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-   -   Has princess Kiko been badly treated? (http://www.theroyalforums.com/forums/f126/has-princess-kiko-been-badly-treated-19165.html)

ChiaraC 11-25-2008 10:02 AM

Has princess Kiko been badly treated?
 
Jia, the first thing I have to say on this subject is that I have no “hard” proof for what I am saying. There is only a whole lot of small incidents and expressions of faces that I interpret, and, I must say that I am personally sure that I am right – also because I am famous among my friends for being able to explain the motives and foretell the actions of people that I have never personally met, that have only been described to me by others. And although all the information I get about these people comes from my friends I sometimes understand them better than my friends who have met them in person a lot of times. I just know by experience that this is often the case and have come to trust my impressions. But, of course, I cannot and would not expect you to just believe it because I am saying it. I might be wrong, and I am just sharing my guesswork and have no farther pretensions.

You have probably read the first post I have written concerning this question as you mention the Thailand affair. (Bye the bye: I generally agree that a single affair is not necessarily the ruin of every happy marriage.) I will not repeat what I have written there. (For everybody who is interested see here: http://www.theroyalforums.com/forums/showpost.php?p=802061&postcount=13)

But I will add here a few things more that recently have strengthened my conviction of the Akishino-marriage being presently a very unhappy one:

1. We probably all remember the broad smile Kiko showed the world when she left the hospital with newly born Hisahito, and also shortly afterwards, on occasion of his being presented at the shrine. At that time, it was also remarkable how she was trying to meet her husband´s look and share the smiling joy with him. (But already then: I did not notice an instant of her husband returning her look. He proudly watched his son but never his wife.)
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Now, two years later, this brilliant smile, the trying to contact her husband is gone. Her smile is rather frozen and she interacts nearly exclusively with her son on whom she remains concentrated. But there is never a proud look being exchanged between the parents that could be compared (for example) with the look between Naruhito and Masako, accompanying Aiko on her first day in school. http://www.daylife.com/photo/0bEO6C07lO6ds/aiko_%2B__primary_school

If I watch, for example, the film from the 3rd of May on this page http://www.dai2ntv.jp/common/misc/kochi2/nikoniko/index.html (The icon is little Hisahito with a bit of a white dog.) I receive the impression that the only fairly happy person in it is (fortunately) the innocent little one. Kiko is forcing a smile, Akishino looks rather bored and the daughters downright depressed. Just my impression, of course, and, of course, they are trying to make it look happy but I just do not believe it.

My interpretation is the following: Kiko had hoped that she would get her husband´s attention and admiration back if she gave him what probably was (and is) his highest ambition: to stop being only the little brother and the “second one”. More than that: she did not only hope to get it but was sure of it. The only thing she feared was that there might still go something wrong with the pregnancy. And when everything did go well she was sure she had finally made it and won her husband´s love back: thence her happy smile. Now, now, now, very soon the long expected miracle would manifest… But after a time she had to find out what everybody with a bit of life experience knows (at least when another is concerned…): having another child cannot save a marriage, and if this child is heir to the world´s most ancient throne or not makes no difference whatsoever in the matter.

And now, it seems to me, Kiko has given up and decided to put up with what she has, her position, in short: the mere APPEARANCE of having everything desirable. But I do not think that she will ever be able to forgive her husband, and I am afraid that this resentment will, in the long run, poison her once so soft and gentle soul.

ChiaraC 11-25-2008 10:09 AM

2. The second instance is what prince and princess Akishino said on their first press conference after Hisahito´s birth. (see: http://www.kunaicho.go.jp/akishino/akishino-kaiken-h18-01-e.html) They were being asked about how they had dealt with the frightening situation of being confronted with the medical complication of “placenta previa”. Now it is, of course, very difficult to extract any real information from a press conference, and even more from a press conference of Japanese imperials because there are so many things that are just said because you are supposed to say that, even if it is very far from the truth.

But in this case the couple had obviously not come to an agreement concerning which version of the facts should be presented to the public. The princess explained in much detail how her husband had supported her, had eased her fears and had explained to her the medical facts of the matter, and how she was being grateful for his support and that given by the emperor and the empress. The prince, in his turn, had said: "Being diagnosed with partial placenta previa forced Her Highness to enter hospital earlier than usual but given that medical care has advanced considerably since our last child, I don't think we were overly concerned about her condition." It seems to me that here he is probably telling us the truth about his own state of mind but not about his wife´s. I am confirmed in this belief by the fact that the princess comes back to this theme when they have seemingly done with it and are already answering to the next question. To me it seems that she is trying to get across that things were not so easy for her as her husband wants to make them appear - but he insists on his view of the matter:

HIH Princess Akishino
(Turning toward His Highness) I forgot to mention one thing when I was asked about how I felt when I found out about the placenta previa. May I now say a few words? (His Highness nods in assent so Her Highness starts to speak again.)
When I was diagnosed with placenta previa, I realized that even though I had experienced two births before, all I knew about the various concerns and risks associated with pregnancy and childbirth was limited to information I had picked up from popular books on medicine. We learned from our doctors that placenta previa requires the patient to stay in bed for close observation for any changes in physical condition; that the mother and the child are exposed to certain risks even if the mother remains in bed; and that the risks have been greatly reduced thanks to modern medical advances. I paid attention to this throughout the rest of my pregnancy.
HIH Prince Akishino
As I mentioned earlier, I believe that Her Highness was reassured by this knowledge and as a result and was relatively free from undue worry.

I personally think that the truth of the matter is that the prince said what he actually believed because he WANTED to believe it: I think that he does not want to be molested by his wife´s pains or fears, and as it would sound too evil if he would express it in this blunt way (even to himself) he just chooses to believe that his wife is just fine without him and does not need his help. (He would absolutely not be the first husband in history acting in this way…)

And Kiko described things in the way how she would have wanted them to have been. She probably knows better but, anyway, there is nothing she could gain by blaming her husband in public.

Another interesting instance is the fact that Kako was obviously very worried about her mother´s condition. She tried to ease her fears by passing a lot of time with her and by busying herself with making toys of felt cloth for the new baby. But when the prince is asked about what his younger daughter has been making he only knows that she has been doing something but is at a loss to say what it has been (handicraft) and for what purpose (a toy for the baby) and has to refer to his wife for the answers.

IF he has really been considerate of his wife´s feelings in this frightening situation (which I do not believe although the princess affirms it) it is, at least, clear that he has not taken the trouble to show this sort of attention to his younger daughter... (I admit that here I am sympathizing a lot with little Kako because when I myself was eight years my mother was in hospital with a tubal pregnancy - of course, I was trying to be a good girl and to not cause still more trouble to my parents but I remember how scared I was and how full of fear that my mother might die. Naturally, nobody had told me, a child, that this could happen but I sensed the danger. I think, every child feels it when the mother is in danger. - Fortunately, mine survived. :smile:)

3. The third instance – which would mean nothing in itself but is gaining some weight by the context of other suspicious circumstances – is the fact that when the Akishino family went lately to see the exhibition “Empress and her children” the father of the family was busy elsewhere. This is especially striking if you compare it with the family of the crown prince attending the exhibition: we constantly see Naruhito very animatedly explaining some thing or other to his daughter - which in this case makes much sense, not because it is traditionally the man and father who should do the talking ;), but because in this case Naruhito is the only one who can give the background information, because it is he on these photos and it is his childhood that is displayed. In this situation, he is the expert and if he denied to give the necessary explanations to his wife and daughter there would be nobody who could do it in his stead.

His brother, on the other hand, does not think it important to be there for his family, at least at this opportunity, and to answer their questions. And in a way I am not surprised of it because I do not have the impression that he enjoys being with his family very much. What I think is that he has never really succeeded in emotionally growing up which means that he always wants the others to entertain and amuse him and to attend to his needs and that he cannot enjoy being there for others and taking responsibility for them. In a way, it is maybe even tragic because an emotionally grown up father (or mother) does not take care of his children because it is his duty (well, sometimes maybe… :rolleyes:) but because he enjoys doing it, because he enjoys to give, to care and to protect. And Fumihito, for whatever reason, has never reached this level of maturity. Maybe he sometimes even tries to do his duty but for him it is simply no fun at all. :closedeye

Mermaid1962 11-25-2008 03:33 PM

Ah...you're a true intuitive. My husband often asks my opinion too because I'm able to "read" situations.:smile:

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChiaraC (Post 858431)
Jia, the first thing I have to say on this subject is that I have no “hard” proof for what I am saying. There is only a whole lot of small incidents and expressions of faces that I interpret, and, I must say that I am personally sure that I am right – also because I am famous among my friends for being able to explain the motives and foretell the actions of people that I have never personally met, that have only been described to me by others. And although all the information I get about these people comes from my friends I sometimes understand them better than my friends who have met them in person a lot of times. I just know by experience that this is often the case and have come to trust my impressions. But, of course, I cannot and would not expect you to just believe it because I am saying it. I might be wrong, and I am just sharing my guesswork and have no farther pretensions.


Al_bina 11-25-2008 06:30 PM

I have found ChiaraC's posts about the relationship between Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko insightful. As I have noted on multiple occasions, Japan is one of the most advanced countries from the technological standpoint, but it seems to be somewhat backward from the standpoint of mentality. I dare to say that Japanese feudal past is still evident in everyday Japanese life. Thus, the relationships between Prince Akishino and his wife is largely governed by the norms that are culturally acceptable in the Japanese society at large. Similar to many Asian marriages, Japanese marriages are more about giri, a woman's duty toward a family: take care of a house, rear children, and preserve face of families (her own family and that of her husband). Under such circumstances, marriages tend to morph into mask relationships aimed at preserving face. Adultery on a husband'/wife's (sometimes) part ensues from the hollow relationships, thereby allowing a party to find some likeness of personal happiness. At the same time, wives are not expected to react this ungraceful behaviour, even if they know about it.
In case of Princess Kiko, the reward comes in the form of a very high social status and perquisites associated with being the Princess and the mother of the long-waited heir. She is expected to find a comfort in the above things.

Jia 11-25-2008 07:31 PM

That's very insightful Chiara C!!
Thanks for all the effort!
I've seen similar circumstances in real life, and what's always so heartbreaking is that
the wives want to work it out someway to have a close and warm relationship,
but husbands don't dare to.
And wives end up paying more attention to children, far more than necessary.
I hope Kiko's still enough fed with warmth from her lovely children.
Though Hisahito's birth didn't win her Akishino's attention, the little prince himslef could be a great gift.

Odette 11-25-2008 09:22 PM

I find all the above postings extremely interesting and although I believe we can "see" things in photos and understand situations studying body language, we are somewhat restricted in these forums from speculating.
I agree that Kiko has her position within the Imperial family cemented with the birth of her son.
If past rumours and current "evidence" suggests that the couple is not truly happy it would be really sad. I doubt Kiko is being treated badly and I wish her all the best.

Marquesa d Yolombó 12-10-2008 04:45 PM

ChiaraC, I hav been thinking about your post for at least a day and a half before daring to write these lines. In that time, too, I looked through the same evidences you have (thinking what a fellow forumer said, that it is hard to read body language and that we are attached to speculation), and I can say that my heart tells me you are right. This marriage is no longer peaceful or happy, and their situation is spreading to their children, as anyone can see in the faces of the Princesses. Let me tell you that you are a very intuitive person....

Elspeth 12-10-2008 05:00 PM

Well, I've often wondered why that elder daughter looks as though she has the weight of the world on her shoulders sometimes, but this would go a long way to explaining it.

I remember how fresh and happy Kiko looked at the time of the engagement and when newly married. Now, to me, she just looks smug. Perhaps it isn't smugness as much as a fixed smile that doesn't really go much beyond skin deep, because she doesn't have the emotional closeness with her husband. For all that Masako has suffered one way and another, she does at least seem to have a husband who truly adores her.

Kiko, like Masako, spent considerable time in her youth living in other countries, and she was exposed to the western way of thinking about relationships. Naruhito also spent time in England and has some experience of those other perspectives, so he and Masako probably have some mutual understanding there. Prince Akishino, on the other hand, seems to be very traditional (despite his own stint at Oxford), and it's very possible that he and Kiko might not have the same sort of mutual understanding that his brother and sister in law have.

magnik 12-10-2008 05:23 PM

It's really hard to say something about them only on the basis of photos.

When I watch their photos or videos I've impressed that I don't see people but marionettes. For all pictures they look almost the same with the same smile with the same face impression. Sometimes I wonder are they alive or not. Or maybe there's really nothing between them. Or they doesn't show they real emotions outside because that's Japan and that's much different culture than our louder western.

ChiaraC 12-11-2008 11:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Elspeth (Post 865575)
Kiko, like Masako, spent considerable time in her youth living in other countries, and she was exposed to the western way of thinking about relationships. Naruhito also spent time in England and has some experience of those other perspectives, so he and Masako probably have some mutual understanding there. Prince Akishino, on the other hand, seems to be very traditional (despite his own stint at Oxford), and it's very possible that he and Kiko might not have the same sort of mutual understanding that his brother and sister in law have.

I do think that the Akishino marriage was in the beginning definitely based on love - or passion or infatuation, whatever: what exactly, I am not going to discuss here, but my point is: on personal attraction on both sides. I am not sure if for this it was even necessary for Kiko to grow up abroad - I am sure that many Japanese young g.irls are dreaming of romantic love who have never been outside of Japan - Japan is not cut off from the rest of the world to such a degree as to prevent that.

And I think that it is this beginning what makes things so hard for Kiko. You open up yourself in a different way and make yourself much more vulnerable when you marry for love. An arranged marriage may give less but also is asking less of you.

Akishino, IMO, was also very much in love in the beginning but, as I said before, he just wanted the pleasure and not the hard work. (And a successful marriage, especially in the modern sense, is always hard work. Here again: the traditional form may give less personal satisfaction but it also asks less personal efforts from the partners.) You can see this phenomenon also in Western men, as Jia says: "I've seen similar circumstances in real life, and what's always so heartbreaking is that the wives want to work it out someway to have a close and warm relationship, but husbands don't dare to." (I suppose she is not talking of real life only in Japan...) (To get this clear: there may also be women who are "lazy" in this way but, as, traditionally, they were, also in the Western world, more dependent on a working relationship than men they would be usually more committed and active here.)

It may be, though, that Akishino, because of his tradition, understands even less what the problem is than a Western man would and has less difficulties in silencing his conscience...:ermm: And, for sure, he is surrounded by people who do not see the problem either - notably his parents... Although they appreciate Kiko I do not suppose that they are a help here...

But my point would be with all four of them, Naruhito, Masako, Fumihito and Kiko, that they had the chance to see both possibilities, Western and Eastern, traditional and modern, of building a relationship. And they all have made their choice – and could have chosen differently... I do not see Akishino´s character as determined by his way of growing up as to think that he would not have had the possibility to learn to treat his wife in a more respectful way.

And, as I said before, both couples have their own mixture of past and present. Naruhito´s and Masako´s marriage bears many traits of a traditionally arranged marriage – that was their choice and it is also characteristic for both of them. They started with matching values and visions and then tried to make it work on the personal level – an enterprise that certainly had its own difficulties but finally seems to have worked. The Akishinos started with mutual passion - a much more modern sort of beginning - but confronted with the difficulties of forming a lasting relationship out of individual desire, and failing, they fell back upon the empty conventions of tradition...

Thank you for your support, Jia, mermaid and Marquesa d Yolombó! :flowers: Thank you, Albina :flowers:, especially for giving the historical/social background! The story of the Akishinos is certainly not just an individual story but in many respects typical - for interaction between husband and wife in the change between tradition and modern times - which can also be applied to a degree to Western couples - but especially typical, of course, for a certain type of interaction between Japanese partners.

Marquesa d Yolombó 12-12-2008 08:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChiaraC (Post 865871)
I do think that the Akishino marriage was in the beginning definitely based on love - or passion or infatuation, whatever:

I guess it was more infatuation than anything... coming from Akishino, and Kiko felt flattered, being the object of a Prince's attention. I think most of the times that Akishino is bored of his family (and bored of his big doll Kiko), and only wants to be seated at the Chrysanthemum Throne. He seems to me that he is a little selfish regarding feelings and happiness, and that may have passed to Kiko and their daughters.

Thanks for your remark in my post ! And I say the same to the other posting: thanks a lot for sharing their opinions and debating here with us !!

ChiaraC 12-15-2008 11:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marquesa d Yolombó (Post 866544)
I guess it was more infatuation than anything... coming from Akishino, and Kiko felt flattered, being the object of a Prince's attention. I think most of the times that Akishino is bored of his family (and bored of his big doll Kiko), and only wants to be seated at the Chrysanthemum Throne. He seems to me that he is a little selfish regarding feelings and happiness, and that may have passed to Kiko and their daughters!



Well, I agree that Kiko is lately somehow „frozen“ but if you look at these pictures, is that a doll?Here especially the second one:http://www.theroyalforums.com/forums/showpost.php?p=384104&postcount=34AndAnd here especially the first three and the fifth:http://www.theroyalforums.com/forums/showpost.php?p=380908&postcount=29In In my opinion, she was not always wearing a mask. And concerning the girls: they are sad, and they may sometimes feel a bit unnerved about their little brother being made such a fuss about (and rightly so) but I like them both. They do not look their best in the dark grey and beige dresses they are obliged to wear but I do think that they have a good heart. If they will close it some day and will stop feeling, like their mother, once their youthful hope is gone, future must show. - Of course, it is always what we see – none of us can prove it, and concerning the father of the family I certainly agree with you.

magnik 12-15-2008 03:47 PM

Or maybe that's not frozen on her face but some kind of dignity for the mother of the future emperor?

iowabelle 12-17-2008 03:08 PM

I'm not an expert on the Japanese RF, but my guess is that a Japanese person would have rather different expectations of marriage than, say, an American. What I, as an American woman, would find heartbreaking might be acceptable to a Japanese royal, even one who has married into the institution.

I have to say, however, that I am appalled that the situation with Princess Masako has persisted for so long. It doesn't speak well of the Imperial Household that they haven't been able to integrate her special needs with the demands they place upon her. I think she could make a great spouse for an emperor if they took advantage of her special talents and intelligence, but they seem to want to hide her in the corner and make her feel inadequate.

But the general situation doesn't seem favorable for wives or female children. Just my opinion.

ChiaraC 12-18-2008 12:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by magnik (Post 867692)
Or maybe that's not frozen on her face but some kind of dignity for the mother of the future emperor?

Well, do not you think that it should be possible to be dignified and alive at the same time? ;)

dragonsfire8 12-25-2008 12:06 AM

Anything is possible with this type of treatment.

Tilla 12-25-2008 05:12 AM

Perhaps you do not agree.... but now, that I see for the first time here in the forum such a variety of photos of Princess Kiko - I cannot but admiringly say, what a lovely Lady, what simplicity but exquisite quality in wardrobes, what simplicity but beauty in jewelry. I am full of admiration.
Very happy Christmas to you all,
Tilla

firelight 12-25-2008 05:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iowabelle (Post 868700)
I'm not an expert on the Japanese RF, but my guess is that a Japanese person would have rather different expectations of marriage than, say, an American. What I, as an American woman, would find heartbreaking might be acceptable to a Japanese royal, even one who has married into the institution.

I have to say, however, that I am appalled that the situation with Princess Masako has persisted for so long. It doesn't speak well of the Imperial Household that they haven't been able to integrate her special needs with the demands they place upon her. I think she could make a great spouse for an emperor if they took advantage of her special talents and intelligence, but they seem to want to hide her in the corner and make her feel inadequate.

But the general situation doesn't seem favorable for wives or female children. Just my opinion.

I'm not Japanese but I am Asian and I am constantly surprised by
Westerners who seem to always assume we must be very different compared to themselves! :rolleyes: You may be amazed, but we share a lot of the same feelings about things. While Asians may be more generally conservative than their Western counterparts, even the most conservative Asian woman would be heartbroken by a cold, unloving and cheating husband. Truly, our expectations of marriage are very much the same as that of Western women!

The only difference is that Asian people, especially women, are more often expected to pretend that they're not unhappy when they are. For an Asian woman, this is often the only way to maintain any sort of dignity. 'Letting it all hang out' causes deep personal embarassment. If your husband has humiliated you with his behaviour, why would you further humiliate yourself by causing a scene? That doesn't mean she's not hurting as much as a Western woman who's screaming for a divorce!

I certainly agree with your assessment of the effect the Imperial Household has on the women and children. The problem here is the old-fashioned and rigid way of life that the royals are subjected to rather than Japanese culture in general. Asian women are not as downtrodden (speaking broadly) as a lot of Westerners imagine. Asian society really isn't as rigid and conservative and sexist as portrayed in movies and books in the West. Don't belive all those novels you read. I don't believe all the Hollywood movies I watch. ;) Japanese women are also some of the most liberated (and liberal!) in all of Asia! However, the women in the Imperial family are held to a far more rigid standard than regular women, hence the problems.

I would love to see a greater opening-up of the Imperial family. I hope that in Naruhito's time, he will make the necessary changes to modernize the Imperial Household so that in future the women who marry into the family will not have to suffer the way his wife and sister-in-law have.

Al_bina 12-25-2008 04:42 PM

firelight,
While I understand your discontent with stereotypes, I would like to point out that the Imperial family is almost Orthodox in regard to preserving the face and maintaining harmonious relationships. At the same time, it would be fair to assume that families based on the traditional values and norms still exist. It is acceptable for female residents of Tokyo to lead the life they enjoy. Female residents of a fishing village tend to be more inclined to lead a rather traditional life: marriage, children, fulfilling their duty as a daughter/wife.
The Japanese society was more about struggling with something, striving for more, persevering, serving one's husband/family. Now the external factors (economic crisis, changes of attitudes among females) have prompted some transformational changes.

Regina 12-26-2008 07:40 AM

Thanks ChiaraC for your analysis of Princess Kiko. It was (really) very interesting to read it.

I still want to believe that Kiko is happy. She's the only person of this family that I still find glad and confident...:sad:

bbb 12-26-2008 10:33 AM

This is a very interesting thread, Thanks everyone for your deep expressions.:flowers: I wish i could believe Kiko was happy. This situation is the same around the world, a woman's emotional heart is fragile and easily broken once given...she has a beautiful family and a priviledged life and hit the golden lottery with a baby boy (born when some women are becoming grandmothers) ....but when the man you love doesn't love or respect you or worse ignores you, arranged marriage or not, it's got to be painful. IMO all of the women in this family suffer from emotional abuse (read: IHA).

American culture changed when women became educated and "wouldn't take it anymore". Many are of the opinion Asian women are some of the most intelligent and educated people in the world....it seems impossible to combine self respect and "giri" but i can only sense it, in a western brain and appreciate the different perspectives in all the posts. in my own experience one of my friends from college is one of (if not) my smartest, most successful friends (BIG TIME lawyer in san francisco). She is Korean and her whole family lives in Korea, she has never married because he HAS to be Korean and she's going to stay single or marry for love (i love her she's got guts) we've had the same circle conversation for so many years, we do it in shorthand now. "dating anybody" "yes" "korean" "no" Okay Dokay:whistling: she has a fabulous life, travels the world, has facinating men friends but simply never intends to get married, we joke, maybe in the rest home when all the family is dead and she's 85 and needs a man to tell her when to take her meds. i've known her since 1980. believe me it's her choice, even 50 and successful she can't let her parents "lose face" half way across the globe. So i can understand if not agree with the culture pressures, it just seems so sad.

All the little girls seem so subdued and unhappy and i've always wondered why...now i know why..this is all they have to look forward to! (thanks Al Bina:flowers:) "giri, a woman's duty toward a family: take care of a house, rear children, and preserve face of families (her own family and that of her husband).":eek:

iowabelle 12-26-2008 12:19 PM

Thank you for your opinions, firefight.

I have noticed that, in general, Americans assume that the world's people should act more like Americans. And of course, since we're Americans, we're the ones who are right! Some of my countrymen don't have a very large view of the world, unfortunately.

But in this particular case there seems to be something about the institution that makes the spouses unhappy (I guess the same argument could be made about the "grey men" at Buckingham Palace, where only Sophie - and presumably Tim Lawrence - seems to have survived in the last several decades).

Mermaid1962 12-26-2008 04:39 PM

Another thing is that I don't think that there's another monarchial system where the Emperor is supposed to be the physical descendant of a goddess, let alone being the high-priest of the state religion. That adds a whole other facet to Japan's monarchy. As hard as the marry-ins to the British Royal Family have found things, there's no divinity associated with the new in-laws!:flowers:


Quote:

Originally Posted by iowabelle (Post 872022)
But in this particular case there seems to be something about the institution that makes the spouses unhappy (I guess the same argument could be made about the "grey men" at Buckingham Palace, where only Sophie - and presumably Tim Lawrence - seems to have survived in the last several decades).


firelight 12-27-2008 05:02 AM

Al bina, you make a good point regarding the diversity of experiences of women - that the ones in Tokyo would probably have more freedom than the ones in the fishing villages. Even in the west, you get huge diversity in the experiences of women - just compare the lives of the sex worker in Harlem and the New York socialite.

The freedom or otherwise of a woman is to a degree influenced by culture but also by things like class and socio-economic background. In Kiko's case, if she is unhappy, I say the Imperial Household is more to blame rather than Japanese culture in general.

Mermaid1962, good point about the divinity. I can't begin to imagine how difficult it is to deal with divine in-laws! :eek: God knows the garden-variety mortal ones are bad enough! I wonder though, how strongly this 'divine descent' is still believed in Japan? Do most modern Japanese still consider the Imperial line truly, literally divine? :angel: Especially those Japanese who are atheist, Buddhist or Christian, they may not really accept this view. But no doubt the high respect in which the Imperial family is held will make it harder for one to criticise it or to break from it.

Charlotte1 12-27-2008 08:45 AM

Japanese people now a days don’t see the Imperial Family as some kind of deity. Generally the Imperial Family is viewed with mild indifference, they have no relevance to the daily life of Japanese but there is no call to remove them as they are part of tradition and tradition is still important. The lack of connection of relevance can be seen in the fact that fewer people now come to do voluntary gardening at the palace. Also at the public appearances for the Emperor’s birthday and New Years Day a large part of the crowd is made up of neo-conservatives ( those who blast their messages from black vans through Japanese cities) and elderly, mainly women.

Japanese women have the same view of marriage and fidelity that western woman have, regardless if they are from Tokyo or some small fishing village. In reality there are few young people in small fishing villages or farming villages, it’s one of the crisises of demographics that the Japanese have to deal with, young people move to the cities and town, the villages are left with the elderly. Fishing and farming areas the women there work on equal terms with their husbands, they are not some poor downtrodden second class citizens. Japanese woman, once married are the ones who run their families. Husbands hand over their entire wage to their wives and their wives give them an allowance, woman pay the bills, make all the family decisions, men go to work, and defer to their wives. In the past it was their mothers ( young married couples lived in the family home) but again the change in society, young couples get their own homes and young wives are no longer terrorized by their powerful mother-in-laws. ( another societal problem though with elderly now living alone or going into nursing homes, before they were all taken care of by their extended family at home)

Divorce is on the rise in Japan, the highest rise is in the 60+ age range. This is because the government has now changed the rules on pensions so divorced women can claim part of their husband’s pensions, in the past they had to remain unhappily married or be destitute, as pensions are paid based on how many years you worked. There’s even a term for it “retirement divorce’ that’s how common it is. Young Japanese don’t stay in a marriage that isn’t working, there is even another term to describe a particularly Japanese phenomenon. The “Narita rikon”, Narita ( the International airport in Tokyo) divorce. This is when a couple who marry having spent very little time together during their courting ( due to long work hours and days) they marry, go on their honeymoon and discover spending 24/7 in each other’s company that they are incompatible so on arrival at Narita they separate. There is no loosing of ‘face’ by divorcing, the same attitude prevails as does in western society, ‘it’s not working’ ‘we’re not happy’ so people divorce.

Women in Japan are also choosing not to marry ( another demographic crisis!) they would much rather have a career, go on multiple overseas holidays, than settle down. Many too leave getting married until their late 30s so they can do other things. There’s no rush to the altar and their expectations are higher, they won’t stay in unhappy marriages. Blue collar Japanese workers ( and rural workers) are finding it difficult to find a Japanese wife, as Japanese women don’t want to marry a factory worker or a labourer or a farmer so these men then look elsewhere in Asia and marry women from the poorer areas of China or the Philippines. That also comes with social problems as these women try to adapt to live in Japan, learn the language and in some cases deal with abuse as not all the marriage are happy. Those in unhappy marriages end up being trapped in Japan, usually with young children and not many skills to help them cope.

Society is changing rapidly in Japan, one cannot make stereotypical statements about what Japanese women will or will not put up with. The reality is that there are not that many differences from western women, it’s just that few westerners have real contact with Japanese society from within so they seem to rely on stereotypes.

Mermaid1962 12-27-2008 02:42 PM

Regardless of the constitutional changes that took place at the end of WWII (the Emperor no longer being considered Divine, especially), old traditions die very hard. For the people who were living before Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I can't imagine that they could dispense with their ideas "just like that."

The Emperor is still the high-priest of Shinto and intercedes on behalf of his people. He isn't the head layman, as--for example--Queen Elizabeth II is.:flowers:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Charlotte1 (Post 872222)
Japanese people now a days don’t see the Imperial Family as some kind of deity.


iowabelle 12-29-2008 02:50 PM

Hmmm... I guess you can't kvetch about the in-laws if they're divine. (That could be irritating.)

ChiaraC 12-30-2008 10:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by firelight (Post 871743)
I'm not Japanese but I am Asian and I am constantly surprised by
Westerners who seem to always assume we must be very different compared to themselves! :rolleyes: You may be amazed, but we share a lot of the same feelings about things. While Asians may be more generally conservative than their Western counterparts, even the most conservative Asian woman would be heartbroken by a cold, unloving and cheating husband. Truly, our expectations of marriage are very much the same as that of Western women!

Thank you, firelight, for making this quite clear. :flowers: Of course, we are all influenced by the different ways in which we grow up but then there are, on the other hand, many things we also, as humans, have in common. And I think it very important to always remember that.

I am certain that there is no offense meant by anybody but I always feel unwell when I read something like: “They are such a different culture, they do not feel it as we do.” This sort of argument has served too often in the past to further tyrannical and racist purposes like: “It does not matter if we do this to THEM - although to US it would be horrible - but THEY do not feel it like we do.”

I repeat that I am convinced that nobody here is intending anything like that, to the contrary, everybody here is trying to be understanding and tolerant towards the differences. And, of course, it is important to be aware as iowabelle says:
Quote:

Originally Posted by iowabelle (Post 871743)
I have noticed that, in general, Americans assume that the world's people should act more like Americans. And of course, since we're Americans, we're the ones who are right! Some of my countrymen don't have a very large view of the world, unfortunately.

The same would go in a certain way for all of the Western world, especially if we hold in mind its colonialistic past...:ermm:

But IMO there is unfortunately no “safe side” concerning this problem – we have to understand and respect the differences and still be aware that we all bleed when we are being cut, like Shylock says...

Saashi 12-31-2008 07:40 AM

Women in any hidebound, rigid, patriarchal environment are not likely to find either freedom of expression or continuing marital happiness, unless they are very lucky. They just don't count very much as living, breathing individuals do they? The main thing required of them is know your place and don't rock the boat.

ChiaraC 01-02-2009 12:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Saashi (Post 873645)
Women in any hidebound, rigid, patriarchal environment are not likely to find either freedom of expression or continuing marital happiness, unless they are very lucky. They just don't count very much as living, breathing individuals do they? The main thing required of them is know your place and don't rock the boat.

Welcome, Saashi! :flowers: You are right, and the trouble is that in any „hidebound, rigid, patriarchal environment“ women are not even allowed to say that they suffer. They have no voice – and that makes it probable that people from outside will say that those women are probably feeling quite well as this is just their culture that, accordingly, has to be respected...:nonono:

Saashi 01-12-2009 07:17 AM

Thanks very much for the welcome and the flowers :) .The main thing is to make a noise about it whether it is the done thing or not and if the maltreatment doesn't stop keep making a noise. Of course, that often means walking out at some point too...

Daffodil 01-27-2009 02:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by magnik (Post 867692)
Or maybe that's not frozen on her face but some kind of dignity for the mother of the future emperor?

She'll be an empress herself, won't she? I mean, her husband, if he outlives his brother, would become emperor before their son would, right?

Mermaid1962 01-27-2009 03:36 PM

Right. Just because something is "cultural" doesn't make it good.:rolleyes:

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChiaraC (Post 874476)
Welcome, Saashi! :flowers: You are right, and the trouble is that in any „hidebound, rigid, patriarchal environment“ women are not even allowed to say that they suffer. They have no voice – and that makes it probable that people from outside will say that those women are probably feeling quite well as this is just their culture that, accordingly, has to be respected...:nonono:


ChiaraC 01-29-2009 09:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Saashi (Post 878839)
Thanks very much for the welcome and the flowers :) .The main thing is to make a noise about it whether it is the done thing or not and if the maltreatment doesn't stop keep making a noise. Of course, that often means walking out at some point too...

It is usually the destiny of those initiating social changes that they do not get to see the results of their work within their lifetime…

If hundred years ago, in 1909, somebody would have told the Germans that within hundred years women would not only have the right to vote (which they had not in 1909) but that Germany would be a democracy by then and the head of state a woman, this person would have been declared to be as mad as a hatter. Still, this has become true. So much has changed in only 100 years. But, although a short time for such big changes, 100 years is usually more than a human lifetime…

But then, I think it is a comfort to remember Eleanor Roosevelt. I do not remember the exact words but she once said something like: “I would rather lose with a cause that will finally win than win with a cause that will finally lose.” :flowers:

ChiaraC 01-29-2009 10:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Daffodil (Post 885188)
She'll be an empress herself, won't she? I mean, her husband, if he outlives his brother, would become emperor before their son would, right?

You are perfectly right. :smile:

Jacknch 01-29-2009 11:26 AM

This is such an interesting thread and it's great to be able to read the views of people from different backgrounds and cultures because it is so true that as humans we all have the same basic needs wherever we are from and whether or not the society we live in is a traditional one or a modern one. There are so many diverse roles that women are in throughout the world and all these roles are worthy of respect and gratitude. If what has been said about Akishino is true then the least he can do is show his wife some respect, gratitude and kindness if nothing else for the fact that she is the mother of his children. Even if he has fallen out of love with her or the marriage has become boring to him, he should still show these feelings and should grown up abit. I hope Kiko is happy because I think she deserves it. I hope the IHA are grateful to her too and will do all they can do to give her support and show a little respect for us too!

Jo of Palatine 02-03-2009 12:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChiaraC (Post 885945)
If hundred years ago, in 1909, somebody would have told the Germans that within hundred years women would not only have the right to vote (which they had not in 1909) but that Germany would be a democracy by then and the head of state a woman, this person would have been declared to be as mad as a hatter. Still, this has become true.

No, it's not. Gesine Schwan probably won't win the elections for Bundes-presidency, so we never had thus far a woman as head of state and won't have in the nearer future. Mrs. Merkel is Chancellor, but this is not our head of state, only the leader of the government (third in rank within the Federal republic after Bundespräsident - president of the Federal Republic of Germany- and Bundestagspräsident - president of the parliament of the Federal Republic.)

ChiaraC 02-04-2009 12:21 PM

You are perfectly right, Jo of Palatine. But as most people here in the Japanese section are not from Germany and many not even from Europe I did not want to enter into the complicated details of the German government system. I do not suppose that many people here even know of the existence of the German Bundespräsident (Horst Köhler) but they might have seen the chancellor, Angela Merkel, on TV, together with Bush, Sarkozy/Chirac, Blair/Brown etc., at the G8-meetings, for example.

As you will know (but probably nobody who is not German) the German head of state, the Bundespräsident, has as much or as little political power as the English queen has (and certainly less glamour) although he has formally the highest status. But the real power position is the chancellor and there we have a woman at present.

Mermaid1962 02-04-2009 03:58 PM

Would Angela Merkel's role be similar to that of a Prime Minister then?

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChiaraC (Post 888548)
You are perfectly right, Jo of Palatine. But as most people here in the Japanese section are not from Germany and many not even from Europe I did not want to enter into the complicated details of the German government system. I do not suppose that many people here even know of the existence of the German Bundespräsident (Horst Köhler) but they might have seen the chancellor, Angela Merkel, on TV, together with Bush, Sarkozy/Chirac, Blair/Brown etc., at the G8-meetings, for example.


Rascal 02-04-2009 05:44 PM

One thing I wish to add to this discussion is the growing acceptance of divorce in general society around the world (steps toward this continue to happen even in some of the most oppressive societies in terms of gender). Unless there are some lurking actual royals in this discussion, I believe most of us have grown up during a time of liberated, educated, progressive ideas/expectations/beliefs about women, equality, and marriage roles/responsibilities.

Even with the current Windsors (who are operating at a 30% success rate) and The Princes of Asturias, it seems that among royalty there is more of a stigma than in the general population. And even if Asian, specifically Japanese, society is more Western in this regard, this thread specifically addresses the Japanese imperial family. I am not completely familiar with all of the past few generations, but AFAIK there haven't been any divorces amongst the couples in the royal family. I know that the "keepers" of the imperial household probably have an extremely bad outlook on divorce, but what about the royal family themselves?

After Diana and Charles, anyone marrying into a royal family (even a non-ruling one) is stupid if they are naive enough to think that life can be great but it can also be very repressive and frustrating in royalty. In the imperial family, the experience of the current Empress and the current Crown Princess (at least what we have been able to learn) it has been more like a prison in many ways.

Regarding Kiko, maybe she initally felt less pressure being wife of the second son. And as time has gone by and the "magic" has worn off, perhaps she has felt unfulfilled and if the observations in this thread are right, unloved. But I invite this group to consider what choice does she really have?

Assume that she was so despondent as to actually consider and go through with a divorce. Just like any other royal family, her children are in the line of succession (I know, I know...but the gender discussion is another thread). There is no way that she would be able to have very much connection to them. And I just don't see the IHA providing living quarters for her within the compound like was done for Diana in Great Britain.

Aside from all of that, what prospects would she have for a romantic life? Realistically, who would want to get involved with someone with that kind of baggage...mother of a future emperor, ex-wife of an imperial prince?

All of these observations could be completely wrong and she could be extremely happy and fulfilled. But if they are correct and she has decided to just "grin and bear it" and put on the show, maybe she did so because the alternative, at least from her perspective, might seem equally or even more bleak than an inattentive, possibly philandering husband.

Just wanted to throw that out. Let's continue to chew on this for a while.

Thanks!

ChiaraC 02-05-2009 10:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mermaid1962 (Post 888652)
Would Angela Merkel's role be similar to that of a Prime Minister then?

Basically yes. “By contrast, the duties of the Bundespräsident (Federal President) are largely representative and ceremonial; power is exercised by the Chancellor.” Politics of Germany - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia“
"In German politics the position is equivalent to that of a Prime Minister in other countries with a parliamentary system. The latter term is not used, since its direct German equivalent, Ministerpräsident, is used exclusively for the heads of government of the states of Germany (called Bundesländer in German)." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chancel...deral_Republic)

You also can get an idea of Angela Merkel´s position from the fact that it will be always she who will represent Germany at the meetings of the national leaders, like Obama does now for the US, Sarkozy for France, Brown for Great Britain, Shinzo Abe for Japan etc.. Of course, there are differences also between these leaders: the French president and the US-president are elected directly by the people, the Prime Minister and the German chancellor by the members of parliament. The chancellor´s power is further limited by the fact that there are more parties represented in the German parliament than in the British, at present five, so that it has been nearly always necessary in Germany to form a coalition government. That means that the chancellor needs for the realization of her or his decisions not only the support of his own party but also that of the partner party in the coalition, and in the future maybe even that of a second partner.

ChiaraC 02-05-2009 10:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rascal (Post 888709)
Regarding Kiko, maybe she initally felt less pressure being wife of the second son. And as time has gone by and the "magic" has worn off, perhaps she has felt unfulfilled and if the observations in this thread are right, unloved. But I invite this group to consider what choice does she really have?

Assume that she was so despondent as to actually consider and go through with a divorce. Just like any other royal family, her children are in the line of succession (I know, I know...but the gender discussion is another thread). There is no way that she would be able to have very much connection to them. And I just don't see the IHA providing living quarters for her within the compound like was done for Diana in Great Britain.

Aside from all of that, what prospects would she have for a romantic life? Realistically, who would want to get involved with someone with that kind of baggage...mother of a future emperor, ex-wife of an imperial prince?

All of these observations could be completely wrong and she could be extremely happy and fulfilled. But if they are correct and she has decided to just "grin and bear it" and put on the show, maybe she did so because the alternative, at least from her perspective, might seem equally or even more bleak than an inattentive, possibly philandering husband.

I quite agree with you, Rascal: Kiko has no real options but to stay. This is why I am so very supportive of her. :flowers: I am so grieved to see that this happiness on her face - that we can see for example here: YouTube - 眞å*ã•ã¾17æ*³1/2
between 4.45 and 4.50 when she smiles with little Mako in her arms - that this inno.cent, trusting happiness is probably gone forever. Even the smile after Hisahito´s birth did not bring this back: it was a smile of relief, of someone who has had to suffer and can hardly believe that this joy can be real... The trust was gone. Kiko is now like a very precious work of art, a miracle of grace and beauty but she is always self-possessed. No emotions will her face reveal that have not passed control first. And it is probably better like that because she can hardly cry in public...

I would probably be more critical of Kiko if I saw her having a choice because I do think that she is certainly siding with the emperor and empress and her husband against the crown prince and the crown princess and rather fuels the conflict instead of trying to come to an understanding. :nonono: It is exactly this behaviour for which I am strongly blaming her husband. But he has a choice, in my opinion – and she has none. :ermm:

There cannot be any doubt that a divorced princess would have to give up her children. If you consider that the women who have married into the imperial family are hardly ever allowed to see even their own parents and are certainly not allowed to stay overnight with them, you can possibly imagine how the children of a divorced princess would be kept away from their “guilty” mother. I think that this fact is sufficient to make a divorce unimaginable for Masako as well as for Kiko. But Masako has passed big parts of her life abroad so that it could be possible for her to find a place to live where she could be “useful and happy”, especially as her parents are also living in Europe. I think that she would never ever leave neither her husband nor her daughter but she has, at least, an alternative. Kiko has none - if she does not want to become a buddhist nun which I do not suppose...

Charlotte1 02-06-2009 03:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChiaraC (Post 888986)
There cannot be any doubt that a divorced princess would have to give up her children. If you consider that the women who have married into the imperial family are hardly ever allowed to see even their own parents and are certainly not allowed to stay overnight with them, you can possibly imagine how the children of a divorced princess would be kept away from their “guilty” mother. I think that this fact is sufficient to make a divorce unimaginable for Masako as well as for Kiko. But Masako has passed big parts of her life abroad so that it could be possible for her to find a place to live where she could be “useful and happy”, especially as her parents are also living in Europe. I think that she would never ever leave neither her husband nor her daughter but she has, at least, an alternative. Kiko has none - if she does not want to become a buddhist nun which I do not suppose...

Sorry but absolute rubbish! Women who marry into the Japanese Imperial Family aren't cut off from their own families, they just see them privately. ( Just like Imperial daughters who marry 'out' keep in contact with their families and see them on a regular basis. This dates back to the daughters of Emperor Hirohito, the daughters married out but they still came to the Imperial Palace every Sunday for a family meal. It's not a new thing) Also they do and have stayed overnight with their own families. Masako spent a month living with her mother and Aiko in 2004 in her family villa in Nagano, there is an Imperial villa in Nagano but they didn't stay there. Kiko has spent just as much time living abroad ( in 2 different countries) as Masako has. Kiko also maintains contact with people she knows from abroad, her daughter Mako did a homestay in Austria with a family that Kiko was friends with from her time living there.

Japan doesn't have no fault divorce ALL women in Japan loose custody and all contact with their children and receive no maintenance if they are deemed 'at fault'. If the husband is 'at fault' the woman gets custody.

I don't think Kiko at all is being treated badly or is miserable. Using a few static photos of her, is hardly an informed way to make any kind of statement. The photos of the Imperial Family that are taken and released are all 'approved' photos showing the 'serious and demure' side of the Imperial royals. When Kiko and Akishino got married, a Japanese photographer who was accredited to take photos on the day, took a lovely photo of Kiko brushing Akishino's hair out of his eyes. This photo made the Japanese papers but was withdrawn from the foreign press by the IHA press office as it did not present the image they wanted. ( Formal Japanese society is totally non-tactile. Japanese in general aren't very tactile you won't even see young children being kissed by their parents in public. There is no Japanese word for 'kiss' the English word is used "kissu") The photographer also has his accreditation to take pictures of the Imperial royals removed. ( The picture is still available at Japanese photosites) So the photos you see are 'approved' there is no paparazzi in Japan taking photos of royals. You are getting the images the IHA press office wants you to see. It's not the real situation when looking at the relationship between 2 people.
More accurate are the press conferences that Akishino and Kiko do for his birthday. There Akishino is very much the Japanese husband, deferring to his wife to make sure he is saying the right thing! When married couples progress into middle age, it's the wife who makes the decisions and is the 'power behind the throne', they aren't these poor downtrodden individuals.

ChiaraC 02-10-2009 12:27 PM

Charlotte, I have never said that I can give absolute evidence for Kiko´s unhappiness. But this was and is my impression for which I have named the reasons in this forum. And those reasons consist of more than just my interpretation of official pictures of the Akishino couple as you will have noticed. I admit, though, that these pictures definitely make an important part. Concerning this, I do not think that the fact that the IHA is in control of the publication of pictures can be made accountable for my impression of Kiko presently being unhappy. The pictures of young princess Kiko and of the rest of the family have also been released by the IHA and there I do not receive the impression of unhappiness, not even from Masako who is or has been on one hand certainly and obviously weakened and depressed but - as far as I can see - not in relation to her husband.

However, you have, of course, the right to have and to express your own opinion. I would only ask you to express it in a way that shows that you respect my right to do the same. Maybe you are speaking your mind so vehemently now because you have been silent for too long a time? After all, this has by far not been the first time for me to explain what I think about princess Kiko´s state of mind.

If that should be the case I would prefer you to express your disagreement earlier and more often if you wish but then in a way that would render it unnecessary for you to start with: “Sorry but…” We all from time to time have to apologize afterwards for what we have said as none of us is infallible. But what sense does it make to be sorry in advance and still insist on saying it that way? Dumbledore has justly remarked that when people start with something like: “I do not want to be uncivil but…” they are usually very unfortunate in realizing their purpose and continue shockingly often by saying something that sounds pretty impolite…

I have always appreciated your very informed postings, and I have always admired your obviously abundant knowledge concerning the imperial family and Japan in general. If possible, I would wish for the future that if we happen again to not have the same information and/or opinion we could come to terms about it in a more peaceful way – independent from the question if the reason for our information not matching turns out to be that one of us has indeed committed an error – which can always happen – or if it should be so that we got our information from sources that contradict each other.

However, concerning the length of Kiko´s stay abroad, you are indeed right to a great extent. I have checked the facts and see that I have been misled partly by the many pictures of Kiko at Gakushuin university (whereas Masako has never attended a Japanese university). I certainly knew that Kiko is fluent in English and German and of her daughter´s visit in Austria but I somehow had received the impression that she had come back to Japan when still a child and then had stayed there. This is indeed not true. “She spent her preschool days in the United States when her father received a PhD in Regional Economy from the University of Pennsylvania and later taught there. Princess Kiko also attended elementary and high school in Vienna, Austria, when her father became the chief researcher at The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg, Austria, where he studied spatial science and NGO activities.” Princess Akishino - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I have to admit that here I have bought into the IHA propaganda of “Masako could not adjust to the ways of the imperial family as she has been living abroad for too long a time and has in consequence become “unjapanese”, and Kiko was able to adjust perfectly as she has passed most of her life in Japan as it should be.” without checking the facts. But I would still insist on the view that it makes a difference if a woman has been living abroad as an a.dult and by herself which Masako has done, at Harvard and in Oxford, and Kiko has not. Masako´s father had even advised his daughter to better stay in the US and work there – which would have been easy, coming from Harvard. She had already received several very tempting employment offers from leading banks and investment corporations. As far as we know Kiko, in her turn, has never considered such a perspective for herself. So, for these reasons I still think that Masako would, even nowadays, have better chances to find satisfying work abroad than Kiko.

Concerning the contact of women who marry into the imperial family with their parents I insist on what I have said. (I am expressly NOT talking here about princesses who become commoners – there is a big difference, as far as I am informed: http://www.theroyalforums.com/forums...6&postcount=36
http://www.theroyalforums.com/forums...7&postcount=39 )
In 2003, Masako went with Aiko to visit her parents´ home for a day (going back to the palace in the evening) FOR THE FIRST TIME AFTER NINE YEARS. And that probably only because she was already feeling unwell: In the same year, on the 2nd December 2003, she broke down and was diagnosed with herpes zoster. http://www.theroyalforums.com/forums...8&postcount=95

It is true that, as an extraordinary exception, she was allowed in 2004 to stay four weeks with her parents because her health had not ameliorated and the doctors had recommended her to pass some time with her family in a quiet place. The ailing princess received great benefit from this stay and, after a while, showed first signs of recovery but then the IHA decided that the “vacation” had been lasting long enough. And, indeed, for a Japanese vacation it had been enormously long – only that it had not been meant as a vacation but as a sort of medical treatment. And as such it had been much too short to have any lasting effects: Back home in the palace the princess soon got apathetic again. And it was this what finally alarmed her husband to such a degree that he decided to call publicly for help for his sick wife. http://www.theroyalforums.com/forums...9&postcount=96

This is the information I have got from the book by Martin Fritz and Yoko Kobayashi that I have summarized. If you have information that contradicts it please name your source.

Concerning what you say about divorce in Japan (women who are not “at fault” get custody of their children) I am not sure what you want to say by that in the present context. Can you really see it happening - under any circumstances - that an imperial princess gets a divorce, with her husband being seen to be “at fault”, that she accordingly gets the custody of her children and walks away with them, among them the only male heir to the chrysanthemum throne in the youngest generation? Or, if not, what is it that you want to say?

Maybe I have to add that if I am calling Kiko´s situation difficult I am not at all talking about Japanese women in general.

Al_bina 02-11-2009 10:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChiaraC (Post 891164)
... [snipped]
Concerning what you say about divorce in Japan (women who are not “at fault” get custody of their children) I am not sure what you want to say by that in the present context. Can you really see it happening - under any circumstances - that an imperial princess gets a divorce, with her husband being seen to be “at fault”, that she accordingly gets the custody of her children and walks away with them, among them the only male heir to the chrysanthemum throne in the youngest generation? Or, if not, what is it that you want to say?

Maybe I have to add that if I am calling Kiko´s situation difficult I am not at all talking about Japanese women in general.

I find your comment insightful. We can not project a situation surrounding a divorce in a usual household onto the Imperial family. Yes, usual Japanese women have got more latitude, when it comes to divorce, choice of lifestyle, children, and etc. However, the Imperial family is largely governed by traditional values and norms. Therefore, Princess Kiko's freedom of choice is limited.


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