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  #201  
Old 01-10-2012, 05:47 PM
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I wonder how Japanese people think about the work of the IHA?Or maybe they have other worries now than the Imperial family...

Here´s a relatively new article dealing with Princess Masako:Japan's troubled royals put up a brave front | The Japan Times Online
I don´t give up hope that she will find special people who can support her to recover and regain her strength and confidence.If she had more influence and freedom of action she could be a driving force of change to modernize the Royal family and make it more appealing to a younger audience.What I have heard,most people in Japan don´t feel a strong connection with the Imperial family...
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  #202  
Old 01-16-2012, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by blauerengel View Post
I wonder how Japanese people think about the work of the IHA?Or maybe they have other worries now than the Imperial family...
Well, I think one would have to consider that it is probably the IHA´s goal to convey a certain image to the public without the public even becoming aware that it is a manipulated image, not necessarily the reality. At least for those Japanese who rely on Japanese media for their information, I´d suppose that it works, for the reasons explained in my previous post. See also the following story from another forum:
Quote:
One of my best friends is half-Japanese and he told me that none of his extended family in Tokyo has any idea of what the IHA is really like. He sent them some stuff I'd written as well as various news paper articles from Western papers and they couldn't believe it. They seriously could NOT and would NOT believe it. So, he kept sending them stuff I dug up and finally, they started to question all the things they'd been fed in their domestic papers. One of the more liberal Japanese papers occasionally prints stuff in support of opening up the Imperial Family (and that's as far as they dare go) but my friend's family just thought they were being "troublemakers." Their words, not mine. They really thought that Masako was just being lazy and not following her duty because that was the gist they had gotten from a famous royal observer/journalist (who is the IHA's pet and favorite source to leak to.)
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Originally Posted by blauerengel View Post
Here´s a relatively new article dealing with Princess Masako:Japan's troubled royals put up a brave front | The Japan Times Online
I don´t give up hope that she will find special people who can support her to recover and regain her strength and confidence.If she had more influence and freedom of action she could be a driving force of change to modernize the Royal family and make it more appealing to a younger audience.What I have heard,most people in Japan don´t feel a strong connection with the Imperial family...
On one hand there definitely seem to be concerns that the IF could become irrelevant, especially with younger people.

“Interest in the Imperial Family in Japan is low and declining. Most young people do not even know the name of the man who is married to Princess Masako.” Source

“`I dare say that youngsters have not much interest in or knowledge of the Imperial Family's background and history, or even the Emperor as a symbolic ruler,´said Takao Toshikawa, a Tokyo-based political analyst." Source

"The Japanese Imperial family is undergoing a quiet crisis. [...] A long-term problem is that, if not actively disliked, more and more the Imperial family is simply ignored. Some commentators believe that public indifference to the Imperial family is the result of its growing irrelevance to modern Japan. They say it needs to find a new role for itself before the Japanese public loses interest completely." Source

On the other hand, polls use to show that the approval rate for the imperial family is still very high. Maybe one could try to sum things up by saying that the attitude of the majority of Japanese towards their royals is one of friendly disinterest. But, of course, it is always dangerous to make generalizations regarding the views of such a quantity of people. I have noticed that while the public battles among members of the imperial family may indeed not help the reputation of the monarchy, they definitely seem to give (at least some) people a feeling that they can relate to what emperor and empress, princes and princesses are going through.

Jin Ito, editor in chief of Shukan Josei, a variety magazine for women said,
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Articles on the imperial family are widely read because such ordinary problems as child-rearing and delicate relations with in-laws that seem to plague the imperial family make readers feel relieved. The difficult environment facing the crown princess is being viewed as a result of generational conflicts with the traditional way of life at the imperial family. Women in their 30s and 40s, who are our readership base, naturally relate to the problems facing Masako.
Asahi staff writer Hiroshi Matsubara seems to suggest that while women of Masako´s age group tend to sympathize with the crown princess, elder women who belong to the generation of her mother-in-law are prone to criticizing Masako. He quotes a 68-year-old woman in Yachiyo, Chiba Prefecture who compares the situation in her own family to that of Japan´s royals:
Quote:
"I put up with a lot of things while living together with my parents-in-law for over 40 years, but I took care of them until they died at 90 and 98," she said. "But my son and daughter-in-law visit our place twice a year at most, although I and my husband desperately want to see our granddaughters."

She said her son and daughter-in-law never really consulted her on big decisions, such as working after giving birth.
"They may say it is a generation thing, but if anybody in a family is too self-oriented and assertive, the relationship among the entire family may go bad. I guess even the imperial family is no exception. I feel kind of relieved because it looks like even they have similar problems that we have."
In traditional Asian families, elderly parents use to have a very strong position and their children and children-in-law are expected to treat them with high respect, to follow their advice and not make much of the sacrifices that may be requested of them (i. e. the children).
But times change, apparently also in Japan.
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  #203  
Old 01-17-2012, 07:51 AM
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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.
You have got this story wrong! The photographer did indeed take this photo at the Akishino wedding. The photo was printed in the Japanese press, the IHA press office thought the photo too informal and intimate and wouldn't allow the photo to be released to the western press. A British journalist wrote a story about it as an example of press censorship in Japan when it came to the western press organisations. The Japanese photographer had his credentials revoked (by the IHA press office, he wasn't denounced!) But this is an old, old story for goodness sake, it was over 20 years ago! Not even IHA press office officials are immortal and they do retire! So what was considered inappropriate over 20 years ago was the judgement of that time, considering the picture is around it certainly wasn't complete censorship! And in 1990 it was published in Japan!

Yes there does exist a press club for interviewing the Imperial Family, BUT there also exists a press club for politicians as well! One of the major complaints that Foreign correspondents in Japan have is that the Japanese press club is a 'closed shop' meaning that non Japanese journalists have no access to Japanese politicians press conferences, it's not just the Imperial Family ones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirabel
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).
This needs to be seen in the context of Japanese society, Japan has one of the developed world's lowest uptake of IVF. There is a huge amount of shame and 'it's not natural' around it. Couples would rather not have children then go through IVF. Plus factor in too, the privacy issues. Masako after her miscarriage commented in a birthday interview that she was not happy about the way the media had discussed her medical problems. This message is still coming through now in regards to the media (and message board!) discussion of her current mental health problems. Her desire to preserve some kind of privacy in her life and it not be served up on a platter to all to comment on. She's not going to be the poster child for infertility or mental health issues as these are invasions of her privacy.

Quote:
One of my best friends is half-Japanese and he told me that none of his extended family in Tokyo has any idea of what the IHA is really like. He sent them some stuff I'd written as well as various news paper articles from Western papers and they couldn't believe it. They seriously could NOT and would NOT believe it. So, he kept sending them stuff I dug up and finally, they started to question all the things they'd been fed in their domestic papers.
But you're assuming what you're finding out in the western press (which also uses tabloid information from some Asian although not Japanese sources) as accurate information!! If non Japanese media have no access to the Imperial Family and the press office won't speak to them, then they are reliant on second hand information with no way of knowing exactly how accurate it is! It becomes a game of Chinese whispers with tabloid information being passed on as real information.
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  #204  
Old 01-17-2012, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ChiaraC View Post


In traditional Asian families, elderly parents use to have a very strong position and their children and children-in-law are expected to treat them with high respect, to follow their advice and not make much of the sacrifices that may be requested of them (i. e. the children).
But times change, apparently also in Japan.

Yes; it sounds as if that woman who put up with catering to her in-laws for many years feels quite a bit of resentment- more like a feeling of entitlement that now it's her turn to make her daughter-in-law miserable!

I'm glad things are changing to that extent.
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  #205  
Old 01-18-2012, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Mirabel View Post
... it sounds as if that woman who put up with catering to her in-laws for many years feels quite a bit of resentment- more like a feeling of entitlement that now it's her turn to make her daughter-in-law miserable!
Honestly, I have received the same impression as you. It is, of course, important to respect ancient wisdom and tradition but, as you say, this should not serve as an excuse to pass on misery from generation to generation.
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  #206  
Old 01-19-2012, 10:58 AM
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Honestly, I have received the same impression as you. It is, of course, important to respect ancient wisdom and tradition but, as you say, this should not serve as an excuse to pass on misery from generation to generation.

Some traditions should be discarded.

And I'm no believer in the premise that wisdom automatically comes with age.
If someone is mean and stupid when young, it's my belief s/he'll be mean and stupid when old!
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  #207  
Old 01-19-2012, 06:52 PM
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Some traditions should be discarded.

And I'm no believer in the premise that wisdom automatically comes with age.
If someone is mean and stupid when young, it's my belief s/he'll be mean and stupid when old!
That is indeed true. Although all people have imo the inherent potential to change for the better, a lot of them do not seem to especially care to make any use of this potential...

I just wanted to express that I think it also important to shun the other extreme: things are not necessarily good because they are new or modern. Sometimes so-called modern things can be pretty silly or cruel, too.

Besides, I appreciate it that the crown prince and princess make a point of getting their daughter acquainted with traditional Japanese customs, such as pounding mochi (a Japanese rice cake), playing Hanetsuki (Japanese traditional game, similar to badminton) and cards, and also calligraphy practice. Cultural heritage can represent an important form of wealth. But that does not mean that it would be necessary to preserve customs that tend to bring out the very worst in people (like the one we have been talking about).
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  #208  
Old 02-14-2012, 08:53 AM
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This article (Understanding Japan's complexities) in the Indian business newspaper „The Hindu Business Line takes a look at the dynamics of modern Japanese society and mentions Crown Princess Masako´s story as an example to demonstrate the backward side of the Japanese tradition.
Quote:
A modern society and the world's third largest economy, Japan is loathe to shed some of its prejudices, particularly gender-related ones. Japan greets first-time visitors with mixed signals. You are overwhelmed at their politeness and courtesy, punctuality and efficiency. The country exudes an aura of opulence and confidence; the place is spanking clean and the infrastructure extremely impressive. But it is not as though the country isn't grappling with problems of its own. […] With one of the highest lifespans in the world — 86 years for women and 81 for men — Japan has been grappling with an aging and greying population. There have been projections that by 2055, Japan's population of 128 million will shrink to 90 million. […]

[The] dignified, calm and stoic manner in which the Japanese society responded to the unprecedented trauma and damage caused by last year's earthquake and tsunami, displayed to the entire world the innate strength of the Japanese people. A very polite society, it is common for those visiting Japan to hear ordinary Japanese thanking the rest of the world “for very kindly coming to our rescue through aid; we really appreciate it.” But, then, the Japanese way of life and adherence to their tradition and values are legend. […]

But, then, traditional values are not always good or desirable. In a world where women are disadvantaged to begin with, Japanese women have been treated even more shabbily from historic times. It is well known that even though women's numbers at the workplace are improving, they are yet to be given their due place both at the workplace and home. I asked Sumiyo, if even today, Japanese women workers of equal seniority compared with their male colleagues were expected to pour out tea for the men. She smiled and neatly ducked the question by saying: “These days we have vending machines in offices, so that question does not arise!”

But I did notice one thing, and sincerely hope it has nothing to do with all our meals in Japan, as we were served at Indian restaurants for the first three days: there was no attempt to serve the women first in our 14-member group; invariably, they were the last to be served!

Perhaps, the biggest and most heated debate on the gender front in Japan pertains to the immense pressure that was put on Crown Princess Masako to bear a son, because only a male member of the royal family can inherit the throne. In 2001, when after one miscarriage, when she gave birth to a daughter, there was a glimmer of hope that this law would be changed and, in 2005, a five-member government-appointed panel recommended that it was time to do so. But in September 2006, when the Crown Prince's younger brother's wife, Princess Akishino, gave birth to a son, this debate was conveniently shelved as the imperial household got a male heir!

But what the immense pressure on Princess Masako to bear a male heir did to the health and psyche of this very talented and accomplished Harvard graduate and former diplomat, is not a tale any Japanese or, for that matter, any woman, would be proud of. For several years, she has reportedly suffered from ill health and depression and stopped making public appearances. On the one hand, you have such glaring examples and, on the other, you notice how tech-savvy the Japanese society has become. […]

My takeaway from Japan will be its people's amazingly polite and helpful nature — seek directions on the road from a Japanese and he will walk along to show you the way — their discipline and efficiency. A modern society and the world's third largest economy.. and yet loathe to shed some of its prejudices, particularly gender-related ones.
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  #209  
Old 12-13-2012, 04:23 PM
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Japan's Crown Princess Masako discusses her illness on 49th birthday - Telegraph

Not sure if this is the right place. Moderators, pls feel free to move the link.
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  #210  
Old 12-13-2012, 04:41 PM
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I'm not sure what the article means by increasing pressures on Masako.

Will there be more pressures when her husband becomes Emperor? If so, what kind?
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  #211  
Old 12-13-2012, 05:24 PM
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There'll be more pressures on her in the same way that there'll be more pressures on the Crown Prince when he becomes Emperor--except that he's better equipped to meet them in terms of mental health. I think that the pressure on CP Masako to attend State events and make more appearances around Japan will increase. Given her interview, she seems to have some feelings of guilt about not being able to fulfill peoples' expectations; that will no doubt increase as well when she's Empress.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:41 AM
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Psychiatrists weigh in on Princess Masako's health - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
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  #213  
Old 02-02-2013, 11:59 AM
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These statements make very little sense; Masako is "steadily recovering" while her public appearances are "dwindling"???

If she's getting better, shouldn't her appearances be increasing?

Otoh, If she's not getting better, then perhaps she should be allowed to resume a private life away from the Imperial family.
At any rate, something should be done, since this situation has been going on for years!
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  #214  
Old 02-11-2013, 05:37 PM
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Japan's Crown Princess Masako discusses her illness on 49th birthday - Telegraph

Not sure if this is the right place. Moderators, pls feel free to move the link.
Even so, it reportedly took three approaches from the palace before she would consent to marrying the future emperor.

->I wonder if she regrets her decision,just as much as I believe the Prince is a wonderful supportive husband I don´t think the royal life has done her any good at all.But I sincerely hope that she will improve even though I don´t think she will recover to a state that she can be a full-time royal.What I imagine is that during Crown Prince Hirohito´s reign he has the chance to give the monarchy a more modern direction...
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  #215  
Old 02-12-2013, 10:54 AM
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I wonder if not princess Aiko will be expected to take on some of the duties her mother is unable to perform when she reaches maturity, especially when her father becomes emperor? Not an ideal situation for a young princess and if there will be a pressure on Aiko to take on royal duties at 18, that must put even more stress on Masako.
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:53 AM
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There'll be more pressures on her in the same way that there'll be more pressures on the Crown Prince when he becomes Emperor--except that he's better equipped to meet them in terms of mental health. I think that the pressure on CP Masako to attend State events and make more appearances around Japan will increase. Given her interview, she seems to have some feelings of guilt about not being able to fulfill peoples' expectations; that will no doubt increase as well when she's Empress.
i hope she recovers well to at least make company to her husband in official/state visits and meetings, she needs to, because the pressure will be bigger when shes an Empress, because otherwise people will call her an incompetent and usueless Empress.

if CP Naruhito attends WA investure, i hope she attends with him so that she can finally make an appearance in the west since...Prince Phillippe and Princess Mathilde wedding?
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:35 PM
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I highly doubt that Crown Princess Masako will attend Crown Princess Willem-Alexander's investure with Crown Prince Naruhito. If she does, I shall be greatly surprised.
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Old 02-17-2013, 08:37 PM
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Agreed. There was so much controversy over the visit that the Crown Princess and Princess made to the Netherlands in the past that I don't think she'll be "allowed" to go again.
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  #219  
Old 02-17-2013, 09:36 PM
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Agreed. There was so much controversy over the visit that the Crown Princess and Princess made to the Netherlands in the past that I don't think she'll be "allowed" to go again.
Really? I haven't heard this story. What is the controversy?
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:24 PM
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I guess I missed that; why was there controversy? What happened?
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