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Old 05-09-2021, 10:55 AM
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Thankfully, the Japanese public supports the idea of having an emperor woman. Thank you for the informations.

My blogs about monarchies
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Old 05-09-2021, 11:48 AM
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Thank you, JunJun.

With you and Yukari around these threads are no doubt going to be most interesting.

- And it really is annoying, when all your work is... puf...

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Old 05-09-2021, 09:44 PM
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Kyoto, Japan
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Sorry, I correct the #20 article.

"in the last few days" in the third paragraph is a mistake, it should be "in the last few years".
I'm afraid if I correct the article directly, it would be deleted again...
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Old 05-10-2021, 03:02 AM
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 50
Recent advances on succession problem and "female emperor"#2: Government Move

Thank you for your warm message, Blog Real and Muhler. I’m so encouraged.

Now, for the second part, let me share the important government move made this year. I don't know whether this is a historical path or not.

Japanese government set up the advisory panel on securing a stable line of imperial succession and appointed its members early this year. It was proposed in 2017 to study the problem of imperial succession quickly after the enthronement of the present emperor, so PM Suga did his homework.

The panel’s first meeting was held on May 24th, as described in this article by The Mainichi Shimbun:

“Japan gov't panel kicks off discussion on imperial succession: The Mainichi Shimbun”

The Japanese government's advisory panel on securing a stable line of imperial succession held its first meeting on Tuesday, with discussions over the coming months set to focus on whether the country should break with tradition and allow female members of the emperor's family to ascend the throne.
The six-member panel will hear from experts in various fields and is aiming to reach a conclusion by this fall, at which point it will present its findings to parliament.
The Japanese public is increasingly in favor of allowing a woman to ascend the throne, with 85 percent of respondents in a Kyodo News poll conducted last spring supporting the move.
But conservatives in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party are reluctant to make significant changes to rules on imperial succession.
The advisory panel is made up by relatively neutral member as far as I see, and it will summarize the issues by the end of this year after interviewing experts on imperial matter such as scholars and journalist.
The problem is what experts of standpoints are invited for hearing. If they were all who stick around male emperors of paternal lineage, then the door to birth of female emperor will be eternally closed…

The advisory panel is held at random times, and hearing to experts was implemented for two times until now.
Here is an article on the first round hearing:
“Hearing about “Female Monarchy” and “An Emperor of Maternal Lineage” Implemented: Advisory Panel on Securing a Stable Line of Imperial Succession”

5 experts were invited on that day including Mr.Katsumi Iwai, journalist, Mr.Hidehiko Kasahara, Professor of Keio Univ., Miss Yoshiko Sakurai, journalist,Mr. Hitoshi Nitta, Professor of Kogakukan Univ., and Mr.Shuji Yagi, Professor of Reitaku Univ.
The experts’ opinions were divided over how the throne should be succeeded and the range of the imperial family member.
On foundation of female monarchies, which is one of focus of the panel, Mr.Kasahara expressed his idea of acceptation, while negative comments were posed. Ms.Sakurai and Mr.Yagi offered a dissenting view against the idea of emperor of maternal lineage which has no precedent in the past. Ms.Sakurai said restoration of imperial status to the so-called former Imperial Family members who seceded from the Family after WWII through adoption should be a possible way to maintain the succession by males of male lineage.
Full text of the 1st hearing is here:

From my viewpoint, the “experts” invited on that day were all conservative or right-wing and not favor for the idea of “female emperor”.

The 2nd hearing was done on April 21th.
“Problems of Securing Stable Imperial Succession Discussed: Advisory Panel of Government” by NHK News

In short, on the 2nd hearing, one expert said “Women of paternal lineage should be allowed to ascend the throne while the present Imperial Household Law restricts it for men of paternal lineage.”
Another expert said “Both female emperor and emperor of maternal lineage have no problem according to the constitution. It is most simple and reasonable to recognize female emperor and emperor of maternal lineage.”
So, this time the experts invited were relatively progressive.

The 3rd panel meeting for hearing was held today on May 10th. 

"Opinions Heard from Legal Experts: Imperial Succession Panel" by NHK News

There, one expert was favor for the idea of female emperor of male lineage, and another expert said that both female emperor and emperor of female lineage isn't excluded by the regulation of constitution, when other two were against that idea.

"The hereditary principle regulated by the constitution has been interpreted as male line succession. Thus, easy launch to succession by female lineage is not allowed, being suspected of violation of the constitution." Mr.Akira Momochi, non-tenured professor of Kokushikan Univ., who is famous right-wing scholar said.

The next hearing is scheduled on 31st of this month where historians will be interviewed.

And so drama goes on...

In making up this article, I found that there are very small number of articles that report this topic written in English.
Is it a conspiracy to hide the fact that Japanese government is going to stop introducing the idea of female emperor, being afraid of criticism from overseas? It is a joke, of course.

So I feel it is my duty to share these news report here...
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Old 05-13-2021, 09:34 AM
Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
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Originally Posted by Prince of Camaria View Post
Beginning with Fujiwara Fubito (Fuhito), who placed one daughter, Fujiwara Miyako-no-Iratsume, as a "consort" of Emperor MOMMU, ca. 697, and a second one, Fujiwara Asuka, as the Empress Consort of Emperor SHOMU, her nephew. The latter's son was Imperial Princess Takano, who ascended the throne as Empress KOKEN (749-758). Fujiwara Asuka was the fist non-imperial princess of the dynasty to be elevated to Empress Consort. These unions established the precedent for Fujiwara women becoming more "favorable" as candidates of potential mothers of future emperors than were daughters of emperors themselves!

Does anyone have suggestions as to English-text sources about the Imperial Family and their Fujiwara, Minamoto, and Taira (among others) wives and concubines?
There’s one name missing there who is actually the most important one to make it happen: Agata (no) Inukai no Michiyo 県犬養 三千代 and she’s neither a Minamoto, a Taira, nor a Fujiwara (at least not by birth).
The Japanese one has more information, but I’m not recommending google-translating it. I tried and the result was jaw-droppingly confusing. Like how on earth 美努王 being translated as Emperor Bidatsu? (it’s read as Mino-ou). Sure 王is “king”, but in this context it means (Imperial) Prince.

There’s a good book about her: Agata no Inukai no Tachibana no Michiyo by Yoshie Akiko ; Nihon Rekishi Gakkai henshū ISBN 978-4642052559 (in Japanese, not sure has anyone published it in English yet).
I can’t find any good English source (online) about her, but here’s the summary:

Not much known about her early life and background but Agata no Inukai no Michiyo was a court lady, possibly entered the palace when she was 15 to become myōbu (as normally done in that period). She later became wife of Prince Minu (Mino), descendant of Bidatsu-tennō, and bore him three children: Katsuragi, Sai, and Murono, but then they separated (divorced) when he went to Chikushi as Dazai no sochi. Around this time, she became a wet nurse of Prince Karu (later Monmu-tennō), and highly trusted by his mother Princess Abe (later Genmei-tennō) and paternal grandmother Jitō-tennō.

She then married Fujiwara no Fuhito (his wife died) and using her influence, she later made Fuhito's first daughter Miyako (by Kamo-no-hime), a consort of Monmu-tennō. While Michiyo had daughter with Fuhito named Asukabe-hime, who then married Miyako’s and Monmu’s son (who later become Shōmu-tennō). Asukabe would be later known as Kōmyōshi. It is believed that Michiyo was behind the unrivalled prosperity associated with Monmu’s reign. One of Kōmyō’s children was Princess Takano who’d later reign twice as Kōken-tennō and Shōtoku-tennō.

In 708, at the Daijosai (a festival to celebrate the succession of an emperor) of Genmei-tennō, Michiyo was praised for serving the Imperial court since the era of the Tenmu-tennō and was given the kabane (hereditary title) of Tachibana no Sukune. Her son, Katsuragi, would later be known as Tachibana no Moroe, the first head of the Tachibana clan who’d later grow to be one of the most powerful clan in Nara and early-Heian period, rivalling the Fujiwara clan. The same year, her ex-husband, Mino, died. Fuhito died in 720.

In 721 she became a Buddhist nun for a brief period to pray for the health of Genmei-tennō when the former empress fell critically ill. Michiyo died in 733.

With the daughters of Fujiwara clan and Tachibana clan becoming consort of emperors, the two clans would gain more power in the court (and gradually the power shifted from the Imperial family to the kuge/nobles). For example in 729 when Kōmyō’s first son died not long after birth, Fuhito’s sons used it to rid their biggest rival in imperial court, Prince Nagaya (son of Prince Takechi, grandson of Tenmu-tennō, and Princess Minabe, daughter of Tenji-tennō), by (falsely) accusing him of killing the baby by curse. He was forced to commit suicide. His wife, Princess Kibi (daughter of Genmei-tennō), and his children were killed at the same time.

Trivia: The four Fujiwaras who responsible for Nagaya’s death, caught smallpox one after another and eventually all of them died in 737. In 1988, the former residence of the prince was accidentally discovered on the construction site of a Sogo department store, but they continued construction and twelve years after the store's completion, Sogo went bankrupt.
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Old 05-30-2021, 02:42 AM
Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
Posts: 540
Not exactly about women in the imperial succession, but more about (elite) women's roles and influences in ancient Imperial Japan. (no need to login to read).

Women in the Nihon Shoki: Mates, Mothers, Mystics, Militarists, Maids, Manufacturers, Monarchs, Messengers and Managers
Paper by Gina Barnes on Durham East Asian Papers 20, published by Department of East Asian Studies, Durham University 2006

By limiting the investigation to women and their relations with men in the Nihon Shoki, this study automatically falls within the theoretical arena of historical gender studies. This field had as its original goals "to discover the range in sex roles and in sexual symbolism in different societies and periods, to find out what meaning they had and how they functioned to maintain the social order or to promote its change" (defined by Davis in 1975, cited in Scott 1988: 29). These concerns came to the fore in feminist anthropology in the early 1980s after the assumptions of universal subordination and sexual asymmetry gave way to cross-cultural studies of variability in constructing gender relations (Morgan 1989: 3-4).
Note: Nihon Shoki, also known as Nihongi (日本紀, "Japanese Chronicles"), is the second-oldest book of classical Japanese history. It was finished in 720 under the editorial supervision of Prince Toneri and with the assistance of Ō no Yasumaro dedicated to Empress Genshō.
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Old 06-12-2021, 06:22 AM
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Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
Posts: 540
Reading the last news about imperial succession, I’d like to bring up a unique role of unmarried emperor’s sisters (or aunts for the later emperors) in the past who filled the role as “temporary empress (consort)” because the said emperors were too young or hadn’t appointed his empress yet. They are known as Hisaigou no Kōgō (an empress who is not wife of an emperor) by scholars and Sonsho Kōgō by IHA.

I can’t find any English source online, but here is a good paper which mention about it.
A GLIMPSE ABOVE THE CLOUDS: THE JAPANESE COURT IN 1859 by Hamish Todd from The British Library Journal Vol. 17, No. 2 (AUTUMN 1991), pp. 198-220 (23 pages) Published By: British Library

The part about emperor’s consort is on page 7 of the file:
From the latter part of the Heian Period the title of Chūgū was also often used to designate the Empress. Originally, the Taiho Code provided for the establishment of the Chūgū-shiki or ' Office of the Middle Palace' which was to deal with the affairs of the Grand Empress Dowager, the Empress Dowager and the Empress who are known collectively as the Sangu or Sanko (Three Empresses). Gradually, the word Chūgū came to be used as a title for the Sanko and, more specifically for the Kōgō. In 923 Emperor Daigo raised Fujiwara no Onshi to the status of Kōgō but with the title of Chūgū and thereafter it came to be seen as an alternative to Kōgō. It did not, however, denote a different rank. The final stage in the process can be traced to the reign of Emperor Ichijo (980-1011, r. 986-1011). In 990 he appointed Fujiwara no Sadako as Chūgū. In 999 he created Fujiwara no Akiko Nyogo and in the following year decided to elevate her to the rank of Empress. To do this he changed Sadako's title to Kōgō and made Akiko Chūgū. In this way what had been two titles applied to the same individual came to denote two different individuals.

Between 1333 and 1624 no Kōgō or Chūgū was created. Emperor Go-Mizunoo revived the ceremony of Rikko no gi for his wife Kazuko, the daughter of the Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada, and gave her the title of Chūgū. The next occurrence of the title Kōgō comes after the Meiji Restoration when Emperor Meiji bestowed it on his wife Haruko (known posthumously as Empress Dowager Shoken) in 1869. She had previously been created Chūgū.

It may be of interest to note that, although it is regarded as the designation for the Emperor's legitimate wife, Kōgō has also been borne by eleven princesses who were not married to an Emperor - or to anyone else for that matter. In some cases they were given the title on being appointed Junbo or 'second mother' of a young Emperor but in others it must be regarded as a manifestation of respect towards an elder sister or aunt.
Those eleven princesses recorded to fill that role are:
  1. Teishi/Yasuko Naishinnō 媞子内親王, the eldest daughter of Shirakawa-tennō and Fujiwara no Kenshi, thus sister of Horikawa-tennō. She served as Empress of her own brother from 1091-1093 (he was 12 year old when he ascended the throne after Shirakawa abdicated), but she was actually his nurse and adoptive mother, their mother having been dead since he was five.
  2. Reishi Naishinnō 令子内親王, daughter of Shirakawa-tenno and Fujiwara no Kenshi. She served as Empress of her nephew, Toba-tennō, from 1108–1134 (he was 4 year old when Horikawa died).
  3. Tōshi/Muneko Naishinnō 統子内親王, daughter of Toba-tennō and Fujiwara no Tamako. She served as Empress of her nephew, Nijō-tennō, in 1158 and retired in 1159 when he married her half sister, Yoshiko.
  4. Ryōshi/Akiko Naishinnō 媞子内親王(eng wiki refers her as Princess Sukeko), daughter of Go-Shirakawa-tennō and Fujiwara no Shigeko, thus half sister of Takakura-tennō. She served as Empress of her nephews, Antoku-tennō and Go-Toba-tennō, from 1182-1187.
  5. Hanshi/Noriko Naishinnō 範子内親王, daughter of Takakura-tennō and Kogō-no-Tsubone (Fujiwara no Shigenori’s daughter). She served as Empress of her nephew, Tsuchimikado-tennō, from 1198-1206.
  6. Shōshi/Noboruko Naishinnō 昇子内親王, daughter of Go-Toba-tennō and Kujō Taeko/Ninshi. She served as Empress (was his adoptive mother/Junbo) of her half brother, Juntoku-tennō, from 1208-1209.
  7. Kuniko Naishinnō 邦子内親王, daughter of Morisada Shinnō and Jimyo-in Chinshi/Nobuko. She served as Empress of her brother, Go-Horikawa-tennō (who became emperor after Chūkyō-tennō was forced to abdicate by the shogunate), from 1222-1224.
  8. Toshiko Naishinnō 邦子内親王(eng wiki refers her as Princess Rishi), daughter of Morisada Shinnō and Jimyo-in Chinshi/Nobuko. She served as Empress of her nephew, Shijō-tennō, from 1233-1239.
  9. Gishi/Akiko Naishinnō 曦子内親王(eng wiki refers her as Princess Teruko), daughter of Tsuchimikado-tennō and Omiya-no-Tsubone. She served as Empress of her nephew, Go-Saga-tennō, from 1248-1251.
  10. Reishi Naishinnō 姈子内親王, daughter of Go-Fukakusa-tennō and Fujiwara (Saionji) Kimiko. She served as Empress to her cousin, Go-Uda-tennō, from 1285-1291.
  11. Shōshi/Masako Naishinnō 奨子内親王, daughter of Go-Uda-tennō and Itsutsuji Chūshi. She served as Empress for her half brother, Go-Nijō-tennō, from April-November 1319.

For the one with a note on eng wiki, I use Japanese wiki as reference for the kanji reading of the names (I don't know why eng wiki name different than jap wiki). Curiously, eng wiki page of Empress of Japan listed some of them as “empress (Kōgō) as mother-in-law” (which I think mean “legal mother/adoptive mother/Junbo” rather than “the mother of the spouse”) and in their individual eng wiki pages, some of them even listed as spouse/wife of the said emperor as in they married to the said emperor while they actually just temporarily filling the empress consort role.
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Old 06-12-2021, 07:17 PM
Heir Apparent
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Thank you, it is fascinating to learn how the protocol of the royal family has evolved and how much more flexible it used to be.

Thank you too for pointing out the discrepancies and probable errors in English Wikipedia.
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Old 06-13-2021, 06:56 AM
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Indeed, the protocol seems to be very flexible in the past. It's as if every rules could be bent, changed, or adjusted depend on the needs (or whoever in power, not necessarily the emperor), including the succession (eg. demoting the consort to elevate a concubine to make her son as crown prince/next emperor replacing the consort's son, etc).

In the case of this Sonsho Kōgō, I don't think it would be necessary if it's not for insei and those power play between the courtier/kugyō (particularly kampaku/daijō-kan) aka the Fujiwara clan and the (retired) emperors. I mean, abdicate in their 20s/30s in favour of their basically toddler sons? There are several rituals which only the empress could do the part or where Junbo would be needed for the Miyanaka ritual (in fact, it was originally established from the necessity of this ritual, but in later generations it was done for the aspect of preferential treatment of Naishinnō). Looking at the list, the first one is after Shirakawa abdication and the last one is around Kenmu restoration in which the Ashikaga shogunate took the power so those insei no longer had any use.

As for the English Wikipedia, from what I can see, if there's any error, it seems like it's mostly because of direct translation. Kōgō is a title for emperor's wife so in a brief glance, technically speaking, perhaps it can be interpreted as his spouse (?) and the "mother-in-law" could be a loose translation of junbo 准母 (the direct translation for those two characters is "associate mother"). Though the most tricky part about Japanese history is the date, most original sources use Japanese lunar calendar and I've found some English site on internet just directly translate it into Christian calendar date, then if it's been properly converted there's the question about is it the Julian or Gregorian calendar.
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Old 06-20-2021, 07:24 AM
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Old 08-16-2021, 04:35 AM
Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
Posts: 540
While looking for a good (English) reference about Hōjō Masako, my Google search showed this books.

I haven't read it (and I don't think the nearest library where I am now has it), but from what I can read on its preview on Google Book, it tells about several influential woman figures in Japanese history if anyone interested to read it:

Women in Changing Japan, Stanford University Press, 1978, ISBN: 0804709718, 9780804709712

Samurai Women 1184–1877, by Stephen Turnbull, Osprey Publishing, ISBN 1846039517, 9781846039515
Heroic with Grace: Legendary Women of Japan, by Chieko Irie Mulhern, Routledge, 2015, ISBN 1317468678, 9781317468677

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empress go-sakuramachi, succession

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