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Old 11-30-2007, 11:46 AM
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Influence of Women on The Imperial Succession

Being a new member, I do not know if this is the place to post this... there were "reigning" Empresses in the past in Japan, the more recent ones being MYOSHO (1629-1643) and GO-SAKURAMACHI (1762-1770). My real interest is in discussing the influence that women had on the succession through the years. 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?
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Old 11-30-2007, 04:28 PM
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But still, every tenno for two thousands years has been descendants to the first tenno on their father's side. Because it hasn't been like it's been in Europe, when a regent queen's children has become heirs, even though their father wasn't from the same dynasty. Even the female tennos was succeeded by someone else with imperial blood on their father's side. It's only now, when the Japanese imperial men no longer have concubines, that there's been a problem with this. And if Aiko became tenno one day, it would be okay as long as she ruled. But unless she marries a Japanese aristocrat with imperial blood, a two thousand long tradition will be broken, because her children will be the first tennos ever without imperial blood on their father's side. And I think that's a shame. I understand how you feel about princess Aiko. Her father will most likely become tenno, and his only child should be his successor. However, there is a boy in the family, prince Hisahito, who could carry on the old tradition. It's just that he will be the tenno's nephew and not his son, unless of course Hisahito's father succeeds his brother. So it's really a tough situation, very much like how it was here in Sweden back in the 19th century. Our king Carl XV's only son died as a two-year-old, so he only had a daughter, princess Louise. But the king's brother Oscar had four sons. Because she had both uncles and male cousins, princess Louise was thrown out of the succession and became queen of Denmark instead.
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Old 04-21-2008, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Furienna View Post
But still, every tenno for two thousands years has been descendants to the first tenno on their father's side. Because it hasn't been like it's been in Europe, when a regent queen's children has become heirs, even though their father wasn't from the same dynasty. Even the female tennos was succeeded by someone else with imperial blood on their father's side. It's only now, when the Japanese imperial men no longer have concubines, that there's been a problem with this. And if Aiko became tenno one day, it would be okay as long as she ruled. But unless she marries a Japanese aristocrat with imperial blood, a two thousand long tradition will be broken, because her children will be the first tennos ever without imperial blood on their father's side. And I think that's a shame. I understand how you feel about princess Aiko. Her father will most likely become tenno, and his only child should be his successor. However, there is a boy in the family, prince Hisahito, who could carry on the old tradition. It's just that he will be the tenno's nephew and not his son, unless of course Hisahito's father succeeds his brother. So it's really a tough situation, very much like how it was here in Sweden back in the 19th century. Our king Carl XV's only son died as a two-year-old, so he only had a daughter, princess Louise. But the king's brother Oscar had four sons. Because she had both uncles and male cousins, princess Louise was thrown out of the succession and became queen of Denmark instead.
However, all those ancient traditions were replaced with the new Meiji style psuedo Salic sort of law and the new government of that country was quite happy with it because their government was a replacement of the old Tokusen style mentality male centred sort of regime. In other words, the nature of the Go'tsu-san was re-designed as though it had become a new shogun. It was such a pity that the Emperor Mutsuhito went along with all those "bu-mon"' style reform of the imperial house rather than to preserve more "kughé-kata" style of his court.

People seem to use this "tradition" in order to defend their own interests. In my opinion, it may not have been a tradition of the Church of England to ordain women into such a ministry as that of catholic traditions, however, tradition is a living thing that it can evolve accordingly and the nature of the office of the Ten'noh-san, too, has evolved as Japan's long history has moved on, that, I see no greater shame in the people of Japan receiving a woman as their Ten'noh-san in the future.

In the recent history, the office of emperor of Japan changed post WWII. On hearing all the changes that were to be made for the emperor & his family etc, Hirohito's mother HIM the Tei'mei-san said to her chamberlain that she had no concern nor fear in all the changes that were to happen because the Imperial House had been in Japan for such a long time and the nature of it had changed many times but it managed to survive because of its adaptability etc and to her it only meant that the Imperial House was only returning to its pre-Meiji form etc and comforted her staff who were concerned about Her Imperial Majesty's feeling etc in front of all the changes that were to happen.

So, even if this Toshi-no-miya-san is to become the sovereign empress, I am sure that the long standing line of the Imperial House or the "Koh-toh" will never come to its end.
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Old 04-22-2008, 12:06 PM
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Well, if Hisahito had turned out to be a girl, Aiko would surely have been an heiress appearant now, because they would have had to change the succession laws then. But since Hisahito is a boy, we have to wait another generation to see if there will be any changes then.
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Old 04-22-2008, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Furienna View Post
Well, if Hisahito had turned out to be a girl, Aiko would surely have been an heiress appearant now, because they would have had to change the succession laws then. But since Hisahito is a boy, we have to wait another generation to see if there will be any changes then.
Yes, so it seems. However, when I speak to Japanese people who are happened to be my friends, they all say that the general public over there are more pro-Toshi-no-miya san to be their Ten'noh san. However, a lot of far extreme right yakuza sorts who deny the Massacre of Nanking etc make a lot of noise over this public opinion, so they say.
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Old 04-22-2008, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by serenissima View Post
Yes, so it seems. However, when I speak to Japanese people who are happened to be my friends, they all say that the general public over there are more pro-Toshi-no-miya san to be their Ten'noh san. However, a lot of far extreme right yakuza sorts who deny the Massacre of Nanking etc make a lot of noise over this public opinion, so they say.[my bolding]
Yakuza is usually members of criminal organizations. Is there another meaning ?
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Old 04-22-2008, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Al_bina View Post
Yakuza is usually members of criminal organizations. Is there another meaning ?
Oh, hello. Thank you very much for your message the other day.

Well, the "yakuzas" are criminal gangsters but they don't advertise as such, naturally, but they have their own front that are to do with properties, investments, running of some unsavoury entertainment industries and what-not, so I understand. They are always very much right wing in their mentality and connected to all sorts of right wing politicians and organisations etc who believe that the Japanese race as a supreme nation and what-not because they have got their Divine Emperor etc.
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Old 04-22-2008, 06:13 PM
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Thanks for explanation!
The modern Japanese society no longer regards Emperor as a arahitogami (a living god) and a direct descendant of Amaterasu-Omikami, Goddess of the Sun. "Although still revered and discussed in semi-mystical terms by ultra-nationalists and a dwindling number of older Japanese raised to believe the Emperor was a god, most youngsters are indifferent to the Imperial Family"(McNeil & Bix, 2004). However, there are deeply rooted Asian attitude toward women. You know ... an Asian lady can be powerful, but she should behind her man. I dare to presume that these negative attitudes may be at the root of reluctance to accept a female Tenno.
ZNet |Japan | Trouble at the Top: Japan's Imperial Family in Crisis
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Old 04-22-2008, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Al_bina View Post
Thanks for explanation!
The modern Japanese society no longer regards Emperor as a arahitogami (a living god) and a direct descendant of Amaterasu-Omikami, Goddess of the Sun. "Although still revered and discussed in semi-mystical terms by ultra-nationalists and a dwindling number of older Japanese raised to believe the Emperor was a god, most youngsters are indifferent to the Imperial Family"(McNeil & Bix, 2004). However, there are deeply rooted Asian attitude toward women. You know ... an Asian lady can be powerful, but she should behind her man. I dare to presume that these negative attitudes may be at the root of reluctance to accept a female Tenno.
ZNet |Japan | Trouble at the Top: Japan's Imperial Family in Crisis
Well, it's the same here. The majority of our youger generations are not that bothered about our royal family. People are just so indifferent nowadays. Even the "Hello Magazine" etc have more articles that are to do with Posh & Beck sort of stuff these days. Oh, please do not think that I buy such magazines. I only have a look at them when I am having my hair done at my salon.

Oh, by the way, here, people do not call the people of Far Eastern origins "Asians" since "Asian" people here mean Indian and Pakistani people. Many people nowadays call Chinese and Japanese people "Oriental" people.

You sound to be a pro-Toshi-no-miya san Go'sokui (enthronement) in due course. I shall ask my friends if there is such a movement as to promote this Miya-san's position in Japan.
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  #10  
Old 04-22-2008, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by serenissima View Post
Oh, by the way, here, people do not call the people of Far Eastern origins "Asians" since "Asian" people here mean Indian and Pakistani people. Many people nowadays call Chinese and Japanese people "Oriental" people.

.
This is quite interesting...In Germany it is the other way round. Asians normally means "East Asians", and "Oriental" people are people that are from the Middle East. Indians and Pakistani people are just called "Indians" and "Pakistanis".
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Old 04-23-2008, 01:21 PM
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Similar to Germans, Kazakhs consider all nations of South-East and East Asia as Asian. The "Orient" refers to the Middle East. Odd enough but, we have never regarded Indians or Pakistanis as Asians. They are just what they are-Indians and Pakistanis...
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Old 04-23-2008, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Al_bina View Post
Similar to Germans, Kazakhs consider all nations of South-East and East Asia as Asian. The "Orient" refers to the Middle East. Odd enough but, we have never regarded Indians or Pakistanis as Asians. They are just what they are-Indians and Pakistanis...
Oh, how interesting, I must say.

Anyway, for centuries, the "Gosho" or the imperial court was dominated by women and they did indeed contribute to the making of the Japanese emperor or the "Ten'noh"-san. So, why now those far right men of Japan have to make such a song and dance about this Princess Aiko the Toshi-no-miya san may become the sovereign empress ?
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Old 09-12-2010, 10:00 AM
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Empress Saimei's tomb found near Nara

Octagonal structures are considered to be unique to Imperial tombs built between the middle of the seventh to early eighth century. Given that shape, the tomb was identified as that of then reigning Empress Saimei (594-661) and her daughter, Princess Hashihito, the researchers said.
The Imperial Household Agency has claimed another tomb in Takatori, Nara Prefecture, is that of Empress Saimei, although little academic evidence has been found to support that argument. The new discovery may prompt academic reviews of other tombs designated by the agency as those of Imperial family members, researchers said. - Kyodo


Mainichi article
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Old 09-25-2018, 01:30 AM
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Masako Hamada, EdD, Translates Book on Eight Female Emperors of Japan | Villanova University
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[...] Masako Hamada, EdD, director of the Asian Studies program in Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, provides a history of those women in the translated book, The Eight Female Emperors of Japan: A Brief Introduction to Their Lives and Legacies (Fuzambo International, 2018). Over the course of four years, Dr. Hamada translated the text originally written by Kiyoko Takagi, into English, expanding access to this important piece of Japanese history.

“If a woman becomes emperor in Japan in the future, the histories of these eight female emperors will be a critical guide to understanding Japan’s imperial legacy,” Dr. Hamada said.

Dr. Hamada says the resurfacing conversation about female emperors raises a more general question about gender equality in Japan. [...]
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Old 04-25-2019, 12:37 PM
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Not sure if this is the right thread, but . . . . . could someone please explain to me the Imperial Household law as regards to daughters? When they marry they leave the Royal family. What does this mean exactly? Are they struck from the Imperial rolls(?)? Do their families ever see them again? It almost sounds like they become persona non grata.
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Old 04-25-2019, 01:03 PM
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When a princess marries outside the Imperial family, she becomes a private citizen. Her name is removed from the Imperial family registry and entered in Japan's Koseki registry which everyone else uses. She can still see her family but media generally avoid reporting their activities as they are private citizens.

A princess only stays in the Imperial family if they remain single or marry an Imperial male...which isn't likely (uncle, cousin... yuk. no)

We get glimpses of former princesses at family events like weddings, funerals, memorials, special concerts, etc. Sayako has been invited to birthday/anniversary concerts for her parents Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko; she also attended the banquet for the Belgium state visit.

Sayako is supreme priestess at Ise Grand Shrine so IHA and media will report on her ritual activities occasionally.
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Old 05-10-2019, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Prisma View Post
When a princess marries outside the Imperial family, she becomes a private citizen. Her name is removed from the Imperial family registry and entered in Japan's Koseki registry which everyone else uses. She can still see her family but media generally avoid reporting their activities as they are private citizens.

A princess only stays in the Imperial family if they remain single or marry an Imperial male...which isn't likely (uncle, cousin... yuk. no)

We get glimpses of former princesses at family events like weddings, funerals, memorials, special concerts, etc. Sayako has been invited to birthday/anniversary concerts for her parents Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko; she also attended the banquet for the Belgium state visit.

Sayako is supreme priestess at Ise Grand Shrine so IHA and media will report on her ritual activities occasionally.
That was nice to hear though, that Sayako is still able to be a supreme priestess. Because that sounds like a position, that you have to be a princess to reach.
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Old 02-03-2021, 03:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Prince of Camaria View Post
Does anyone have suggestions as to English-text sources about the Imperial Family and their Fujiwara, Minamoto, and Taira (among others) wives and concubines?
I don't know any English-text book that mainly discussing about influence of women (non reigning empress) on Imperial family, but one that at least mentions about Fujiwara, Minamoto, and Taira women is "The Tale of the Heike" (McCullough, Helen Craig. (1988) The Tale of the Heike. Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press).

Several interesting figures that can be googled:
- Fujiwara no Nariko, Empress consort of Emperor Toba of Japan and mother of Emperor Konoe. She maneuvered her way to replaced Fujiwara no Tamako (Toba's favourite consort) and made her son to become emperor replacing Tamako's son.
- Taira no Tokiko, wife of Taira no Kiyomori. After her marriage to Kiyomori, her sister, Taira no Shigeko, married Emperor Go-Shirakawa. Tokiko's daughter, Taira no Tokuko, married Emperor Takakura (Shigeko's son) and gave birth to Emperor Antoku.
- Hojo Masako, wife of Minamoto no Yoritomo. She's more or less the real power behind the early Kamakura shogunate.

Not from those three clans:
- (later, Oeyo), wife of Tokugawa Hidetada. Her daughter, Masako, married Emperor Go-Mizunoo. Due to scandal of Kasuga no Tsubone (wet nurse of Tokugawa Iemitsu, Gō's eldest son) visiting Imperial court as a commoner, the emperor abdicated and in turn Masako's daughter, Okiko, ascended the throne as Empress Meisho.
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Old 02-03-2021, 07:32 AM
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That was nice to hear though, that Sayako is still able to be a supreme priestess. Because that sounds like a position, that you have to be a princess to reach.
I'm not sure if she would be allowed to accept the position were she still a princess, given the separation of state and religion.
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Old 05-09-2021, 02:17 AM
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Recent advances on succession problem and "female emperor"

I repost this article since the original one was deleted while I tried to edit it

Hello everyone.
I’m happy to find this thread and so grateful to you for being interested in the problem of succession of Japanese Emperor, especially the possibilities of female emperor.

There was several big changes in this problem in the last few days.
Let me introduce some of them.
But first of all, I personally hope the birth of Aiko Tenno(i.e.Emperor Aiko) who is the only daughter of the present Emperor Naruhito, as the first female emperor in more than two centuries, so please allow that information provided by me would be somehow biased…




First, it should be emphasized that polls show the Japanese public overwhelmingly supports the idea of a female emperor.

“81% back idea of Japan having female emperor: Kyodo News poll” published on Oct 28,2019

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2...eror-poll.html

Quote:
A whopping 81.9 percent of respondents to a Kyodo News survey over the weekend said they are in favor of the idea of Japan having a female emperor, while 13.5 percent indicated they are opposed.
Concerns persist over the stability of Japan's imperial succession, as the 1947 Imperial House Law stipulates that only males of the patrilineage can ascend the throne.
Following the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito, 59, the family now has only three heirs -- the emperor's younger brother Crown Prince Fumihito, 53; the crown prince's son Prince Hisahito, 13; and Prince Hitachi (Masahito), 83, the uncle of the emperor.
Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako have a daughter -- Princess Aiko, 17 -- and there are other females in the imperial family, but the Imperial House Law requires women to abandon their imperial status after marrying commoners.
Regarding whether to allow heirs of female lineage to ascend the throne, 70.0 percent in the poll supported the idea, while 21.9 percent were against it.
And this tendency is now more strengthened. The latest Kyodo news dated 25 April,2020 revealed that as large as 85 % of the public was pro-female emperor.
This tendency is linked to the support for Princess Aiko as the article below published by Bunshun Online on 2 May.

““Lump-sum money”,”Kojo regime”--Expectation for Aiko Tenno” is emerging again because of backlash against the marriage problem of Mako”

https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/e6...8547876?page=2

The article above analyzes:
“It is possible that “expectation for Aiko Tenno” is emerging when Crown Prince Akishino and his family is in the face of headwinds from the public due to the marriage problem of Crown Princess Mako, his first daughter.”


Princess Aiko will reach adulthood in the end of this year, when she is expected to start participating in the public duties. Her modest and gentle personality has been reported frequently.
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