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  #221  
Old 02-17-2013, 11:41 PM
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Yes, I'm intrigued as well by this Dutch controversy. Can anyone fill us in about this?
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  #222  
Old 02-18-2013, 01:28 PM
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Well, I think what Mermaid means is the fact that the crown prince and princess with their daughter went on a "private" visit to the Netherlands. There was a photo session with the Dutch royals at the time - really cute pics, you will certainly find them somewhere in the forum. (The trip took place in summer 2006, I think in August.) But that was about it.
And there was a lot of public attention on this trip because Japanese royals usually do not take any holidays abroad. (They use to go to an imperial villa in some part of Japan for a couple of days for vacation - even if, recently, this should not be exactly beneficial for their health as the radiation level is at some places higher than in Tokyo...)

However, before the trip to the Netherlands took place, a friend of the emperor told the press something to the effect that this was a very special treatment indeed and that the crown princess was expected to show her gratitude for it by returning full time to her duties upon her return.

Edit: Found some pics: 1 ** 2 ** 3 ** 4 ** Article
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  #223  
Old 02-18-2013, 02:01 PM
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i thought that visit was in Japan actually and not in The Netherlands.

but there was no controversy, it was a very happy and wonderfull visit and i remenber the press loved it^^
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  #224  
Old 02-18-2013, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ChiaraC View Post
Well, I think what Mermaid means is the fact that the crown prince and princess with their daughter went on a "private" visit to the Netherlands. There was a photo session with the Dutch royals at the time - really cute pics, you will certainly find them somewhere in the forum. (The trip took place in summer 2006, I think in August.) But that was about it.
And there was a lot of public attention on this trip because Japanese royals usually do not take any holidays abroad. (They use to go to an imperial villa in some part of Japan for a couple of days for vacation - even if, recently, this should not be exactly beneficial for their health as the radiation level is at some places higher than in Tokyo...)

However, before the trip to the Netherlands took place, a friend of the emperor told the press something to the effect that this was a very special treatment indeed and that the crown princess was expected to show her gratitude for it by returning full time to her duties upon her return.

Edit: Found some pics: 1 ** 2 ** 3 ** 4 ** Article
I don't think you must hold the "a friend of the Emperor told the press" thing for thruth.At all.A friend of the Emperor wouldn't open his/her mouth to anyone,let alone press.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirabel View Post
I guess I missed that; why was there controversy? What happened?
There was no controversy at all.Contrary,it was a wonderfull visit to all
with visits and dinners to and fro with the Dutch Royal Family plus Masako's parents as her father works as a judge at the ICC in The Hague and he and his wife live there too..
No,no controversy,just it was the first time the IHA allowed anyone of the family out of their golden prison....and then there still were some of 'm present here too...ofcourse..
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  #225  
Old 02-18-2013, 02:18 PM
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Japan's succession crisis creates royal pressure
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The pressure to deliver a male heir has been blamed for the mental stress afflicting Crown Princess Masako, wife of Crown Prince Naruhito.

The princess, who once received sympathy due to the immense pressure put upon her, is now the recipient of public scorn for holidaying instead of fulfilling her official obligations.

For the first time in Japan's history members of the royal family have traveled abroad for a private retreat, and though the trip to the Netherlands was strongly opposed by the imperial household an exception was made for the sick princess, according to woman's weekly magazine Shukan Josei.

"The Japanese citizens will not be convinced of the need to make such an exception unless Princess Masako returns to the public duties after the retreat," Akira Hashimoto, Emperor Akihito's close friend, was quoted by Shukan Asahi weekly magazine. [...]

While Crown Princess Masako is seen in the media as romping around a Dutch palace, the dutiful Princess Kiko is already in the hospital due to a complication. She is expected to receive a Caesarean section for the first time in Japan's royal family history due to placenta previa, where the placenta becomes implanted at a location lower than normal in the uterus.

However, even if Princess Kiko delivers a boy, the pressure is unlikely to relent on Crown princess Masako to produce a male heir to maintain the appropriate succession line.

"Another round of debate is expected to erupt on whether it is proper to shift the imperial succession to the family of Prince Akishino," even if his third child turns out to be a male, legislator Koichi Kato is quoted in the weekly AERA as saying.
Source
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  #226  
Old 02-18-2013, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by lucien View Post
There was no controversy at all.Contrary,it was a wonderfull visit to all
with visits and dinners to and fro with the Dutch Royal Family plus Masako's parents as her father works as a judge at the ICC in The Hague and he and his wife live there too..
No,no controversy,just it was the first time the IHA allowed anyone of the family out of their golden prison....and then there still were some of 'm present here too...ofcourse..
Oh ChiaraC,that controversy..Kiko giving birth after years of oblivion and grown up children almost.....just to make sure a male Heir would be present in the Family at any one time....It's almost as if the IHA made sure she was indeed pregnant with a BOY instead of a "mere girl"...Really..medieval situation.But I recall the endless discussions on the IHA on all royal related boards and fora and how they have a hand in every move,every,at the Imperial Court.Awful.
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  #227  
Old 02-18-2013, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by lucien View Post
It's almost as if the IHA made sure she was indeed pregnant with a BOY instead of a "mere girl"
I happen to believe that it was indeed made sure by somebody that Kiko´s child would be a son. And I am not the only one, actually.
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  #228  
Old 02-18-2013, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by ChiaraC View Post
I happen to believe that it was indeed made sure by somebody that Kiko´s child would be a son. And I am not the only one, actually.
No I know,more people think that...I am one.

Really,the IHA will go to any lenght for anything to have it their way.
A situation no-one really thinks about in Japan,different customes and traditions,but that would be absolutely impossible here in Europe..
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  #229  
Old 02-18-2013, 03:08 PM
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With regard to Crown Princes Masako's "adjustment disorder", I think it is high time that the IHA change that description and provided abit more information about her illness and the so-called treatment she is receiving and just get over themselves with trying to cover up what everyone else knows. I realise I am naive to think that this will ever happen, but at the end of the day, if it's a case of saving face (the IHA face that is) then just allow her ANYTHING to assist in some form of recovery. If no recovery is likely to happen, then Masako shoudl be treated very differently and allowed more freedom. I do not believe that any changes to allow more freedom should necessarily set a future precedent and relaxation of the overall control of the Imperial Family, but I do think the IHA is handling the situation is teh wrong way nowadays. We are a decade in to this unfortunate situation and simply saying that she continues in her recovery is quite frankly making a mockery of themselves (the IHA).

I am very worried that when the time comes when the princess becomes an empress, it will prompt further "adjustment" difficulties and will go on forever.

With regard to the control that the IHA have, is there anything legally stopping the Princess (and indeed her husband) just leaving for a holiday. I don't wish to be flippant, but exactly what would happen if Masako simply got up and left with Aiko - would she physically be prevented from leaving, would she be locked away or held against her will?

How do the people of Japan view this situation? I always thought the Japanese as being very family orientated and kind people who would help anyone in a crisis - are they worried for Masako?

So many questions, but I do like Masako and Naruhito very much and the other memeber of their family.
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  #230  
Old 02-18-2013, 03:25 PM
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I really feel for Masako. She's like a caged bird. Why? I just find it very hard to believe that the Japanese people or the ruling class continue to put pressure on a woman to give birth to a male heir?! Masako is a well-educated, highly trained professional who is being treated like a trained seal in an animal show. It's disgraceful. I don't understand how her family can allow her to be treated like this? This type of treatment can't be a good example for her daughter. For shame, for shame!
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  #231  
Old 02-18-2013, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacknch View Post
With regard to Crown Princes Masako's "adjustment disorder", I think it is high time that the IHA change that description and provided abit more information about her illness and the so-called treatment she is receiving and just get over themselves with trying to cover up what everyone else knows. I realise I am naive to think that this will ever happen, but at the end of the day, if it's a case of saving face (the IHA face that is) then just allow her ANYTHING to assist in some form of recovery. If no recovery is likely to happen, then Masako shoudl be treated very differently and allowed more freedom. I do not believe that any changes to allow more freedom should necessarily set a future precedent and relaxation of the overall control of the Imperial Family, but I do think the IHA is handling the situation is teh wrong way nowadays. We are a decade in to this unfortunate situation and simply saying that she continues in her recovery is quite frankly making a mockery of themselves (the IHA).

I am very worried that when the time comes when the princess becomes an empress, it will prompt further "adjustment" difficulties and will go on forever.

With regard to the control that the IHA have, is there anything legally stopping the Princess (and indeed her husband) just leaving for a holiday. I don't wish to be flippant, but exactly what would happen if Masako simply got up and left with Aiko - would she physically be prevented from leaving, would she be locked away or held against her will?

How do the people of Japan view this situation? I always thought the Japanese as being very family orientated and kind people who would help anyone in a crisis - are they worried for Masako?

So many questions, but I do like Masako and Naruhito very much and the other memeber of their family.
I believe I can speak for most of us here,that we feel the IHA doesn´t take the right steps to help Masako (or indeed,they are one of the main causes of the state she is in) and our hearts are bleeding for this remarkable woman who had such a promising future ahead of her before she married.Masako was so full of life,a radiant woman with sharp intellect and good working ethos but the restrictions that were put on her by the IHA where simply too much.I constantly remind myself to stay positive,but I don´t have much hope that her situation will improve substantial,not unless her husband has more influence and power to change the monarchy from within.Let´s keep praying & hoping for Princess Masako to find back her strength,self-confidence and drive!
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  #232  
Old 02-19-2013, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Jacknch View Post
With regard to the control that the IHA have, is there anything legally stopping the Princess (and indeed her husband) just leaving for a holiday. I don't wish to be flippant, but exactly what would happen if Masako simply got up and left with Aiko - would she physically be prevented from leaving, would she be locked away or held against her will?
The problem is not so much in laws - obviously, there is no law that would say that Japanese royals cannot take a holiday abroad or do not have the right to leave the country etc. Of course not. But 1) it is simply not done and 2) there are "technical problems", so to speak. If the crown prince and crown princess wanted to leave the country, how should they do that? Swim? They do not have the money to buy a flight ticket. Actually, they have not even passports.

And even with spontaneously walking out of the door, there is the problem that they never do that. Whenever they plan to make an excursion, a visit, whatever, some people from their staff would go first and have a look at the place, make sure all is safe etc. (This is not the same with the Akishino family, incidentally, so they have a bit more freedom to move.)

Sure, if they decide to simply walk out of the door, nobody will physically hold them back. Actually, they have done that: In May 2003 Naruhito and Masako went together with Aiko to a - not very attractive looking - park close by the palace grounds for Aiko´s "koen debut". The "koen-debut" is a sort of ritual for little Japanese children (and their mothers), their first visit to a public playground. Nice conversation (for the mothers – with the other mothers who already "belong" to this place) and pretty clothing (for mother and child) are required. It is something commoners usually do, though, not imperial children. As far as I know, no imperial child, except Aiko, ever did that. So, this action was a statement by the crown prince and princess: It showed that they want to be close to “normal” Japanese people. They do not wish to live "above the clouds". The crown prince does not want to be only a passive symbol and pray for the people behind closed palace doors. He wants to take responsibility, be active, take an influence on society.

Just for this once, Naruhito and Masako were openly defying the will of the IHA officials. This was probably one of the very few occasions when they made an extraordinary effort to act as members of the open, close-to-the-people imperial family that belongs to their vision. And Naruhito – although he really has never been raised for such a role – did it well. To the attentive watchers he gave the impression of being absolutely relaxed and at his ease. Whereas Masako, as some journalists remarked, looked tired, her smile a bit artificial. It could not be overlooked that something was definitely wrong with her, already at that time. (She would be hospitalized with stress-induced shingles a few months afterwards. I have admittedly asked myself if the trouble that she and her husband must have gotten themselves into by this rebellious action was one of the reasons for her breakdown. Of course, I will never get an answer to this question...)

The first time just Masako went with Aiko to the playground, the second time Naruhito accompanied them and they all behaved as if they were but the friendly family next door. It is to be supposed that neither the IHA nor the emperor and empress appreciated these visits. So, it is quite interesting that before the second visit took place, somebody – probably somebody very close to the crown prince and princess – must have informed the media in advance about when they intended to go there again. As a consequence, camera teams, newspaper journalists and lots of housewives living close by were crowding the usually not much frequented park. Instead of a glimpse of normal life and normal interaction with the mothers and children who happened to be at the playground, the crown prince and his family were suddenly the center of a media spectacle. (That is also why there are photos of this visit: 1, 2.) The crown prince and princess had not been kept from leaving the palace - but they had nevertheless been prevented from realizing their plan in a way that proved very effective.

Opposition will take an indirect form in Japan, most of the time. That is why it may often be virtually invisible for an outsider, but nevertheless rather successful...

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  #233  
Old 02-19-2013, 03:39 PM
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Thanks for the informative post and photos! The technical side of lives in the Japanese Imperial is quite complex. The protocol is set in stone. The subtleties are usually invisible to the naked eye.
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  #234  
Old 02-19-2013, 03:57 PM
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I have always believed that, if it is impossible for Masako to cope with royal life, she should have the option of returning to private life.

(I blame her husband; he seems to want to have his cake and eat it. Has he even considered that she might prefer a different life, or is he determined to carry on without making any changes?)
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al_bina View Post
Thanks for the informative post and photos! The technical side of lives in the Japanese Imperial is quite complex. The protocol is set in stone. The subtleties are usually invisible to the naked eye.
In particular, to the non-Japanese naked eye...
You are very welcome!

**

Quote:
It is generally accepted that the Crown Princess can divorce her husband under the Imperial Household Law, which stipulates that a commoner married to a prince can leave the family through divorce or if her husband dies.

In reality, however, divorce between the couple is highly unlikely, according to Tomono. “Neither the Crown Prince nor Princess Masako is the type to divorce and run away from the problem. In fact, that’s precisely why she fell ill in the first place,” she said.

“The couple get on well, and the princess feels strongly about her husband and the royal institution. They simply want to show (the public) that they are working hard to do what they think is right,” she added.
Japan Times
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  #236  
Old 02-19-2013, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Mirabel View Post
(I blame her husband; he seems to want to have his cake and eat it. Has he even considered that she might prefer a different life, or is he determined to carry on without making any changes?)
I think this is unfair because Naruhito has publicly almost scolded the IHA, something pretty remarkable in this institution.
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  #237  
Old 02-19-2013, 07:12 PM
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Perhaps, but he hasn't persisted.
If Masako were to resume her diplomatic career, for instance, what could the IHA or anyone else do about it? Even if she didn't wish to do so, if she insisted that she would live in the private sector, who could prevent her?

And of course he could always abdicate, and live the lifestyle of a private couple instead. This is what I think he ought to do, if Masako can't cope with royal status. No need to get a divorce; if he is truly concered for her well-being than he should see to it she lives in a way she finds tolerable.
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  #238  
Old 02-19-2013, 07:49 PM
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^^^^
Highly unlikely the Japanese government would reinstate the Crown Princess in her role as a civil servant in the Foreign Service. I suspect it is also unlikely she could fulfill that role either since the role of imperial princess seems beyond her.
Why should her husband give up the role he was born to and to which she married into, just because he wife is for whatever reason unable to adapt? He may love his wife but he also has a duty to his nation.
If she didnt want the role or felt she might not be up to it she should have said so at the outset. As I understand it other young eligible ladies pretty much ruled themselves out of consideration either by moving abroad or getting a tattoo. At the end of the day she is the one who ultimately said yes to him and the role it would bring. If she doesnt like what life has brought her she can ask for a divorce although I suspect the life of an ex Crown Princess living alone in Japan without her husband or her child would not be a pleasant one.
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:03 PM
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Oh I hardly think that is fair criticism of Masako. If any crown princess was ever unaware of the life she was to live it had to be her. No one says anything about what goes on in the Japanese Royal family, no one takes photos, no one knows what the women of the household think about anything, or if indeed they think at all.

Mask must have loved her husband to have finally consented to marry him but I don't think she could ever have dreamed in her wildest nightmares that all the things the world lauded the Japanese heir's choice of wife, her intellect, her education, her diplomatic experience, would be ruthlessly suppressed. That she would never be able to participate in her marriage as her international colleagues did and continue to do. Nor could she ever have imagined that giving birth to a girl would be treated like a deliberate insult to her in-laws and that she would be pressured to stay "in seclusion" until such time as she fell pregnant with a male heir.

Since the likelihood of her having another child is zero is she being punished for her failure. Normal duties performed by the Japanese RF are too infinitesimal for them to say she is unable to handle them due to a personality disorder. Her previous career absolutely puts the lie to that, and so we see her prevented from mixing with even her international peers at so many weddings etc. where all she had to do was be there.

That has not happened and she is becoming almost invisible compared to what we would all have considered her more conservative middle east counterparts. Indeed, they have far more freedom to come and go than Masako ever has and she is, for all intents and purposes, kept in virtual isolation, almost a prisoner. So why now, her husband's heir is his brother so is she being kept away so that her sister-in-law, she who has the golden boy child, can become a great symbol of the future of the Japanese Royal Family and Masako is not there to expose her great shame?

A divorced, single Masako would be a in an unenviable position. Having been cut off from all she knew growing up, she will have few friends left. They would never let her take a job and her career is irretrievable over. I think she would be still isolated and alone. I am not even sure they would let her take her daughter with her let alone travel with her. Pretty sad situation all round.
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:28 PM
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Although Masako made the decision to enter the imperial family a long time ago (she and Naruhito will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary this year), it has often been asked in recent discussions whether this decision was wrong. So, it may be interesting to take a look at an article that was written shortly before the wedding and that discusses the pros and cons of her decision, as they presented themselves at the time:

The Career and the Kimono

By David E. Sanger
Published: May 30, 1993

Quote:
[...] Never before in the 1,600-year history of the Japanese monarchy has anyone with a day job married into the royal family. Outspoken, witty in a quiet way, far more worldly and better educated (she is a graduate of Harvard and attended Oxford) than most Japanese men, her career clearly on the rise in the Foreign Ministry, Masako Owada was no ordinary working woman. She was a member of an elite group of Japanese women, path makers occupying jobs that only 10 years ago women were virtually barred from holding.

So when it was announced in January that Crown Prince Naruhito -- the 33-year-old elder son of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko and grandson of Hirohito -- had finally convinced the 29-year-old Owada to marry him, the question many Japanese immediately asked was: Why did she do it? Why would she choose to come under the thumb of the hidebound imperial household, where she will be expected to keep her eyes downcast and her attitude deferential? [...]

Masako Owada's decision to marry the Crown Prince has clearly touched a national nerve. For months, women have argued over whether that decision is an advance or a setback for women. The debate will continue long after June 9, when Owada dons a 12-layer, $300,000 silk kimono and walks into the shrine deep in the woods of the Imperial Palace grounds. There will always be those who see in her decision yet another surrender to the status quo. But there are others who feel that the arrival of someone like Owada can only hasten change.

FROM THE START, Masako Owada was a rarity. She was a sogoshoku.
In Japanese, the word describes a new group of career-track women entering jobs that, until seven years ago, were almost exclusively the preserve of men. Owada's graduation from Harvard in 1985 coincided with a major legal change in the status of Japanese women. As the United Nations Decade for Women came to a close, and under international pressure to do something, Japan's Parliament reluctantly passed the country's first Equal Employment Opportunity Law. [...]

According to [Masako´s] friends, she toyed with the idea of remaining in the United States, where she had lived since she was a high-school student in Belmont, Mass. (Her father was teaching at Harvard.) Wall Street's investment banks and brokerage houses were eager to hire this multilingual Harvard economics major, whose senior thesis, written under the tutelage of Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, was a detailed examination of the role of oil prices and exchange rates in Japanese trade policy. But afraid she might lose touch with her own culture, she decided to return to Japan. [...]

At the Foreign Ministry, few seemed more committed than Owada. [...] Assigned to two of the stickiest problems in Japanese relations with the United States -- American access to the semiconductor market and the limitations on foreign lawyers working in Tokyo -- she was often on the red-eye to Washington or pressed into service as an interpreter when officials like Carla Hills, then the United States Trade Representative, came to negotiate with senior Japanese officials.

During the periodic trade crises over computer chips, she very quietly, very expertly discussed with American reporters in Tokyo such esoterica as Japan's arguments for treating Eproms (an arcane form of memory chips) very differently from D-RAMs (the kind found in most personal computers). [...]

A midlevel Japanese diplomat now in the United States remembers serving as the night-duty officer at the Foreign Ministry last year. At around 2 or 3 A.M., when he was sleeping in a small office, he was roused by a sharp knock on the door. Outside stood Owada. She had just completed an urgent report and needed to get it distributed. "Apart from me and the guards," he recalls, "she was the last one in the building." [...]

THEY MET AT A reception, or so the almost fairy tale goes, for Princess Elena of Spain. Masako Owada, then 22, had just joined the Foreign Ministry. The long search by the Crown Prince, then 26, for a bride was already on its way to becoming a subject of black humor. Very little in the Imperial Palace happens by accident, but few doubt that love was at work, at least on the Prince's part. "My guess," says one of Owada's friends, "is that for the first time he met a woman he could talk to about something real, not one of these daughters of the right families who take shopping tours to Paris." [...] Over time, Owada's friends say, she too fell in love, but cautiously. "I don't think there is much doubt in her mind that she loves the Prince," says a Harvard friend. "The question was never him. The question was the palace." [...]

In January, the whole country came to a stop when the Crown Prince and his would-be bride held their first, and so far only, press conference. There was no chance there would be surprises, since under palace rules questions were submitted in advance. Nonetheless, by her very demeanor Masako Owada made news. [...]
"I'd be telling a lie if I were to say that I do not feel a sense of sadness on leaving the Foreign Ministry, where I have been working for close to six years," Owada told the crowd of reporters. But she was won over, she said, when the Prince told her, "I will protect you with all my power throughout my life." It was unclear whom she needed protection from, but many believe those words were a signal to both the Imperial Household Agency and the Japanese press that if they tangle with the new Princess, they will be tangling with the Prince. The message was out: There would be no digging into her past life, no carping from old-line families whose daughters were passed over and none of the harsh treatment by the Imperial Household Agency that led Empress Michiko to a near nervous breakdown and a miscarriage a generation ago.

Curiously, the press conference has emerged as a sort of national Rorschach test. Many older Japanese said they were shocked by Owada's forwardness. Miss Owada, they complained, had breached imperial etiquette by repeatedly stepping in to add a few words to Prince Naruhito's comments. [...] Akira Hashimoto, a senior executive of Kyodo News Service who went to school with the Emperor when he was a child, also suggested Owada has a bit to learn. [...] To become a true princess, she must "give up her endeavor to build up her own character" and should "find a way to express herself simply with her smile." [...]

In contrast, many younger Japanese, particularly working women, were thrilled to see a future empress offering direct, savvy answers, even opinions. "She said the very maximum she could say," one of her colleagues and friends at the Foreign Ministry said. Owada's account of how she deliberated between job and marriage was particularly satisfying to many of her friends, because they knew it would infuriate old-line families and pro-imperialists. "To them, her view, her feelings should not be important," a former colleague said. "She was saying it was the deciding factor."

Yet another group -- Owada's American friends, who knew her as a bright, witty and outspoken young woman -- had a different reaction. Some said they were shocked by what they saw. Sitting in her perfect dress, bowing at all the right moments, her gloved hands folded just-so in her lap, she "had turned into something different, almost robotic," said a friend who knew Owada well at Harvard. "You would hardly recognize her. I saw this and said to myself, 'It's over.' " Last month, these friends noted that after Owada received the official engagement gifts from the palace, she posed a bit awkwardly in her kimono for the cameras. They could not remember ever seeing her in a kimono. [...]
The New York Times
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