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  #181  
Old 08-08-2011, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by gerry View Post
It is certainly very unfair and to an accomplished woman like the Crown Princess such a sexist policy must seem positively antediluvian.
Since she is Japanese I am sure she understands the policy quite well.
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  #182  
Old 08-10-2011, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by NGalitzine View Post
Since she is Japanese I am sure she understands the policy quite well.
I would not be so certain. Contemporanean societies are hardly ever monolithic. Japan´s society most certainly isn´t.
If you have never had the experience of the majority in your country advocating something that, by you standards, is a) antediluvian, b) barbarian or c) too stupid to be true, I sincerely congratulate you. You are a lucky man. Unfortunately, I have had this experience lots of times.
And I do not see how we can be sure that Princess Masako has remained free from it.
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  #183  
Old 08-11-2011, 11:05 PM
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To describe her visits to the survivors of the earthquake and tsunami as "token appearances" gives the impression that her heart wasn't in it. Given the nature of her illness, it's remarkable that she was able to make visits in this highly stressful situation at all.

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Originally Posted by Mirabel View Post
Has she truly resumed public life or did she make a few token appearances and then go back into hiding?
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  #184  
Old 08-12-2011, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Mermaid1962 View Post
To describe her visits to the survivors of the earthquake and tsunami as "token appearances" gives the impression that her heart wasn't in it. Given the nature of her illness, it's remarkable that she was able to make visits in this highly stressful situation at all.
I agree with you. And judging from the facial expression of the princess (especially in this pic) I am quite convinced that her heart WAS in it. To me, it is the compassionate expression of someone who knows by experience what suffering means.
Of course, this is pure speculation on my part but I am asking myself if this sort of engagement is not really a blessing for her because she feels that her being authentic is needed. I guess that the worst for her are such appearances where all she has to do is pretend and smile like some sort of puppet. Others may think that this is the easier task and maybe for some it is, but IMO not for the crown princess. (And that may be the main problem.)
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  #185  
Old 08-12-2011, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Mermaid1962 View Post
To describe her visits to the survivors of the earthquake and tsunami as "token appearances" gives the impression that her heart wasn't in it. Given the nature of her illness, it's remarkable that she was able to make visits in this highly stressful situation at all.

I don't mean to sound harsh, but if she cannot do these things, and if her husband must continue to make every trip and public appearance on his own, then perhaps he should step aside. He could take his family into the private sector where nothing would be expected of them, and perhaps that would eliminate all pressure and she would make a full recovery.

(I know it is not advice I should give; I am not Japanese. But I don't see how this current situation is satisfactory for anybody: the Imperial family, the IHA, or the Japanese people. JMO).
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  #186  
Old 08-12-2011, 09:34 AM
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then perhaps he should step aside.
I note that your post is rather sympathetic to their situation, but a Crown Prince who is entirely capable of fulfilling his obligations as heir and eventual Emperor has no reason to step aside.

Masako's condition seems rather chronic and it may be that her function as Empress will only ever be one to wave from the balcony and attend important state events. As a possibility, Princess Toshi may become her mothers step in when her father succeeds (in some manner or form) should Masako's health remain fragile.

But again, I don't believe the Naruhito should need to abdicate. That's no light decision to make and he has spent his entire life knowing his destiny.
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  #187  
Old 08-12-2011, 09:43 AM
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From what I've seen of Naruhito, he seems to be a jolly kind of chap.

I thought it was rather sporting of him to turn up at the Swedish Wedding.

And as long as there is mutual love and respect, most things can be managed.
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  #188  
Old 08-21-2011, 07:20 PM
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We forget that Japanese have different value system than us. For them, duty is more important than personal sastisfaction. CP Naruhito will not abdicate, because it has a strong sense of duty to his country and Imperial family. He was raised to be Imperor, and, if need, will make sacrifice. That's why this situation, his wife's illness, is so difficult for him. He is divided between joy of his family and responsibility for his country.



I apologize for any mistakes, because I do not speak English so well.
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  #189  
Old 09-06-2011, 09:36 PM
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Ok, just to throw this out there I AM NOT MAKING THIS SUGGESTION, but if Naruhito had to choose between his duty, being Crown Prince and Emperor, and his personal happiness, remaining married to a woman who is not doing his position and family any favors, should Naruhito be forced to make a decision?
Also, is there any indication that Masako's problems even cause a problem for the other members of the family or do they just deal with it?
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  #190  
Old 09-06-2011, 11:29 PM
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My thoughts exactly when I saw the same picture. She looks like she's listening with her heart and not just her ears.

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Originally Posted by ChiaraC View Post
I am quite convinced that her heart WAS in it. To me, it is the compassionate expression of someone who knows by experience what suffering means.
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  #191  
Old 09-06-2011, 11:31 PM
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Yes, and it's my impression that the community is more important than the individual.

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Originally Posted by Ofelia View Post
We forget that Japanese have different value system than us. For them, duty is more important than personal sastisfaction.
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  #192  
Old 09-09-2011, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Mermaid1962 View Post
My thoughts exactly when I saw the same picture. She looks like she's listening with her heart and not just her ears.
I guessed as much when I read your comment in the "Current events"-thread.
Bye the bye, I just now discovered your "thanks" for the collage of pics. You are very welcome.
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  #193  
Old 11-06-2011, 01:44 AM
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Is it my imagination or is there a disproportionate number of females to males in the royal houses today?
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  #194  
Old 11-06-2011, 07:54 AM
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are you talking in generally? if so, yes there are more females in number than males on the new generation. but if you can see on the generation of their parents, there was more males.
British Queen had 3 boys and 1 girl, Japan's Emperor had 2 boys and 1 girl, Dutch Queen had 3 boys, Danish Queen had 2 boys, Belgium King had 2 boys and 1 girl, Norwegen King had 1 boy and 1 girl, Liechtenstein sovereign prince had 3 boys and 1 girl.
only Spain and Sweden had 2 girls and 1 boy, but still they had at least a boy.
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  #195  
Old 11-10-2011, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by HouseMeriVinKian33 View Post
Is it my imagination or is there a disproportionate number of females to males in the royal houses today?

I don't know about disproportinate, but it does seem as if most of the current heirs are female. (Or will be in the next generation: Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, etc.)
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  #196  
Old 01-09-2012, 04:11 AM
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Stories spiked despite journalism's mission to inform | The Japan Times Online
For years, a bride-hunting committee of the Imperial Household Agency (IHA) had been searching for someone to share the world's oldest inherited job with Crown Prince Naruhito. Close to 100 women were reportedly introduced to the shy, guppy-loving prince, but it was Masako Owada who caught his eye.
For reasons that have since become obvious, the Oxford-educated diplomat was in no rush to scrap her career and walk three steps behind the prince for the rest of her life.
Indeed, they had met as early as 1986, but she is said to have repeatedly spurned his approaches before relenting in December 1992, reportedly after pressure from both her diplomat father and even Empress Michiko.
The wedding was scheduled for June 1993, but how was it to be kept secret? No problem — the IHA demanded and got a vow of silence from the massed ranks of the big Japanese media.
So, although the story was an open secret among journalists in Tokyo, it was not until early 1993 that it was "scooped" in the media — by T.R. Reid of The Washington Post.
A decade later, rumors began to circulate about Princess Masako's mental well-being.
With the Imperial taboo fading, Japanese magazines carried anonymously sourced articles that even suggested she had suffered a nervous breakdown and wanted out of her marriage. But those journalists officially accredited to cover the IHA, who had heard rumors that she was being treated for depression, steered clear.
In May 2004, when The Times (London) newspaper ran a story headlined "The Depression of a Princess," it was initially condemned, then accepted, by royal watchers in the Japanese media.
As Richard Lloyd Parry, the paper's Tokyo-based Asia Editor who wrote that story, said at the time: "Japanese journalists knew all about (Princess) Masako's illness and it didn't surprise any of them when I spoke to them."
Many also suspected that the princess had received fertility treatment to conceive the now 10-year-old Princess Aiko. However, that story too — despite having been published in many foreign news outlets — was off-limits, and Japan's media was happy to accept the IHA's denials that that was the case.
"Journalists who inquired about the rumor to the IHA were told to expect trouble if they ran it," recalls Yasunori Okadome, editor of the now-defunct magazine Uwasa no Shinso.
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  #197  
Old 01-10-2012, 08:17 AM
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I wonder what sort of "trouble" that could possibly be? Thugs from the IHA showing up in black suits?


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"Journalists who inquired about the rumor to the IHA were told to expect trouble if they ran it," recalls Yasunori Okadome, editor of the now-defunct magazine Uwasa no Shinso.
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  #198  
Old 01-10-2012, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Mermaid1962 View Post
I wonder what sort of "trouble" that could possibly be? Thugs from the IHA showing up in black suits?
In Western countries, it generally means cut off from official sources, but I doubt that's the case in Japan, since Kasumi's post suggests there's no access to official sources anyway.

That's a mistake on their part, IMO. It is a question of credibility; if the IHA constantly denies stories later proved true, then everything they say will be ignored, and it will be open season in the press!

Instead of denial, they should try to spin the stories so they have a positive rather than a negative impact. (Masako's fertility treatment, for example, would create sympathy if it was presented as her great desire to have a child).
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  #199  
Old 01-10-2012, 09:33 AM
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Agreed. The IHA definitely has an image problem.

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Instead of denial, they should try to spin the stories so they have a positive rather than a negative impact. (Masako's fertility treatment, for example, would create sympathy if it was presented as her great desire to have a child).
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  #200  
Old 01-10-2012, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Mermaid1962 View Post
I wonder what sort of "trouble" that could possibly be? Thugs from the IHA showing up in black suits?
There is, for example, the famous story of photographer Toshiaki Nakayama. In 1990, he took a very nice pic of the Akishino couple while they were preparing for their wedding photo, a pic that the IHA thought was inappropriate. When the photo was distributed for publication, the agency issued a vehement protest. Instead of supporting Nakayama, his peers at the press club denounced him. Disillusioned with the state of Japanese journalism, the photographer resigned from the wire service nine months later.

As the article states, there are incidents that seem to indicate that there might be a problem with the freedom of Japanese media in general. See for example the following story:
Quote:
My wife Keiko and I host a weekly talk show on local radio in Western Tokyo that tries to take a jaundiced, opinionated approach to the clash of East versus West. Just before Christmas 2000 we talked briefly about a trip we had made a year earlier to Nanjing[i] in China, the site of a notorious massacre by the Japanese imperial army at the end of 1937. […] Thirty minutes after the show was broadcast, three members of a local "political group" arrived at the studio and asked to see the management. […] Two days later the senior station manager called a meeting. [...] He said we would need to apologize over the air for the Nanjing comment. If we didn't, the men and their friends would drive their gaisensha, or black sound trucks, outside our sponsors (two ramen, or Chinese noodle, restaurants, a bar, and a couple of real estate agents) and harass them until they withdrew their support. Violence was unlikely, but he couldn't rule it out. He apologized again for asking us to apologize. He handed us a sheet of paper the station had prepared for us to read on the next show. It said that we humbly apologized for the "inappropriate comments" (futekisetsu na hyogen ) we had made the previous week.

My wife and I were stunned. Far from being angry at a crude, thuggish attempt to shut down a public discussion, the station's management had gone along with the rightist's suggestions and upped the ante, out-censoring the censors by requesting an end to all political discussion. While we argued over the next couple of days about whether to call the station's bluff, about a dozen faxes arrived at the studio in response to our comments, all of them supportive. [...] All messages ended with pleas to continue, to take courage, and to stick it out. ...
In the weeks following the uyoku visit, there were two more incidents of censorship at the radio station. […] When we challenged him [the station director] on this he said that his role, as the director of a small radio station, was to protect the jobs of himself and his staff, not to support abstract concepts of free speech. He couldn't do this if the uyoku bankrupted him.
The imperial family seems to be one of the main taboo themes for the media:
Quote:
The heavy hand of the Imperial Household Agency ensures that salaried journalists self-censor reports to portray an airbrushed view of the Emperor and the Imperial Family. And newspaper editorial writers better start looking for a new job if they even consider writing a piece questioning the relevance of the monarchy in today’s world.
One has to know that there is an “Imperial Household Agency press club”. The journalists registered in this club have exclusive access to briefings by agency officials and imperial family members, and usually prepare their questions collectively before submitting them for vetting, shunning most sensitive issues. If they do not cooperate to the satisfaction of the IHA, they lose their membership in the press club. As a result, those journalists of the inner circle know a lot but they are not free to write it. “I probably put in writing less than one-tenth of one-percent of what I see and hear.“, said one of these journalists. „For a writer, that’s a kind of torture. It’s a real struggle to slow yourself down and just learn to watch.” And sometimes when they cannot bear it any longer they leak their information to the Western media... (For more about the imperial press system see this blog.)

And incidentally, Mirabel, there is a writer and media commentator, Naoki Inose, who would quite agree with you in that the IHA is not especially good as a public relations agency. Inose „believes that the bureaucrats of the Imperial Household Agency made a serious mistake by forcing Masako into a conservative role. At the time of her marriage to Naruhito, Masako was seen as figure to whom modern Japanese women could relate. An intelligent and internationally minded working woman, she was the Imperial family's chance to renew itself for the times.”
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