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  #61  
Old 12-10-2006, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Emily
Charlotte, thank you for the information on the doctor. How did you find out that it was her mother who helped with the search?
From the book on Masako by Ben Hills, which by the way is a good book to have, it will be available on Amazon after christmas.

I have read the book and enjoyed it. Personally I don’t think it’s possible to make comments about the Japanese Imperial Family without some knowledge of Japanese society and traditions, which is best discovered by living it firsthand. Ben Hills is an investigative journalist who actually lived in Japan for 3 years, is married to a Japanese woman and is a regular visitor to Japan. The book doesn’t just talk about Masako and what she’s been through but actually puts it in a Japanese societal context. He examines all the gossip and innuendo as well as actually speaking to people who know or knew Masako and Naruhito, the book is heavy on named (and credible sources) and very light on “sources say” “ friends of”.
I’ve read one review of the book where the reviewer bemoans the somewhat detached style of the writing. It’s exactly what I thought was great, it’s written like a piece of investigative journalism rather than a piece of emotive smush. There’s no emotive language, no metaphorical hand wringing of ‘poor Masako”. Although there is some of that annoyingly in the promotional material going with the book as well as complete errors. The press reported that the book stated that Naruhito and Masako considered leaving the Imperial Family, this is totally false. What is actually written in the book is that there was magazine speculation that they wanted to leave but it was something that wasn’t likely or true.

The most interesting thing that I found out was that the most common image that we westerners have of Masako, that is she was a modern woman, ‘westernized’ due to her spending time living outside of Japan, this isn’t actually the case. Masako in reality was very much the traditional, good, studious Japanese female. Although she spent part of her early childhood in Russia and the US, her parents maintained a totally Japanese household, they only spoke Japanese at home, ate Japanese food and mixed with the Japanese community. At the age of 8 when Masako returned to Japan she attended a strict ( and exclusive) catholic private girls’ school, which had been attended by her mother and grandmother before her. At the age of 16 she moved to the US and attended an American High school, she was shocked by the dating between students and the drug taking. At her high school prom, she and another Asian female student were so embarrassed by the fact that couples were kissing on the dance floor that they spent the night in the auditorium watching movies. Masako studied hard, didn’t date and made no mark on her school at all, the assistant principal at the time later said that there are certain students who pass through and you can not remember them. She had to attend an American university as having spent 2 years out of the Japanese school system she would not have been able to pass the entrance exams to a good Japanese university. Being studious she was accepted into Harvard, she lived in a “bookish” dorm. She was chairman of the Harvard Japan society and spent most of her time studying. She didn’t date but socialised with a group of people. During her summer holidays she spent time living with host families in France to improve her French and Germany to improve her German. Having graduated with a degree in economics from Harvard she was offered jobs in the US but she chose to return to Japan. There she lived at home with her parents until she was married. Even when she studied in the UK she actually lived with a family rather than her own apartment.

Kiko who is often referred to as the traditional one is actually the more modern princess. Kiko also lived outside of Japan as a child, she did attend a Japanese university but unlike Masako she did date. Kiko ended up marrying her university boyfriend Prince Akishino. Kiko also broke away from the traditional wife role by the fact that she continued at university after her marriage and even after the birth of her 2 daughters, she completed the first part of her PhD in Psychology. Unusual in a country where a woman as soon as she’s married doesn’t work or continue with her education.
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  #62  
Old 12-11-2006, 12:09 PM
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Charlotte, thank you for that information. Yes, I suppose it is hard to comment much on Masako's situation without knowing Japanese society, as I think it is hard to make too many inferences if you don't know what life in America is like. And so, I am curious to know Ben Hill's background so I understand where he is coming from with the assessments he makes. Masako and I are about the same age and have lived in some of the same American culture. That she was disgusted by the making out in high school and the drugs is not unusual, especially since she was from a more closed society in that regard -- even Americans would have been disgusted by some of that. And that she spent the night choosing to watch movies with a girlfriend as a response to that would not have been unusual either, since that would have been an alternative activity at the school. While there is partying at Harvard as at any other place, there is alot of studying there as well so am not sure what Hill is referring to. It is an intense school for bright kids and many of the houses have plenty of "bookish" kids just by necessity -- not, as I said, that there aren't partiers, too.

I am not surprised that Kiko is modern -- she strikes me as being a woman with her own mind despite the fact that I think she presents herself as quite traditional when she is in the company of the Imperial Family...which would be appropriate. I will be curious to read the book.
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  #63  
Old 12-12-2006, 07:23 AM
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Emily, sorry to mislead, but it was my assessment that Masako had been a traditional Japanese woman before her marriage, not Ben Hills. I just used the information he presented about her early life and my own knowledge and experience of working with immigrant communities as well as my experience of living outside my home country on more than one occasion.
Previously I had accepted the common view that Masako had been influence by the fact that she had lived outside of Japan for longish periods of time. So it was interesting to me that this view isn’t necessarily accurate. People living outside their home countries tend to react in 2 ways, either they cling onto their home culture and lifestyle or the opposite they totally embrace the new culture. Masako from what Ben Hills wrote through interviewing people who knew her seems to have firmly clung to being traditional Japanese. So she did go to her prom, had she wanted to become all American she would have gone with a date, danced and not opted out and watched movies. Even Australian exchange students who live in the US for a year want to actively experience that part of American culture, the high school prom.
At Harvard she didn’t join the feminist woman’s group, she was chairman of the Japan society and organised sushi parties and acted as an ambassador for visiting Japanese dignitaries.
She was offered jobs in the US ( with such high salaries that her mother was supposed to have said, it was a pity Masako didn’t accept them as they could get used to some of the luxuries of life! ) As Ben Hills wrote she could have easily gone down the same path as many US educated Japanese women, accepted a job in the US, had a career, married a non-Japanese and visited Japan as infrequently as possible. Instead she went back to a low paying job knowing full well the stumbling blocks to any female in Japan trying to climb up the career ladder. As I’ve recently read, in Japan it’s not so much the glass ceiling that stops career climbing for women but a concrete ceiling.
By the late 1980’s and early 90’s Japanese women even in Japan ( mainly in Tokyo), the more adventurous and independent ones were moving out of home and into their own apartments, Yet Masako never did either in Japan, the US or when she lived in the UK.
Living outside your own culture as Masako did, you can develop the ability to be on the outside looking in. You can look in on the culture of the country you’re living in but not necessarily embrace it. Again personal experience here!

A footnote, Masako’s mother is university educated and gave up a career to marry. Masako’s sisters are younger than her, also foreign educated, one worked for UNESCO in Vietnam and both followed the traditional route, married and stopped working. One sister married a doctor and is a housewife in Tokyo, the other married a lawyer and followed him to Switzerland where he now works. All the women in Masako’s family are highly educated and spent considerable time outside Japan and yet all followed the traditional route, get married and give up working.
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  #64  
Old 12-12-2006, 11:06 AM
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Charlotte1, thank you for the excerpt from the new book. I am looking forward to reading it. I assumed that Masako was modern and Kiko traditional, so the information in the book was a surprise.
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  #65  
Old 12-13-2006, 04:21 AM
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All the women in Masako’s family spent considerable time outside Japan, yet all followed the traditional route-Charlotte1-

Thanks Charlotte1 and Ben Hills:

It is very interesting to know how westerners think and analyze, against Japanese culture through CP Masako. In addition, their comparison between CP Masako and Kiko is also curious, because nobody can see their heart and soul, except for outside attitude or behavior.

According to Charlotte1, CP Masako seems very conservative and traditional as Japanese female, however it must be a great irony that CP Masako and CP Naruhito have been accused and heavily criticized as the revolutionalist or the tradition destroyer by so-called "Conservatists."

Perhaps it will be the most difficult thing to get truth in our life among plenty of fakes and faults, as hidden precious value of Masako & Naruhito.
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  #66  
Old 12-13-2006, 05:55 AM
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It is interesting that Masako has been subjected to a lot of criticism by conservatives but she had also been set up to fail by those pushing for great societal change. When she married into the Japanese Imperial Family a large part of the press coverage was how she was going to modernise the Imperial household. She was going to be a beacon for Japanese women who wanted non-traditional roles. But she was just one solitary female in the most traditional and conservative institution in a relatively conservative society.
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  #67  
Old 12-13-2006, 11:06 AM
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I remember reading an interview, I think at the time she was married, where one of her contemporaries at Harvard said that Masako was much more of a typically conservative Japanese than anyone seemed to be giving her credit for. I suppose it was the combination of her job and her reluctance to marry into the imperial family which gave people the idea that she was some sort of highly independent modernising influence.
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Old 12-14-2006, 11:52 PM
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I really wish Masako would get a divorce, leave the Imperial Family and recover. I don't think she'll ever fully be at 100% as long as she's still a member of the family. That saddens me because it shouldn't come down to that, but I often wonder if she thinks she's a prisoner and can't leave for the sake of her daughter.
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  #69  
Old 12-15-2006, 02:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sister Morphine
I really wish Masako would get a divorce, leave the Imperial Family and recover. I don't think she'll ever fully be at 100% as long as she's still a member of the family. That saddens me because it shouldn't come down to that, but I often wonder if she thinks she's a prisoner and can't leave for the sake of her daughter.
According to Ben Hils, the author of the new book on Masako, there are two families you can never leave in Japanese society: the Yakuza and the Imperial Family. So that makes me think it is not an option for Masako..... and it seems to me that she loves her husband, not to mention Aiko.

Personally I don't agree that the Crown couple's duties should be separated. Masako seems to draw strength from Naruhito so it's good for them to work together. Maybe her schedule for now should not be as full as Naruhito's, but I would like to see them together. Also, they will be the future Emperor and Empress, and I hardly see Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko on separate duties. Maybe there's just an angle I don't see that the IHA does?
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  #70  
Old 12-15-2006, 04:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monica17
According to Ben Hils, the author of the new book on Masako, there are two families you can never leave in Japanese society: the Yakuza and the Imperial Family. So that makes me think it is not an option for Masako..... and it seems to me that she loves her husband, not to mention Aiko.
Grrrrr No, Ben Hills does not say that 'there are two families you can never leave in Japanese society: the Yakuza and the Imperial Family.' That's the sensationalistic publicity for the book people that state that!

The complete quote from Ben Hills's book is "Says Kenichi Asano, the professor of journalism and imperial critic 'there are two families you can never leave in Japanese society: the Yakuza and the royal family' This is a colourful quote, but it is not true" He then goes on to write about an imperial prince from the past who did divorce.
Ben Hills also quote Article 14 of the Imperial Household Law specifically provides that in the case of divorce the wife of the prince shall loose her status as a member of the imperial family.
Royals can divorce but the likelihood of this happening with M & N isn't great as they seem to be quite a devoted couple. Also Japan doesn't have 'no fault' divorce any woman who is deemed at fault of her marriage breaking down looses custody of her children and receives no alimony or maintenance from her former husband. There is also no division of property. A good example of this, former Prime Minister Koizumi is divorced, his wife was claimed to be at fault as she didn't put 100% effort into his political ambitions. He has custody of their 2 sons, they have no contact with their mother, a son born after the divorce lives with Koizumi's former wife, Koizumi has no contact with him, neither do his 2 older sons.

Masako isn't a prisoner, she does leave the palace, no paparazzi in Japan means no pictures but she does venture out. Ben Hills again, Masako was recently seen enjoying herself with friends of Naruhito and at a festival, her media critics criticised the fact she was enjoying herself and not performing official duties.
On a positive note, N & M have a new head of their household,( a diplomat who had worked with Masako's father) there is a new Cheif Steward of the IHA. The one who publically criticised Masako for not having another child and admitted restricting Masako's overseas trips in the hope of her getting pregnant retired.
She has a new cheif lady in waiting who like herself is bilingual and US university educated. Masako is said to get along well with her, I wonder if she was the woman in the car with Masako on her birthday when she went to visit her inlaws?
Aiko has an actual expert in child development looking after her education, rather than the old family retainers who have served the Imperial Family for generations. Again she gets along well with Masako.
Masako has a doctor she can trust in Yukata Ono who is someone who can really help her.
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  #71  
Old 12-15-2006, 08:21 PM
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So...do you REALLY thinks that she WANTS divorce the Crownprince? I see in all this nothing but malicious whispers...

People today likes to speak about "poor princesses prisonners in their palaces"...My God! I wish I could a "prissoner" like they are and use my power and my possition not to think in myself but in my country and people.It's supposed that princesses are princesses for this and not to accomplis all their little mundane caprices...

Hope this wouldn't sound to harsh, but I wish I can be half a slave, half a "prisonner" Lady Di was , and Princess Masako or Princess letizia Ortiz are, just to bring a little of happiness to my country. I should be more than happy being able to accomplish this, that is my principal wish on life.

If I should think that Noblemen and women are noble only to be rich and do all that their caprices wants, I should be a republican...and when I see the selfishness and the frivolity of some nowadays noblepeople, I'm tempted to think these republicans are right.

Vanesa.
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  #72  
Old 12-16-2006, 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Vanesa
So...do you REALLY thinks that she WANTS divorce the Crownprince? I see in all this nothing but malicious whispers...

People today likes to speak about "poor princesses prisonners in their palaces"...My God! I wish I could a "prissoner" like they are and use my power and my possition not to think in myself but in my country and people.It's supposed that princesses are princesses for this and not to accomplis all their little mundane caprices...

Hope this wouldn't sound to harsh, but I wish I can be half a slave, half a "prisonner" Lady Di was , and Princess Masako or Princess letizia Ortiz are, just to bring a little of happiness to my country. I should be more than happy being able to accomplish this, that is my principal wish on life.

If I should think that Noblemen and women are noble only to be rich and do all that their caprices wants, I should be a republican...and when I see the selfishness and the frivolity of some nowadays noblepeople, I'm tempted to think these republicans are right.

Vanesa.

I am more than certain there are many aspects to a royal's life we could all get very used to. The money, the jewels, the fabulous clothes, the palaces, everyone paying attention to all our wants, needs and desires......but there's more to life than that. It's been well-documented that CP Masako has had problems with depression, maybe other illnesses and a lot of it was triggered by the absolute need to have a son, which she didn't have. Royals also have no privacy, and can very seldom go anywhere they want without hordes of security and paparazzi following them around. So for all the good that comes with it, there's plenty of bad too.
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  #73  
Old 12-16-2006, 09:19 PM
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The one who publically criticised Masako for not having another child and admitted restricting Masako's overseas trips in the hope of her getting pregnant retired.
One hopes he's also getting some remedial lessons in human reproduction.

The sad thing is that this pressure he applied is probably part of the reason why she didn't have more children.
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Old 12-16-2006, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Sister Morphine
I really wish Masako would get a divorce, leave the Imperial Family and recover. I don't think she'll ever fully be at 100% as long as she's still a member of the family. That saddens me because it shouldn't come down to that, but I often wonder if she thinks she's a prisoner and can't leave for the sake of her daughter.
Anyone knows if any other member of the Imperial Family ever divorced their spouse? I can't recall anyone myself but for such high profile couple that option could be out of their reach.
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Old 12-16-2006, 11:32 PM
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One hopes he's also getting some remedial lessons in human reproduction.

The sad thing is that this pressure he applied is probably part of the reason why she didn't have more children.
yes, too bad she has had to put up with such a person for so long.

there may just be more than 1 of him in the IHA too. One needs to be relaxed to conceive, not completely stressed out with everyone "watching" (so to say) and commenting on it all the time as if it's the only thing that matters.

But he probably thinks nothing of it all, just upholding the tradition (imo); it's certainly a different view than I would be able to appreciate for any length of time, that's for sure. (again, my opinion)
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Old 12-17-2006, 10:11 PM
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That could be...a friend of mine wanted fiercely to have a baby...But the more she wanted it, the less her husband and her seemed to be able to reach their wish. They made thousand of medical therapies...And they lost any hope to give birth to a child. Well...when they didn't pay any more attention to their "problem", my friend got pregnant. Now, the "problem" is 11 years old!!!!

Vanesa.
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Old 12-18-2006, 02:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Charlotte1
Grrrrr No, Ben Hills does not say that 'there are two families you can never leave in Japanese society: the Yakuza and the Imperial Family.' That's the sensationalistic publicity for the book people that state that!

The complete quote from Ben Hills's book is "Says Kenichi Asano, the professor of journalism and imperial critic 'there are two families you can never leave in Japanese society: the Yakuza and the royal family' This is a colourful quote, but it is not true" He then goes on to write about an imperial prince from the past who did divorce.
Thanks for the correction and the additional info, Charlotte. I just read the summary of the book over the Net, and not the whole book. I mistook it as coming from Ben Hills.
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Old 12-18-2006, 09:57 AM
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I think Naruhito and Masako are among the least likely royals of any to get divorced. I think they really love each other and Aiko and they will not allow outside pressures and stress to seperate them. It's not a Charles and Diana situation where divorce ultimately was the only option for a marriage that was broken and dysfunctional for a long time before the actual end. Can't see Naruhito giving her up, ever.
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Old 02-17-2007, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Charlotte1
It is interesting that Masako has been subjected to a lot of criticism by conservatives but she had also been set up to fail by those pushing for great societal change. When she married into the Japanese Imperial Family a large part of the press coverage was how she was going to modernise the Imperial household. She was going to be a beacon for Japanese women who wanted non-traditional roles. But she was just one solitary female in the most traditional and conservative institution in a relatively conservative society.
Thanx for your info Charlotte1 i definitely plan to read the book once it comes out in paperback!!!! I had no idea that CP M was a conservative in the sense of how she has lived her life. I guess she has followed the path that her mother laid down, that is marry and give up your career.
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Old 02-17-2007, 10:32 PM
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Masako is a smart, strong, and lovely woman. Unfortunately sha have to face such a hard problems that made her depressed. I believe that she used to try, and will always try, to do and to give the best of her to the Imperial Family, the country and its people, and to her loving and caring husband and daughter.
Masako is like a pearl and I just can't stop hoping that someday she will shine on and get happiness she and her family deserve.
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