM
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Well, the discussion appears to be lively and provides diametrically opposite views on the topic. I for one refrain from categorical statements about Crown Princess Masako because it is impossible to form any valid arguments in her favour or against her. Akin to ink blots, the information available to TRF members and public at large leads to highly subjective perceptions/interpretations of Crown Princess Masako's condition and the situation surrounding the Crown Princely couple.
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  #223  
Old 09-20-2011, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by ChiaraC View Post

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.

. 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.
You sound like this is a very negative thing, but the motivations may be better than you suppose. Isn't it possible that Akishino is not out to displace his brother, but rather to ease his father's mind? And if Kiko wants to please her family, what is wrong with that?

The Emperor is aging and is not well; it's likely he has worried over the succession.

As for Aiko, I feel she will be better off if she does not gain the throne. With so much controversy over the possibility of her ever succeeding, imagine what it would be like if that should come to pass! The criticisms would be unbearable, she'd never do anything that would please people. JMO.
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  #224  
Old 09-20-2011, 03:32 PM
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I don't know but it seems like crown princess masako is in queen Marie antoinette's situation after a few years or marriage, MA married the their to the throne and soon after was pressured to have a child soon,when she then heard the news that her sister in law was pregnant before her, and made MA look bad because she had no child. Until the day that she gave birth to Madame royal Marie Therese Charlotte her happiness and joy despite the pressures of the French court, she became prevent again and the dauphin Louis Joseph was born and France had a baby prince born to the king. So what I'm trying to say is that maybe Naruhito and Masako should try for another child so that there could be happiness in the royal family and for masako too, maybe a baby could solve her problems and lift her depressing disease. ::whistles::I'm just saying ,they could just try.
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  #225  
Old 09-20-2011, 04:06 PM
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I would guess that they have been trying.
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  #226  
Old 09-24-2011, 03:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Charlotte1 View Post
You cannot predict fertility. Kiko and Akishino had just as much pressure put on them to have a third child as Masako and Naruhito had to produce a second child. In 2002 the Chief Steward of the Imperial Household told them press that "frankly speaking he wanted the Crown prince and his wife to have a second child and the Akishinos to have a third child" Hisahito was born in 4 years later a few days before Kiko's 40th birthday. We have no idea how long they tried for a third child or if they had used fertility treatments which don't necessarily work the first time.
O.k., so here we go again?
It seems to become a habit of yours to answer me on things I have never said. You say that fertility cannot be predicted, obviously bearing in mind the rather short space of time that passed between Chief Steward Yuasa´s request and Kiko´s pregnancy. But what I had actually said was: „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.“ Obviously, after Yuasa´s request, it was no longer a matter of having a child for the sake of having a child. And that means that I had been talking about the many years before. The Akishinos married on 29 June 1990, Mako was born 23 October 1991, Kako was born 29 December 1994. I hope you are not going to tell me that you actually believe that, after Kako, the Akishinos desperately, but vainly tried to produce another pregnancy for more than ten years? And that they were, by pure chance, finally successful in 2006 when Kiko was nearly forty?

It is also, of course, „absolute twaddle“ (as you might express it) that Kiko was under the same pressure to bear another child as Masako was. The child-bearing pressure on Masako had started to build before she was even married. For example, Masako had been given only one and a half month for her „bridal lessons“ (about Shinto, rituals, caligraphy, waka poems etc.), in contrast to Michiko´s three months, because it was thought of the highest importance that the wedding should take place as soon as at all possible. (As Masako was already 29 years when she married, there were concerns that she might be „too old“ to produce an heir.) Already before the wedding, the head gynecologist of the court, professor Shoichi Sakamoto, had been sent to the imperial bride in order to advise her on how to get pregnant quickly – not to exhaust herself and stay relaxed. But, already at that time, it was probably not that easy to stay relaxed...
The newspapers (serious as well as yellow press) were full of articles featuring Masako´s “true character”: maternal and home-loving or her presumed ability to change nappies. Even professor Sakamoto himself took the trouble of informing Miss Owada via the media that he would be most happy to deliver her hypothetical baby as early in the future as possible.

And finally, after the wedding, all hell broke lose: the media filled pages and pages with hot tips on how to have a boy. Masako was recommended to eat tofu, shells, octopus, all sorts of dairy, potatoes, almonds… Although the journalists had to admit that there was no guarantee as to the results they still insisted that it was „better than doing nothing”. In addition, Masako could not wear shoes without high heels or put her hands in front of her belly for a moment nor cancel a duty because of a cold without causing media rumours about her being pregnant. Finally, the number and frequency of „pregnancy headlines“ reached a point that made the usually serene crown prince feel compelled to address the issue and ask the media to stick to the facts. When, three years after the wedding, those facts were still not forthcoming, the media turned from giving good advice to speculating about the reasons for Masako´s supposed “infertility”. The American magazine “Newsweek” took up the issue in June 1996 but was not so much interested in the question WHY there was a problem but in how it could be solved – pragmatically, the authors recommended artificial insemination. This advice caused a scandal in Japan. It seemed unbearable to imagine that the future tenno might begin his life in a test-tube! The national shock culminated in a very nasty article I have discussed in detail
here (post 81: “An advice to an Asian princess”). Besides, as I have already described, from 1995 on, the crown couple were increasingly kept at home. So they did not even have much of a chance left to get their mind off the matter which probably intensified the feeling of being under pressure even more. Then followed the miscarriage, along with another media hype - not because of an official announcement, incidentally. The IHA in the beginning even refused to confirm the media reports about the pregnancy and said that the princess had simply caught a cold. But the frustrated media that had waited for this moment for years were not willing to heed the IHA officials: romantic pictures of Masako and Naruhito were being broadcast by all TV channels, newspaper headlines would blare: “The stork had been taking his time…” Masako´s parents were interviewed, obviously rather against their will. Her father Hisashi kept repeating that he had not heard anything about the supposed pregnancy. Masako´s mother Yumiko implored the journalists, with tears in her eyes, to please respect her daughter´s feelings: “If the reports were true, there would be no greater happiness on earth. But if they are false, Princess Masako will be only pained by them. I am very concerned about this…”

When the princess was finally recovered from the shock and the heartbreak of the miscarriage, she underwent, in all probability, fertility treatments (that are said to be highly stressful). Aiko´s birth might have given her a short break, but even that was not without a drop of bitterness:
while the announcement of the pregnancy had been received with joy by everybody, the birth of „only a girl“, caused, in contrast, a rather disappointed silence.

Accordingly, when, one and a half year after Aiko´s birth, Masako was urged to have her second child, it was clear that she was but being admonished to finally perform a task that she ought to have accomplished already years ago. The pressure that had been on her from her very first days as crown princess and that had already brought a lot of pain and suffering into her life was upon her once again. In contrast, when the Akishinos were told of Yuasa´s „hopes“ for their third child several months after, everybody could conceive that they were only being asked to step in because the crown princess had failed in what many saw as her most important task. They were not being reprimanded or admonished, they were solicited for their help. The difference can hardly be overlooked. Besides, even after that request the Akishinos were obviously not kept at home „to breed“. In 2005, for example, they attended the World Expo in Nagakute, Aichi prefecture, and went on an overseas trip to Luxembourg (on occasion of the funeral of the Grand Duchess Josephine Charlotte).
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  #227  
Old 09-24-2011, 04:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Charlotte1 View Post
Kiko and Akishino had just as much pressure put on them to have a third child as Masako and Naruhito had to produce a second child.
This is, incidentally, one of the instances when I am really having a hard time imagining that you actually believe what you are saying. It is one thing if somebody is simply lacking information. But I´d suppose that most of the facts I have mentioned here are more or less known to you. I cannot conceive how someone who is familiar with them would not know that asserting that Kiko „had just as much pressure“ on her as Masako to have another child, would be like saying that your weekend cottage is the same as Buckingham Palace, just because both of them are buildings.

And this is not just because I happen to disagree with you. If I take for example Aristocat´s point of view, especially as she expressed it in her
post 168, I do not agree with it either, but I have absolutely no problem to understand how someone can hold it. I know that there are people who believe that Masako is already fully recovered but is held back from doing her duties or that she is being given a downsized schedule against her will. As this has happened before (as I have described above), it is, of course, possible that it is happening again. But whatever the exact circumstances may be, I tend to believe that the princess is still not fully recovered. That means that, also from my point of view, Aristocat has a point when she says that Masako has been ill for years now. In our family, we have nobody suffering from depression but we do have somebody with an addiction. I suppose there are similiarities. I know what it means to let a sick person be „the center of everyone's life, making them adjust their lives for her sake and problems“, I know how much especially the children suffer, and I quite agree with Aristocat in that sometimes tough choices have to be made. This does not mean that I would judge the sick person but I would try to protect the health and sanity of the people around him/her, even if, to someone from the outside, my decisions might look somewhat heartless. The difference between Aristocat´s opinion and mine consists just in that, in this case, I do not believe Masako to be the problem. To remove her from the imperial family would, imo, help as much as taking pain relievers against tooth decay. (It helps to feel better, but only temporarily...) But in order to know if I am right or Aristocat, we would have to be able to watch the private life of the crown princely family. Obviously, this is impossible. So her guess is as good as mine (and, of course, the other way round).

But what often puzzles me in your statements, Charlotte, is that you seem to consciously ignore facts that ARE known. I have been wondering about this for a rather long time, again and again. It would not be obvious for someone who is not familiar with the subject, as you mention, of course, only the facts that back your opinion. But I often have a rather hard time believing that you, yourself, would not know that there are facts in existence that would contradict you, or, at least, balance your view, even if you do not mention them. I have tried to find a point that those puzzling statements have in common, and it seems to me that it is always about Masako being special somehow. Any opinion describing her as special in a way that would entitle her to either admiration or compassion seems to be absolutely unbearable to you. This impression I have received from reading a great number of your posts. I have many times rejected this view as it seems so completely absurd. (I personally think that it goes without saying that Masako is special. As well as Kiko, the empress, and, just for a change, Princess Takamado.) But, somehow, this impression keeps coming back.


To give the other members here an idea of what I am talking about
: Charlotte seemed to say in her last post that Masako is not special concerning the child bearing pressure as Kiko has, allegedly, had the same (as absurd as that may sound). Before, Charlotte said that Masako´s situation concerning custody of Aiko (in case of a divorce) was not worth mentioning, as all Japanese women are, allegedly, in the same situation, and that, although Masako is a hard worker, this would be nothing remarkable, as all Japanese students work hard anyway. It was seemingly so necessary for Charlotte to make those points quite clear that she peremptorily ignored the evidence pointing to Masako having been more of a hard worker than even most of her countrymen. Also, she completely ignored the contextual discussion.

An example
in another thread would be when Charlotte praises the Ben Hills book (that we have mentioned before in this thread ) because, as she says, she found out by reading it that „Masako in reality was very much the traditional, good, studious Japanese female“. I agree that the Japanese aspects of Masako´s personality are too often neglected and should, by all means, be taken into account. But from Charlotte´s decription of the book, you would think that by having been informed of Masako being more or less like the average Japanese woman (again, „nothing special“) you have already been given the gist of what Hills says about her personality. But, actually, you haven´t. To the contrary, Hills takes great pains to inform us that Masako´s character is rather complex and bears traits of her Japanese heritage as well as of the foreign countries where she passed parts of her childhood and youth. (Not surprisingly, by the way.) From Charlotte´s account, you would not suppose either that Hills quotes, for example, the mathematician William Bossert, then house-master of Harvard´s Lowell House with calling Masako „a bright, articulate woman who would have had no problem becoming a professor at a major US university“(p. 99f) or Masako´s thesis advisor, economics professor Jeffrey Sachs, with saying:“I was impressed with her poise, and her interest and her engagement and her determination to go on with graduate studies. She made an impression on me well before she was a princess that she was a rising star.“ (p.109)

I am not expecting you, Charlotte, to explain or even admit this. Obviously, if you want people to believe, for whatever reason, that Masako is not special in any way to earn her admiration, or compassion, it will not help your cause if people are aware of your intention. (And maybe you are yourself the first you want to convince.) But I really doubt if it makes much sense to have a discussion with someone who is, apparently, determined to cling to a certain view of things, even if that means that part of the facts have to be blocked out.
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  #228  
Old 09-24-2011, 04:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Charlotte1 View Post
Don't take too much credence in German periodicals as no German journalist has ever managed to get past the press office of the Japanese royals. So how could they quote anyone?
I have the impression that it is a highly cherished idea of yours that only Japanese journalists of the „inner circle“ ever have a chance to gather any reliable information about the imperial family (probably also assuming that they have no mouths to talk nor hands to write down their knowledge so that there would be no possibility of it ever spreading further ). Usually, I am most happy to explain where I have got my information from, which part of it I tend to believe and which not, and also, why. As you can see in this thread, I often give a link without being asked for it. (Usually, it depends quite simply on how much time I have.) But in this case I´d say: if you really go so far as to accuse a serious periodical of actually INVENTING quotes of Prince Akishino because you suppose them to be so desperately in need of something to base their article on, then, please, feel free.
Concerning your advice („Don't take too much credence in German periodicals“), thanks for the good intentions if there be any. But I really cannot conceive why I should take your word over that of a serious press article. I am well aware that periodicals are not infallible. But you are not even a periodical.
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Originally Posted by ChiaraC View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlotte1 View Post
The Japanese royals and their staff are not secretive [...]
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.
You do not seem tempted to accept my offer. I am not surprised. While you are always ready to criticize and doubt any sources that do not support your opinions, you hardly ever (if ever) give a source to back your own views. Obviously, you expect to be believed just because you say so, and in cases of emergency, you resort to rudeness and lots of exclamation marks. I am not impressed. Maybe it would improve your manners if you had to be afraid that somebody else would answer in the same style. If I am not doing it, it is not because of a lack of opportunity.
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Originally Posted by Charlotte1 View Post
Kiko and Akishino had just as much pressure put on them to have a third child as Masako and Naruhito had to produce a second child. In 2002 the Chief Steward of the Imperial Household told them press that "frankly speaking he wanted the Crown prince and his wife to have a second child and the Akishinos to have a third child" [my bold] Hisahito was born in 4 years later a few days before Kiko's 40th birthday. We have no idea how long they tried for a third child or if they had used fertility treatments which don't necessarily work the first time.
That is not correct. The chief steward, Toshio Yuasa, told the press in June 2003: "Frankly speaking, as grand steward of the Imperial Household, I want them [the crown prince and princess] to have another child" and some months later, in December 2003, shortly after Princess Masako had left the hospital where she had received treatment with a bout of shingles, he publicly said: „I strongly hope [the Akishinos] will have a third child.“ A little more than two years after that, Kiko was pregnant.
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Originally Posted by Charlotte1 View Post
The Japanese weren't 'coming round' to the idea of female succession but resigned to it. [...] Prior to Kiko's pregnancy the view tended to be " a female emperor is better than no emperor" so we'll accept it but would prefer a male one.
This is also wrong.
The overwhelming 86 percent that in January 2005 favored a reigning empress (according to a Asahi Shimbun survey) dropped somewhat after Kiko´s pregnancy became known. But in October 2006 (that means, after Hisahito´s birth) a nationwide Mainichi survey found that still 72 percent supported a female emperor. For lack of time, I am not going to discuss here why parliamentary debate was given up although there was still a majority of the people in favour of a change. I just want to state that it is incorrect to generally say that „the Japanese“ are against amending the succession law.

So, as I said, if I am not telling you that you are talking rubbish, it is not because of a lack of opportunity. It is simply because this is a style of communication that I do not enjoy. Also, I am fed up with repeating things that I have already said because you choose to misunderstand them or with discussing absurd questions like if Kiko was under the same pressure to have a child as Masako. My time in this forum is limited, and I´d like to spend it in a more expedient and enjoyable way in the future. That means that I may still occasionally talk about you and what you say if I may think that appropriate or necessary. But I am not going to answer you any more. If you should choose in the future to accuse me of having called the IHA a bunch of Darth-Vader clones, and if other members should choose to believe you instead of going back and rereading my posts, then so be it.
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  #229  
Old 09-24-2011, 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Al_bina View Post
Well, the discussion appears to be lively and provides diametrically opposite views on the topic. I for one refrain from categorical statements about Crown Princess Masako because it is impossible to form any valid arguments in her favour or against her. Akin to ink blots, the information available to TRF members and public at large leads to highly subjective perceptions/interpretations of Crown Princess Masako's condition and the situation surrounding the Crown Princely couple.
I do not think that it is hurting to speculate about the princess, if she is ill or not and
what is really happening „behind scenes“ etc. as long as we are aware that we are just speculating. But if you, Albina, choose to refrain completely from making any categorical statements you are, of course, quite on the safe side. (Incidentally, I am very intrigued by your idea regarding the ink blots. )
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Originally Posted by Mirabel View Post
You sound like this is a very negative thing, but the motivations may be better than you suppose. Isn't it possible that Akishino is not out to displace his brother, but rather to ease his father's mind? And if Kiko wants to please her family, what is wrong with that?
I have already explicitly said that I am not blaming Kiko. But I admit that I have not said whom I do blame, and that is because it is just not that easy. Of course, I have, like everybody else here (except Albina ) an opinion about who and what should preferably change. But I am also aware that there are reasons for those changes not happening and that those reasons do not consist in anybody having what would actually deserve to be called evil intentions. That is why I find this story, for the most part, rather tragic.

I have also come to realize that I should explain what I mean by saying that Kiko was asked to have a son „to humiliate the crown princess“. I am aware that this is a rather shocking statement and suppose that it would be good to say some more about my reasons for making it (which would include an answer to your question concerning "blame").
But, as usual, that is going to be rather lengthy , and I do not have any time left for it just now. But I promise that I will come back to this question and that this will be the very next thing I´ll be doing in this forum.
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I would guess that they have been trying.
I would guess so, too.
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Old 09-24-2011, 09:42 PM
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Aristocat has a point when she says that Masako has been ill for years now. In our family, we have nobody suffering from depression but we do have somebody with an addiction. I suppose there are similiarities. I know what it means to let a sick person be „the center of everyone's life, making them adjust their lives for her sake and problems“, I know how much especially the children suffer, and I quite agree with Aristocat in that sometimes tough choices have to be made. This does not mean that I would judge the sick person but I would try to protect the health and sanity of the people around him/her, even if, to someone from the outside, my decisions might look somewhat heartless.
That's precisely it!

I think though, that if Masako is sick, that the situation might in fact BE making her sick . Removing Masako would probably result in a more stable home life for Aiko rather than more family drama from Masako and the Crown Princely couple in general. Kiko is doing fine, the Crown prince is doing fine, the younger brother of the Crwn Prince is doing fine, while Masako keeps failing to get it together. The lifestyle might be oppressive, but at some point, you adjust or leave. I think too many people had too many unrealistic expectations of what she would end up doing as a Crown princess and they didn't take into consideration the realities of what would actually happen, as compared to the modern fantasies that they've had. Masako may be pulled in two directions and two different cultural expectations, then of course there is her natural inclinations that we should take into account.

Masako has had a lot of Western education and the problem with that high flying education is probably that people around her expected taht she might not want to fit into Imperial life, but instead push her to be more than 'just' a Consort and mother. She might in fact enjoy the life of having a child and be a wife, but again, modern culture keeps pushing women to be more and more and more and more and it could be the pressure itself from modern culture that is eating away at her mental health. She (and other crown princesses) are constantly being driven to be world movers and shakers and it looks like it's eating away at them, with the exception of Crown Princess Mathilde.

I wonder if Masako would actually enjoy being 'just' a wife and mother and let go of the pressure to be a high flying mover and shaker. Or if she would be happy being a mover and shaker, outside of the Imperial Family. You can't have it both ways and you can't have the best of both worlds without a huge price being paid. She at some point will have to participate in that decision and accept the consequences for it with no complaining. If she were to walk away, it would ruin her in Japan, but it would free her ot have a career; if she stays, she will end up living an honorable life and be a respected Crown Princess and eventual Empress Consort, no small thing and there is still plenty of room to make a difference.

There are going to have to be choices and and quickly, if in fact the Imperial Family is to survive and put a final end to all this domestic strife. By not doing anything, they are also enabling Masako's unhealthy mental state of mind. She isn't getting healthier from this and she isn't at all making things easier for those around her and it's probably having a horrible effect on her daughter.
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Old 09-25-2011, 04:40 AM
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We don't know if Kiko along with Masako was pressured to have another child. It is possible, that with no progress with Masako that the IHA did turn to Kiko and her husband to produce more children. Was it the same situation as Masako that had lasted over a decade? I think not. But I would think having such a weight and the hopes of Japan on you was horrible pressure for them.
My only problem is this idea that Kiko and Akishino producing an heir was somehow an afront to Masako and a personal insult from them to her. Not everything is about Masako; the Emperor and Empress had to be happy to finally have the situation alleviated.
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Old 09-30-2011, 03:31 PM
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That's precisely it!
I think though, that if Masako is sick, that the situation might in fact BE making her sick . Removing Masako would probably result in a more stable home life for Aiko rather than more family drama from Masako and the Crown Princely couple in general. [...]
Aristocat, I hope I have succeeded in getting across that I understand what you say and respect your opinion, but that I do not share it? As I said, to remove Masako from the imperial family would, imo, help as much as pain relievers against tooth decay. The situation with Masako is like the pain in your teeth: not bad in itself, but just a message that is telling you to go see your dentist. You can numb the pain, of course, and may feel better for a short amount of time. But your teeth will only get worse.
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Old 09-30-2011, 03:41 PM
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I have said I would explain why I said that Kiko was asked to have a son „to humiliate the crown princess“. This opinion is based on the statements that Akira Hashimoto, a former schoolmate and close friend of Emperor Akihito, made in public. I doubt that Hashimoto would say anything that the emperor might object to, and as Hashimoto´s comments are rather drastic, I do not suppose that the emperor would give his consent to Hashimoto making them if he did not agree with them.

The first statement was made in February 2006, shortly after Kiko´s pregnancy had become known. At the time, Hashimoto told AFP: „If the law is maintained for male-only succession, the birth of a boy would mean the imperial line would move to the younger brother's family. This would be unbearable for Princess Masako. She would be branded as useless and disqualified to be the crown princess.“ Hashimoto recommended Masako to "try to have another child" by resorting to any possible medical means. "If she does not want to do it, I would say she should divorce" the crown prince to give him a chance to produce more children, Hashimoto said.

If you are not informed about the history of the Japanese monarchy, you might think that Hashimoto simply stated the requirements of imperial tradition when he said that Masako would be „disqualified to be the crown princess“ if she did not produce an heir and that it would be „unbearable“ for her if the imperial line moved to the younger brother's family. But, actually, this is not the case. Although the present emperor as well as his father Hirohito were, in fact, the sons of empresses, their predecessors
from Emperor Ninkō to Emperor Taishō were the sons of concubines because the chief consorts of all the emperors in the nineteenth and early twentieth century were either barren or lost their children. Nevertheless, none of them was deemed unworthy to hold the position of crown princess or empress. If we take for example the wife of Emperor Meiji (who reigned 1867 – 1912), Empress Haruko: she never had children but still enjoyed an even higher status than her predecessors of several hundred years. She was bestowed the highest title of imperial consorts, kōgō, which until then had been reserved for consorts who were also daughters of emperors. She wore western clothes, accompanied her husband on official duties, and lent her support to charity work and women's education issues. For her time, Haruko (posthumously: Empress Shōken) represented the modern woman and set the standard of the modern empress, who is involved in state affairs. For example, when Emperor Meiji fell ill in 1888, she took his place in welcoming envoys from Siam, launching warships and visiting Tokyo Imperial University.

Regarding the second point, the succession moving to a younger brother´s family, we have to look a bit farther back than to Emperor Meiji. But although for more than 200 years now the chrysanthemum throne has been passing smoothly from father to son, this is an unprecedented phenomenon in the long history of the imperial family. As an example, we can take a look at Emperor Kōkaku who reigned from 1779 – 1817. He was born as the sixth son of Prince Kan'in-no-miya Sukehito who belonged to one of the collateral families which were eligible to succeed to the Chrysanthemum Throne in the event that the main line should die out. As neither his father nor his grandfather had been emperors, Emperor Kōkaku was not even a „shinnō“ (imperial prince) before the sonless and dying Emperor Go-Momozono hurriedly adopted him on his deathbed.

So, when Hashimoto says that Masako would be „disqualified to be the crown princess“ if she did not bear a male heir and that it would be „unbearable“ for her if the imperial line moved to the younger brother's family, it is clear that he is not talking about history or tradition as there is no precedent of a crown princess ever having been deemed unworthy to be the crown princess because she was barren, and as, on the other hand, there are lots of precedents of the succession line moving to a younger brother, a nephew or even to one of the collateral branches of the imperial family. Neither would I suppose that Hashimoto was stating what Masako actually felt. He is the close friend of the emperor, not of the princess, and in addition, I´d think that a friend of hers would not publicly hold a gun to her head as Hashimoto does: either a second child or divorce. So I suppose that Hashimoto says what the princess SHOULD feel, according to him and also according to his friend, the emperor. What I find especially shocking is the fact that he does this in the very moment when a male heir seems to be forthcoming.. They could be content and say: well, as Kiko is doing the job and as we will probably get from her what we so urgently wish for, we are o.k. with Masako relaxing a bit. But they do not. Quite to the contrary. According to Hashimoto, Kiko´s pregnancy is not meant to take the pressure off Masako but should make it even worse. Obviously, he hopes that now the ailing crown princess will feel compelled to compete with her fertile and dutiful sister-in-law, no matter what that would mean for her health. And this is what I allude to when I say that Kiko´s pregnancy was used as “an instrument of war”. If you listen to Hashimoto, you may well get the impression that the intention to force the crown princess to have another child by putting her to shame is at least as important as the fact that Kiko herself might actually produce a potential heir to the throne.


At the time of his first statement, Hashimoto added that divorce would be “impossible” considering that the crown couple love each other. So I´d suppose that when he talked about the possibility of divorce, he was not yet absolutely serious but just intended
to strengthen the pressure on the crown princess to have another child. But some time later, probably as Masako had finally reached an age that would convince most people that she had no chance left to fall pregnant if she tried ever so hard, Hashimoto wrote a book about the imperial family in which he advised Crown Prince Naruhito to either divorce Masako or else, to renounce his claim to the throne. (Hashimoto has written several books about the imperial family and his opinion is quoted in this article, Google-translation of the article is to be found here.) Again, I cannot conceive that the emperor would allow his friend to express such a radical opinion in public if he did not share it.
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Old 09-30-2011, 04:03 PM
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You sound like this is a very negative thing, but the motivations may be better than you suppose. Isn't it possible that Akishino is not out to displace his brother, but rather to ease his father's mind? And if Kiko wants to please her family, what is wrong with that?

The Emperor is aging and is not well; it's likely he has worried over the succession.

As for Aiko, I feel she will be better off if she does not gain the throne. With so much controversy over the possibility of her ever succeeding, imagine what it would be like if that should come to pass! The criticisms would be unbearable, she'd never do anything that would please people. JMO.
Now I´ll try to answer the question, Mirabel, who I would blame and for what exactly. In order to explain that, I´ll take a closer look at the conflict in the imperial family, at least at part of it. I will not discuss the different visions that the emperor and the crown prince hold concerning the monarchy and the role of the tenno and his family. As I have already said in my former posts, this plays an important role in the conflict and should not be underrated. But for now, I will leave that aside because else things would get too complicated. I will also refrain from discussing the social and political aspects of the succession law. That means I will NOT ask
if “a girl would have been better for Japan” as David McNeill, a journalist resident in Tokyo, assumed in an article that was written shortly after Hisahito´s birth, simply because my post would get too lengthy - not because that would not be relevant. (For example, I think that it does, in fact, make a difference that the tenno who is in several respects a rather liberal man – for a Japanese emperor, mind you, not generally speaking – shares the opinion of Japan´s small, but powerful ultranationalist minority, as far as the question of male-only succession is concerned. But, as I said, it would get too complicated if I wanted to include that aspect.)


So, we are simply facing a family who is confronted with the lack of an heir and is setting different priorities in dealing with this problem. I have found several sources saying that the emperor is adamant concerning the preservation of male-only succession and that he thinks that this should be accomplished by whatever means. The crown prince, on the other hand, has once stated that he understands the importance of an imperial heir but that he still would ask people to give his wife some peace. I would not doubt that, until Aiko´s birth, the crown couple did everything in their power to have children. But when Aiko was finally born and they were blessed with the birth of, at least, one precious child, they were so deeply grateful that they wanted to give her the very best conditions to healthily and happily grow up. I´d also suppose that the crown prince noticed already at the time that his wife was a bit overwhelmed by the tasks of taking care of a baby and tending to her duties (a phenomenon that also commoner working mothers with babies experience). He foresaw that, if she were forced to have another child before Aiko was two or three years, she might not have sufficient energy for two children plus her imperial obligations, and Aiko would probably be the loser in this situation. Even if that would heighten the risk that there might be no male heir for the throne, he was not willing to pay this price. The individual well-being and healthy growth of his child was more important to him, even if she was „only“ a girl. When Aiko was one and a half years, Masako said in public: “The very first years are said to be very important for a child. Accordingly, I want to carefully watch over Aiko as she grows and support her.” According toYoko Kobayashi and Martin Fritz (who have written the book about the princess that I have already mentioned), Masako felt deeply grieved that the emperor and the empress seemed to think that it was not worth while to spend so much time on Aiko as she was only a girl. Masako felt that her human dignity as well as that of her daughter was being violated by this attitude, and her husband supported her.

That does not mean, however, that the crown couple did not want more children. A friend of theirs told Fritz and Kobayashi that they did intend to have more children but just wanted to wait until Aiko would be two or three years. Accordingly, at the beginning of 2003, when Aiko was one year, a conflict arose, as Fritz and Kobayashi report: the emperor, along with the empress and IHA officials, decided that the crown couple should have their second child NOW. When prince and princess did not react, the pressure exerted on them was gradually being increased: first, in summer 2003, Chief Steward Toshio Yuasa publicly requested them to have another child and finally, in December 2003, he asked the Akishinos to produce an heir. (He needed not have done that in public if it was not intended also as an reprimand towards the crown princely couple.) Afterwards, when the crown princess had fallen ill, she said that she had been “feeling bad” since spring 2003. I wonder if that “bad feeling” did not have a lot to do with the pressure to have a second child that must have started around that time. I find it depressing to think that the crown princess might have had more children if only her environment had had a bit more patience with her. But, as it happened, three days after little Aiko had celebrated her second birthday, her mother was hospitalized with a bout of shingles, an illness that is often induced by severe stress. In the beginning of 2004, the crown princess was so ill that she was, very often, unable to even sleep or eat. Another pregnancy, it seemed, was clearly out of the question. We do not know if during that time the child bearing pressure stopped, and if so, when it did start again. But I´d suppose that the crown couple did not try for another child (which would, in all probability, have meant fertility treatments, that are said to be highly stressful for the woman´s body) at least until the beginning of 2006. What they did afterwards, we have no means to know but, at least, it is clear that whatever they did, it was not successful.

In the meantime, emperor and empress had taken measures to achieve their goal: they had asked the Akishinos to have another child. As they complied and had a boy, that was an event that had consequences for the crown couple. Before Kiko´s pregnancy became known, there had been moves to amend the law, so that Princess Aiko would have been allowed to succeed her father on the throne. Of course, one could argue like you do, Mirabel, that Aiko “will be better off if she does not gain the throne” and, imo, you are right in more than one respect. In terms of happiness, I doubt that it is an enviable position to be the tenno, even if you do NOT happen to be the first female tenno after several centuries. But then, I´d suppose that most members of TRF are aware that being royal is not about having fun all day but about serving your country. If Prince Naruhito did not see it like that, I am convinced he WOULD abdicate. But he has a vision of how he wants to preserve the Japanese monarchy for the 21st century and he is probably biding his time to realize this vision. Accordingly, it does make a huge difference to him, if he will be the one to educate the future heir and teach him/her what he is aiming at, so that this heir would be able to understand, appreciate and continue Naruhito´s life work. If he is bereaved of that possibility, he will probably feel this as a severe loss. Having said that, I will add that imo he and his wife have to accept this loss. It is not up to the imperial family to change the succession law or to refrain from changing it, and if Naruhito´s brother chooses to have another child, for whatever reason and by whatever means, the crown prince has, imo, no right to interfere or to hold grudges against Akishino, even if his brother´s decisions have disagreeable consequences for him (which they certainly have). But, on the other hand, I also think that the emperor who has exerted a lot of pressure on the crown couple in order to preserve the succession law unchanged and who has, with the help of Prince and Princess Akishino, at last gained his end, should also respect this very law that excludes Princess Aiko from the line of succession, but that decrees her father to be first in line right after the emperor. As I have explained, it seems to me that the emperor is trying to force his son to either step down or to divorce his wife. But Japan is a democracy, which means that even the emperor has to satisfy the laws. It is not up to him and his personal taste to determine who should follow after him, not even if Naruhito were mentally ill or had committed a crime. In any case, it is up to the diet to decide about the succession. Neither does Akihito have the right to tell the crown couple to divorce if they love each other, especially as the male heir he has been asking for has already been born.
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Old 09-30-2011, 04:27 PM
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So, what I want to say is that I am not blaming anybody for Hisahito´s birth, nor for the fact that his gender may have been predetermined by medical means (which I, for one, do not doubt in the least). If the Japanese people really want an empress (or, at least, a succession law that would not permanently re-create a succession crisis...), they themselves have to manage somehow to make the necessary political changes. But I do blame the emperor and empress for trying to break the spirit of their eldest son. You have asked earlier, Mirabel, what it would take to help Masako recover. I answered: meaningful work. I will add something: it would take in-laws who are not doing their very worst in order to get rid of her. Even for a woman who is not depressive it must be soul-destroying to constantly bear the false smile of in-laws who want her to divorce her husband and leave her daughter behind while she is not even allowed to loudly scream but instead obliged to try and politely smile back. I am myself not at all depressive but if I had to do that, I am really not sure how many of those meetings it would take to make me mentally ill.

I am not blaming Kiko, I already have said that. I think that as her husband agrees with his parents, there would not be much she could do to change the situation. I AM blaming Akishino, not for having a son “on demand”, but for fuelling the conflict between his father and his brother. I would need another post to explain this in detail. I will limit myself to saying that he has shown already early in his life signs of brotherly rivalry: he mocked his brother because of Naruhito´s difficulties to find himself a bride. Considering the fact that the crown prince really had a hard time of it (while Akishino enjoyed not only more freedom than his brother but also seems to have made good use of it, having no problems apparently to find himself partners, with or without marriage), I think that was a rather cruel joke. In the years from 2004, Akishino has repeatedly said things in his press conferences that were critical of his elder brother or that showed that he´d like to upstage him. (I have mentioned one example in my post 214.) This fact gains even more weight if you consider that members of the IF are so protected from the press that it is usually very easy for them to say something uncompromising if they choose so. Besides, I doubt that Akishino is helping his father by this behaviour. I am convinced that the emperor is also suffering from the conflict and that he would be better off, if he were being supported in an attempt to make peace with his eldest son. Of course, nobody expects Akishino to tell his father that he is wrong. But there are many small things that the prince could have done during the years to promote peace and that he failed to do. To give just one example, on his birthday press conference in 2006, he could easily have thanked the crown couple for their congratulations and the visit they made to see newborn Hisahito. You can bet that the media that were (and are) very sensitive concerning any sort of comment concerning the relationships between the IF members would not have failed to notice even such a seemingly trivial comment. Akishino, in his moment of triumph, could quite easily have afforded to make it. But neither he nor his wife did mention the crown prince and princess even once during their description of Hisahito´s birth and the events surrounding it.

You do not have to agree with me, of course. But although I like nearly all the members of Akihito´s family, Akihito himself, his wife, children, children-in-law and grandchildren, there is this single exception: I doubt that I will ever get to be fond of Akishino.

Although it should be clear by now whom I mainly blame, I´d like to add that I am not intending to paint everything black and white. The situation around Princess Masako tends to create very polarized opinions. Rather often it gets being summed up in terms of “good” versus “bad” (not only in this forum). People use to say things like: “If only x would do this and that/would stop doing this and that, everything would be just fine.” I suppose that also my opinion will be read in this way and that probably nothing I could do would prevent that. But, at least, I will do my best. I think that, if emperor and empress are actually intending to force their son to either divorce his wife or to abdicate (which I believe), they are clearly wronging him. But that does not mean that they are “evil” or even have bad intentions. Both are remarkable personalities. I am very impressed by many things that they have accomplished for the nation and for their family, and I am aware that they both have led a life that was by no means easy. I would also say that, taking a look at their biographies, there can be found several elements that would explain their attitude in this conflict, even if they are not sufficient to fully justify it (in my opinion). Still, I admire and even like both, the emperor as well as the empress. In addition, I think that it is simply tragic that the crown prince and princess did not have more children. That is nobody´s fault and just bad luck. But for this one thing, all members of the imperial family would probably be much happier today.
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Old 09-30-2011, 09:28 PM
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the best situation would have been for Naruhito to not have married Masako. I honestly think it is too late to just "get rid of her" and "send her off somewhere to dwell in it"
The immediate problem of there being no heir has been alleviated, though I think its dangerous to just rely on one boy and not have a potential back up. Kiko shouldn't be called upon to have anymore children, she has done the best she can. I assume that her and Masako are the youngest women in the family, so lets just hope that Aiko will marry and have a son and perhaps Hisahito will have a son as well.
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Old 10-01-2011, 06:50 AM
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Even if Aiko (or Mako or Kako, for that matter) had TEN sons, under the current law it would not help the succession in the least. That is exactly the problem. If Hisahito produces no son, for whatever reason, he will be in BIG trouble.
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Old 10-01-2011, 07:11 AM
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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.
Kasumi, it won´t help to ignore me. If things are as I am afraid they are, I am not going to just let you get away with this.

When I read your statement that Ben Hills „was sued in court for defamation, lost his case and had to appologize in written form“, I was very surprised because I had never heard of that. And I thought that I should have. His book was international headlines, the protest of the IHA against it was international headlines, and the death threats against Hills were international headlines, too. I thought that it should have been rather difficult to miss a court case in this matter and a written apology.

Also, in my moment of surprise, I suddenly remembered an incident that had happened in the „Saudi Princesses“-thread. I usually do not read it but happened to drop in one day and found Lenora asking about the book „The Princess" by Jean Sasson (post 108). You, Kasumi, answered that the book „was already discussed at TRF several times. It's not reliable.“ and gave a link for further information (post 110). I do not know that much about Saudi Arabia, but curious person that I am, I took a look at the link provided and found that, according to my impression, it raised more questions than it answered. I said so in the forum, politely asking you where those discussions that you had mentioned, were to be found (post 111). (I had already taken a look at the previous pages of the thread, but none of my questions had even been put there, much less discussed.) I never got an answer from you. Although I tried, I was not able to find them on my own (even with google). At last, I let it be. I do not know the Saudi Arabian forum well, so it was possible that I just did not know where to look for those discussions. On the other hand, already at the time I entertained the faint suspicion that you might have „invented“ them, in order to back up your assertion that the book was „not reliable“. Maybe you just did not want to have your opinion discussed and thought this an easy way to gain your end.

Accordingly, when I read about the „defamation suit“ against Hills that I had never heard of, I thought it not absolutely impossible that it might be sort of a regular strategy of yours to make up „facts“ and state them in an authoritative tone in order to „prove“ your opinion. On the other hand, you never know. There is such a lot of news every day that it is inevitable to miss out on some of them. So I asked you for a source. But until the present day, more than three weeks later, I am waiting for an answer. I have myself tried to find something via google, but in vain. Of course, you are still free to provide a source if you can. (If another member of this forum should know something concerning this matter, he/she would naturally be most welcome to share it.)

But, according to the information that is available to me at present, I have to conclude that you have deliberately posted incorrect information in this thread, in the hopes that if you presented it with sufficient boldness and indignation (which you indeed did), nobody would dare to ask any further. In this simple way, you might have thought to succeed in silencing a discussion that did not agree with you. It can happen to everybody to make a mistake concerning a date or a detail, or to simply not be informed about something happening. (I know that from my own experience.) But I really cannot conceive how a sane person could invent a complete lawsuit, outcome included, without being aware of it.

Accordingly, I am obliged to tell you that, if this should be true (and it very much looks like it), I would be absolutely unable to appreciate this sort of behaviour. It is highly unfair towards the other members of this forum who come here for the very purpose of discussion and it betrays the trust of those who tend to unsuspectingly believe things if only they be asserted with sufficient emphasis.

If this should be a habit of yours, please be warned. In other forums, nobody may notice. But from now on, every time when anything you say in the Japanese forum should sound fishy to me, I will ask you for a source. And if you refuse to answer me then, I will remind people of this post here.
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Old 10-01-2011, 11:51 AM
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ChiaraC,I completely agree with you...I am not an expert on royalty so I trust people who post information on this forum if they provide sources that verify their story...however I also noticed that some individuals like to gossip and make up things they don´t know for sure...it is permitted to speculate on certain topics if you don´t know the truth but deliberately changing facts to defame someone is not only completely unfair and perfidious but I am sure it also violates the rules of TRF...
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Old 10-01-2011, 12:16 PM
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And, it's also very different to say that one is uncertain of a piece of information and ask if anyone else knows a source for it, rather than to state something is true without a source.

ChiaraC, your next to last post was so informative, I've read it a couple of times. Thank you. Posts like those are the reason I love the forums.
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