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  #461  
Old 02-23-2012, 09:35 AM
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Well, I suppose the emperor is the „Emily Brontë“-type of person. I think that I have read in a biography about the author that when she fell terminally ill she refused to lie down or reduce her workload. (That must have been very hard to watch for her family.) When she finally did lie down she died very quickly – on the same day if I remember right.

The problem is imo that if you ask the emperor for his wishes, he would probably never want to reduce his engagements. After he recovered from pneumonia last year, he said that he never felt his imperial duties as a burden (commenting on Akishino´s idea of a retirement age, I think). On the other hand, things seem to have come to a point where his life may definitely get shortened if he refuses to rest more. Imo, that is a real problem (that not only royals face, incidentally). On one hand, people surrounding Emperor Akihito may feel that they have to do whatever necessary to preserve his life, on the other hand they quite naturally also desire to respect his wishes.

More pictures of the family on occasion of the crown prince´s birthday (You can make 1 and 2 bigger by clicking on them):
1
2 (Here is also one pic of the press conference.)
3
4

I have found a comment that gives further details regarding this pic that has already been posted by Iceflower:
Crown Prince Naruhito (C) and Crown Princess Masako (L) teach their daughter Princess Aiko using "hyakunin isshu" playing cards during a photo session at their Akasaka Palace in Tokyo February 12, 2012.
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  #462  
Old 02-23-2012, 05:14 PM
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I think that Princess Aiko is a tense, nervous child. Look at her arms when she's looking at the book with her father. I find the first picture of the group interesting in that both Masako and Aiko are sitting looking ahead with their knees pointing away from Naruhito. Some of the pictures look very staged and artificial, although I do agree that Masako looks better. Some of her smiles look genuine.
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  #463  
Old 02-23-2012, 05:18 PM
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It was a photo op, of course the pictures were staged.
  #464  
Old 02-23-2012, 05:26 PM
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Well, obviously. Perhaps what I meant is that there's something that appears fake and forced to me. All formal pictures are staged, but some appear more staged than others. Naruhito's the only one who looks natural. But then, he's a lot more used to this sort of thing.
  #465  
Old 02-23-2012, 05:31 PM
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I'm sure Aiko and her parents were as always given instructions where and how to keep their hands and feets etc. The photo must express symmetry and harmony, I presume. :)
  #466  
Old 02-23-2012, 05:33 PM
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the prince will now share birthday with the little swedish princess
  #467  
Old 02-24-2012, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josefine View Post
the prince will now share birthday with the little swedish princess
Yes, that is nice. Prince Naruhito will probably have been delighted by the news. I am sure that he has fond memories of Crown Princess Victoria´s visit to Japan in 2001. By then, Princess Masako was well advanced in pregnancy and awaiting the birth of their only child, Princess Aiko. Happy times...
  #468  
Old 02-25-2012, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirabel View Post
I wish I knew how the Emperor feels about it.
Does he wish his duties reduced?...
During his 2009 press conference His Majesty had expressed his will to perform his official duties in full extence. I believe his intention hasn't changed since then.
  #469  
Old 03-01-2012, 04:47 PM
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The crown prince and princess on their way to visit the emperor at the hospital today

The crown princess

The crown prince and princess at the hospital (Click to enlarge)
  #470  
Old 03-01-2012, 04:56 PM
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It's really amazing how little Masako has changed over the years, at least as far as the physical appearance is concerned.
Nice to see the crown princely couple; it's unfortunately quite a rare treat.
  #471  
Old 04-08-2012, 09:15 AM
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A Bulgarian parliamentary delegation headed by National Assembly Speaker Tsetska Tsacheva will pay an official visit to Japan between 8 and 12 April 2012. Tomorrow, Tsetska Tsacheva is to have an audience with Crown Prince Naruhito. (Source)

On April 11th – 13th Bahraini ruler King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa will visit Japan at the invitation of Emperor Akihito. (Source) Although the Bahraini court said in a statement that "The King will explore ways of promoting bilateral relations with Japan's Emperor, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and a number of Japanese officials," I think (I hope ) Prince Naruhito will meet the king, on behalf of the emperor.

On Friday, the head of the Crown Prince's Household adressed the state of Crown Princess Masako's health, quoting a statement released by her medical team.

Quote:
The crown princess is ''in a situation where her health conditions can easily worsen due to accumulated fatigue,'' said the statement released by grand master Kyoji Komachi. [...] But Komachi also said, ''It does not mean that the crown princess' conditions are getting worse. I would like people to warmly watch the crown princess.''
House of Japan

Quote:
Her medical team said the Crown Princess should take sufficient rest before slowly expanding her activities beyond private affairs. Komachi released the statement after telling a news conference last month that the Crown Princess' health is unstable, stirring a media controversy due mainly to a lack of detail.
Japan Times

It is no news that the princess is still not well. Otherwise we would have been seeing more of her lately. And while we should probably feel grateful that they care to say anything at all, it really seems to me that they should consult an expert on communication concerning the way they handle their public statements. I am not surprised that "a lack of detail" would have caused a media controversy last month but I do not understand how this latest statement could in any way help matters. I am sure that those who have been closely watching events during the last years would be enabled by now to write that sort of statement themselves. It is ALWAYS saying that the princess is working to regain her health and needs more time.

I, for one, do not doubt in the least that she is working to regain her health as from time to time there is sort of a "surprise appearance" of hers, like last year, during the emperor´s hospital stay, when she joined her husband on an official engagement or when she attended the family´s New Year luncheon last minute. This year she accompanied her husband on his visit to his hospitalized father while last year she had been criticized for not having visited her father-in-law in hospital. But it seems that this has been as much as she is presently capable of. From the outside, I receive the impression that those efforts rather serve to exhaust her than to fill her with new self confidence and courage.

But maybe I expect too much of the doctors if I want them to explain things in a way that I can understand. A dear friend of mine was battling depression as a young woman and had a severe relapse two and a half years ago. There was a trigger for it (her husband had a minor accident) but nothing that would have actually been sufficient to explain the extremity of her emotions, let alone that she would not get better for nearly two years. Only recently, since last autumn, she has gradually been coming back to herself, for no special reason it seems. (She has been receiving treatment and such but she had that before and it did not seem to have much effect - as far as I could notice, at least.) At present, she feels brilliant and is full of self confidence. Amazing.
But obviously impossible to explain to someone who is not a doctor (including myself). As her friend, I feel relieved but also puzzled.
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"In order to make the area inhabitable again, we face the difficult problem of removing radiation." - Emperor Akihito

(Following recent incidents, I would like to refer anybody who may think the emperor´s statement obvious or redundant to this thread, post #682.)
  #472  
Old 04-08-2012, 05:54 PM
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I'm always glad to see Masako out and about-seems it's a rarity and even the brief sightings are welcome. I would hope that she would know that even though she is "out of sight" for much of the time, she's certainly not forgotten by her admirers, and that there are many good thoughts and wishes that go out to her as she is recovering her health.
  #473  
Old 04-08-2012, 07:05 PM
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The brain and mind are extremely complex, and who can understand another's soul? From one of the statements, it appears that the CP is attending to some private events with the doctors' blessings. As nice as it is to see Masako "out and about", it's also good to know that she's being careful with her activities. If we really knew what her problems were, perhaps we'd be amazed that she's able to make public appearances at all.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiaraC View Post
  #474  
Old 04-09-2012, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Doctors treating the Princess Masako issued a statement reporting on health status
Los médicos que tratan a la princesa Masako emiten un comunicado informando sobre s | Realeza | Noticias hola.com

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  #475  
Old 04-09-2012, 03:28 PM
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Wonder what will happen with Masako in case the Emperor dies in the near future which wouldn´t happen unexpected. I´m sure for this situation the Royal household has already taken precautions. I feel that Masako might only attend the enthronement festivities and then disappear from the scene again (possibly forever....)
I really hope it won´t be published one day that she was totally healthy but they didn´t want her to ever appear in public again for some reason and therefore locked her up in the palace....
Wonder what she´s doing all day, all her talents go to the waste - it´s really a tragedy and the whole world can watch it.....
  #476  
Old 04-10-2012, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefanie View Post
I really hope it won´t be published one day that she was totally healthy but they didn´t want her to ever appear in public again for some reason and therefore locked her up in the palace....
I am convinced that if that were true, Naruhito would not fail to inform the public about it on his very first day as emperor. But, unfortunately, I believe things to be more complicated. I do believe that the princess is suffering from a depression. But I suspect that she is not allowed to do what might help her most because that would be against the royal rules. Of course, I do not know what exactly the princess would need to recover. But I suppose that it would help a lot if she would be given some time out of the palace, out of royal life.

In 2004, the crown princess was allowed to stay for four weeks at her parents` holiday home in Karuizawa with her daughter and her mother. Naruhito joined them whenever he could get away from his duties. When the crown princess arrived, she was completely apathetic, towards the end of her stay she began to have glimpses of her old self and her former active nature became visible again. But then she was obliged to go back to the palace and had a severe relapse (which drove her husband to call the public for help).

I am aware that it would be a problem for any monarchy to do without their crown princess, to let her stay in her parents´ holiday home or at some foreign university. But I suppose that most monarchies would be more flexible concerning what they would allow, especially if they knew that it would be necessary for medical reasons.
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"In order to make the area inhabitable again, we face the difficult problem of removing radiation." - Emperor Akihito

(Following recent incidents, I would like to refer anybody who may think the emperor´s statement obvious or redundant to this thread, post #682.)
  #477  
Old 04-11-2012, 10:26 AM
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Noooooo, talk about a distortion of information to fit a sterotype!!!!

Masako's health began to decline in late 2003, she cancelled a number of public engagements. In December 2003 she was hospitalised with shingles, after she was released her health did not improve. Her parents were living in the Netherlands as Masako's father had been appointed to the International Court of Justice (he's still there), Masako's mother was so worried about her daughter's health that she returned to Japan and took her daughter to the family private villa in Nagano. (there was no 'allowed' about her, her mother came, collected Masako and Aiko and they went.) The Imperial Family also have a villa in Nagano, but Masako didn't stay there, when Naruhito visited on weekends, he did so with an entourage and so they stayed at a local hotel as there wasn't room in the Owada's villa) This occured in April 2004 (the IHA press office released information that Masako and Aiko had gone to Nagano to stay with Masako's mother) Masako didn't return to her 'old self" (who writes this stuff, the woman was suffering badly from depression, she wasn't going to snap out of it in 4 weeks!) At the end of April Masako's mother had to return to the Netherlands and so Masako returned to Tokyo (she wasn't ordered back!) Masako could barely care for herself, let alone Aiko, without Mrs Owada they needed to return.

Mrs Owada was worried enough about her daughter to also use her networks to find a psycharist for her. One was found outside the Imperial Household agency doctors, as far as I know he's still treating her. When Masako and family went to the Netherlands for a holiday at the invitation of Queen Beatrix, Masako's psycharist also made the trip. Much was made of it, but he was one of 20 people who accompanied them and stayed in a hotel, the royals stayed in Queen Beatrix's private castle. There was a suggestion at the time that Queen Beatrix invited them since she really understood depression as he husband had suffered from it and so she reached out to Masako.

Masako didn't have a severe relapse when she returned to Tokyo (in May 2004), infact she was seen horse riding at the Asakasa estate where they live! But with depression, people have good days and bad days, Naruhito spoke out for his wife because he wanted to. He could see that she was ill and understood the pressure she had been under. Since then the regular updates we get tell us that Masako takes medication, she receives counselling and gets 'fatigued' probably on her bad days. We don't get a lot of information since Masako herself spoke out how annoyed she was with the media coverage of his miscarriage. This is her privacy the public are invading and the press office officials try to balance that with throwing out a few crumbs of information about her condition every so often.

Masako seems to have made the decision to devote herself to her daughter, she was attending school everyday with her for over a year. That's now stopped, but it did take up much of Masako's time, she's also active in the school PTA, well she attends the meetings! If Masako needs to allocate what she spends her energy on, fulltime royal duties are not on her agenda in the near future.

Masako does spend time 'out of the palace' and that's what she was criticised for a few years back, she was well enough to be seen around Tokyo but not do official work. She, Naruhito and Aiko spend time at the various Imperial villas where life is fairly relaxed (the Japanese Balmoral if you like), each March they ski in Nagano, (again criticisim as at the height of her illness a few years back she was seen skiing)
  #478  
Old 04-13-2012, 12:42 PM
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I have told Charlotte1 some time ago that I would not answer her posts anymore. (For the reasons please see this post and for further details the pages 8 - 12 of that thread: "Criticisms of the Crown Princess and her family".)

But I think that some people who read this thread here may be interested in my source for the above description concerning the events leading to Prince Naruhito´s famous press conference in 2004. It is the German book “Prinzessin Masako – Der gefangene Schmetterling“ („Princess Masako – The encaged butterfly“), published in 2005. The authors are Martin Fritz, correspondent of the German public TV station ARD, and Yoko Kobayashi who works as a free-lance journalist in Tokyo. They say that they got a lot of their information from friends of the crown prince and princess who did not get the imperial couple´s official permission to speak but who are so concerned and worried about the overall situation that they decided “at their own risk” to talk to the two journalists, on the condition of anonymity. That the authors really got their information from these friends, is, obviously, something that they cannot prove under the circumstances. It is up to everybody to decide if they think them credible. Having read the book, I can say that neither the style of writing nor the contents give the impression of yellow press and that someone who works for the ARD has definitely a reputation to lose.

The book is, unfortunately, not available in English but I have summarized it for this forum, to be found in this thread. The relevant part for Masako´s stay at her parents´ holiday home and the prince´s motives for speaking out is “Time to go home”.

Due to recent events , I´d like to explicitly say that everybody who is interested in my sources is always most welcome to ask me for them. I often post them of my own accord. But sometimes when my time is limited I have to choose between posting without a source or not posting at all. Especially when I am dealing with a matter that I have addressed before in this forum, I will probably decide in such a case to post without a source. I always make efforts to write my postings to the best of my knowledge but, of course, I make absolutely no claims to infallibility. If you doubt or are just curious, please feel always free to ask me.
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"In order to make the area inhabitable again, we face the difficult problem of removing radiation." - Emperor Akihito

(Following recent incidents, I would like to refer anybody who may think the emperor´s statement obvious or redundant to this thread, post #682.)
  #479  
Old 04-14-2012, 10:34 AM
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I wonder how Masako will manage, once she becomes Empress?
Will she even become Empress if she can't perform any official duties?

I hope I'm wrong, but I don't believe Masako will get better.
She's been depressed for almost a decade, and I see very few signs of improvement (in fact, I think her condition has worsened over the years).
I doubt she will get better unless she is somehow able to leave the Imperial Household and return to private life.
  #480  
Old 05-03-2012, 10:01 AM
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Crown Prince Naruhito, Crown Princess Masako and Princess Aiko waving to a crowd upon arrival at JR
Nasushiobara Station in Tochigi Prefecture on May 3, 2012. The family's visit was to spend the latter
half of the Golden Week holiday period at the local Nasu Imperial Villa.



** Pic 1 ** Pic 2 **
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