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Old 02-03-2009, 12:53 PM
kimebear's Avatar
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Christian Science Monitor article

Succession may not be an issue if this article has any merit to it: Japanese dare to ask: Do we really need an emperor? |
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Old 02-03-2009, 02:05 PM
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Should Japan abolish the monarchy?

Should the Monarchy be abolished in Japan?

I say this not because the Japanese Imperial Family do not deserve to hold their exalted position but things (the article in the Christian Science Monitor quoted in the thread on Sucession Issues) seem to suggest that the Imperial Family is being held hostage by their position. In this situation abolishing the monarchy would more than likely be doing a favor to these "hostages" who seemed to have been deprived on basic human rights!

I would be interested in hering everyone's views on the topic.
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Old 02-05-2009, 12:06 PM
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Those who have read more of my postings will not be surprised to hear that I am strongly in favour of giving the crown prince a chance to realize his plans and to try if he can make the monarchy important and meaningful again, also for the younger generation of Japanese, before abolishing it.

The odds are probably against him – he may be able to survive within this system on his own but it is certain that he will not be able to change it by himself. But as Shinji Yamas.hita says, not all the IHA executives share the same views. There was, for example, at the end of the nineties Sadame Kamakura, grand chamberlain of the kunaicho, who wanted to use Masako´s popularity (that was enormous at the time) in order to build up a new image for the monarchy. Not surprisingly, empress Michiko was not fond of Kamakura, and although he very probably has had a great share in promoting IVF as solution for the childlessness of the crown princely couple which resulted in Aiko´s birth, in the end he had to leave without having gained his end. Maybe there are some executives like him who would be willing to support the crown prince´s plans because they are truly convinced by his ideas. And there must be, for sure, many more who will always support the reigning power.

So, it may happen that when the crown prince will be in a position where he has something to offer – which he has not presently – he may find himself suddenly – surprise! - not at all isolated any more but surrounded by many, many zealous helpers. I would hardly be amazed to see this. It is human nature all around the world to gather around the successful and mighty, hoping for personal profit.

It is impossible to know from the outside what the probabilities are in this case. But I definitely think it should be given a try. And I am sure that neither the crown prince nor the crown princess want to be “released” from their duties in the name of human rights. They only want to be given the chance to serve their country in a way that makes sense and that unifies the best elements of Japanese tradition and modern life.
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Old 02-05-2009, 02:39 PM
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Why abolish the monarchy? Isn't it easier to abolish IHA?
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Old 02-05-2009, 03:46 PM
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I don't think abolish is the answer, they defiantly have to modernize.
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Old 02-05-2009, 03:54 PM
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My personal views on the matter ...

Well ... it is rather difficult for outsiders to give an accurate evaluation of the situation surrounding the Japanese Imperial family. I shall try ... It is worth noting that the situational context has been undergoing drastic changes. Thus, a rigid control, strange institutional taboos, and lack of openness make the current generation of Japanese question whether or not Japan needs its Imperial family.
The media outlets are prohibited to openly debate the past of the Imperial family, its current role, or the future. Basic questions such as "How much does the Royal family cost?", or "How exactly does Japan benefit from having the Imperial family?" are inappropriate for hard-core traditionalists as well as increase skepticism of the others. Taking a closer look, one may notice that human rights of the Japanese Imperial family are somewhat violated (i.e., they have got neither name nor passports; they have little or no say in how funds allocated to them are distributed and spent). I dare to presume that courtiers may take advantage of this unhealthy situation.
As for benefits the Imperial family brings to Japan, some point out Emperor's important diplomatic role as an ambassador, whereas others view Emperor as "spiritual core" that brings the nation together in times of crisis. Indeed, historically the Imperial family was a model for commoners to copy. However, the marital patterns and lifestyle have changed a lot. Needless to say, a fair number of marriages tends to occur late; divorces are not frowned upon; women opt for having fewer children and continue to work after marriage. This prompts men to participate in child rearing and housework. Under such circumstances, the Imperial family tends to look like a symbol of traditions, stability, and continuity that is devoid of content and almost artificially maintained. Namely this artificiality prompts people to question the existence of the royals. Ivan Hall described the Japan’s monarchy as the “ultimate linchpin of the myth of Japanese uniqueness and the lodestar for the most repressive ideas of racial superiority.” It may be presumed that the current generation of Japanese do not feel overly unique and racially superior to other nations. They realise there are commonalities between Japanese and gaijins as well as differences.
It is worth noting that the IHA is aware of lack of openness. However, it fears possible negative consequences attached to embracing the openness and high price paid by other royal houses (e.g., the British royals) for doing so. At the same time, the IHA goes too far protecting the mystery. Rehearsed press conferences with pre-approved questions from approved journalists make the institution look more out-of-date.
Having said that, I think that Crown Prince Naruhito has a full comprehension of the awkward situation surrounding the Imperial family. He may attempt to phase much-needed reforms in. Thus, I would give him a chance of becoming the people's Emperor, who will continue the 2,000-year-old institution.
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:32 PM
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I was surprised (shocked?) by the information that members of the Japanese Imperial Family don't have passports. Is this because they're considered to be above mere citizenry? Or is it more sinister--to keep them prisoners in their own country.

In any case, I agree with Al_bina and ChiaraC that Crown Prince Naruhito should have the opportunity to see what he can do with his birthright when the time comes.
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:38 PM
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I am not in favor this action the Monarchy should stay
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Old 02-06-2009, 04:32 AM
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I certainly do not think that the monarchy in Japan should be abolished, but I agree with the posts above that there should be some measured changes that could take away much of the stress and difficulties sufferred by some members of the Imperial Family. Clearly the IHA sees itself as being some kind of protector for the tradition associated with the monarchy and to maintain a never changing image. It is interesting what Al bina says - that they fear the consequences for embracing openness and the price this has caused other royal houses (I agree no better example than the British Royal Family!). However, in the short period of time since I have taken an interest in the Japanese Imperial Family, I have watched many videos on-line of the way in which they - the Imperial Family - conduct themselves and have been so impressed with the dignity with which thay carry out their duties (particularly the Emperor and Empress). And so I do question whether such a stringent control is necessary on members of the family when they are clearly performing their duties excellently (and would no doubt do so whether or not the IHA existed).
From a "westerners" point of view, I always felt that each successive monarch would bring about his or her own personality or way of doing things whilst maintaining the standard traditions and expectation of the role. Perhaps things are different in Japan and when comparing like for like the Emperors of the past are indistinguishable from eachother personailty wise? I hope the current Emperor lives for a very long time (because I like him and his wife very much) but I do hope that Niruhito will be allowed to maintain the traditions associated with being the emperor whilst being able to be himself as much as is reasonably possible and to bring his personality through to the job as much as he can.
In my view the role of the IHA to ensure the well-being and happiness of the JIF, to maintain the imperial traditions associated with the monarchy and to ensure that the monarchy is relevant to the people of Japan. Clearly the way in which they are currently doing this is not the right way! Edit: My references to traditions means primarily the ceremonies, rituals and "technical" parts!
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Old 02-09-2009, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by HRHofNothing View Post
Should the Monarchy be abolished in Japan?

I say this not because the Japanese Imperial Family do not deserve to hold their exalted position but things (the article in the Christian Science Monitor quoted in the thread on Sucession Issues) seem to suggest that the Imperial Family is being held hostage by their position. In this situation abolishing the monarchy would more than likely be doing a favor to these "hostages" who seemed to have been deprived on basic human rights!

I would be interested in hering everyone's views on the topic.
No.The Christian Science monitor?....yeah,...pulleese

Just the Kumaicho has to be curtailed without any bruhaha,I would be good at that.
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Old 04-08-2009, 12:20 AM
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The emperor does not have a passport
he does not have a Japanese citizenship, either.

anyway, The emperor's existence is very big.

In this situation abolishing the monarchy would more than likely be doing a favor to these "hostages" who seemed to have been deprived on basic human rights
He is doing the self-sacrifice to the Japanese ppl.
that is why we respect him.
Japan was not divided as support of the mind because he was there.
the power is always overthrown by new power.
However, Japanese monachy was not for more than 2000 years
I think Japan should register it as a world heritage
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Old 05-03-2009, 05:34 AM
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I could not imagine Japan without an Emperor. It just would not be the same country, it would be unthinkable. I don't think I could sum up my feelings any other way; unthinkable. I would also like to see the Imperial Family more involved but I'm also not very trusting of the motives of those who want to "save" the monarch from the monarchy. The IHA seems to have a bad reputation around here, I certainly don't know enough about what their exact powers are to have an informed opinion on the subject, but I would just point out that by remaining somewhat distant and detached the Japanese Imperial Family has been spared the sort of tabloid scandals that seem to plague western royal families. Just something to consider, hardly any issue is black & white.
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Old 11-17-2009, 05:15 AM
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After 125 generations, I think it's a little late to abolish the Japanese monarchy. Japan has NEVER existed without the traditional rule of the Yamato clan, and even if the monarchy were outlawed, it would still exist de jure as it did during periods of cloistered rule. More importantly, Japan is unique among the community of nations for having the oldest continuous system of government and longest surviving ruling house. It's an emphatic "no" for abolition from me, folks.
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Old 06-08-2010, 02:51 AM
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I don't believe the imperial family should be abolished.
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Old 06-08-2010, 09:58 PM
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Nobody needs an emperor. It is, obvious, that this is just a position made up by fudal lords a long time ago, who needed this base. That being said. It is up to the Japanese people to decide what they would like or not like. It is not for me or anyone who is not Japanese to decide. I have hopes that the Crown Prince will be able to do away with some of the useless, archaic traditions and bring his monarchy into the 21st Century. Remember, General MacArthur deemed it important enough to leave in place. We could have gotten rid of them in 1945.
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Old 06-08-2010, 11:42 PM
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I agree that Japan without a monarchy would be like having a new Japan that has never existed before. I think that the monarchy is too deeply embedded into Japanese society - wasn't it forbiddent to look at the Emperor until 1945 ? Sure, the Japanese need to mould their monarchy to fit the 21st century like many other Royal and Imperial Houses, but it does not mean it should be abolished.
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Old 06-09-2010, 02:13 AM
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I see no reason why would Japanese abolish their monarchy. I don't think that Japanese even widely discuss about it like e.g. Britons or Norwegians.
I also don't think that Japan's monarchy has to modernize no matter what. Politically it is not necessary, since it has no power anyway. Making it more open would make Imperial Family life more fun, but can be disastrous too. Tabloids would probably love more openness , but I don't think Japanese royals like to be chased by media. Nobody does.
So, abolishing: no, but modernizing: yes, although carefully.
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Old 06-09-2010, 07:44 AM
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I believe the operational model of the IHA and its relationship to the Imperial Family is where the change needs to come. Most of us (at least in this thread) agree that the monarchy should remain in Japan. But it cannot function without a strong support system, which the IHA would say is its own function.
The problem however is that the IHA is supposed to be a support for the Imperial Family. In reality, it has become the exact opposite. The Imperial Family gives purpose, and very likely funding, to the IHA. I believe that is why the IHA seems so desparate to control everything.
The operational model is other monarchies is very similar, except the role is reversed. Specifically in Sweden, the Marshal of the Realm (along with his staff of managers) handles all the administrative tasks of running a royal court. But the King chooses/appoints/hires that person and can remove/fire them. In addition, while there are laws governing the royal family's freedoms that don't apply to other Swedish citizens (obtaining permission for marriage, for example), for the most part the Swedish royals can choose where they go, what they do, who they have as friends, etc.
Obviously there exists the potential for problems/embarassments/scandals, but at the same time, the Swedish monarchy is, like many other Western monarchies, almost a living thing shared by the citizens of the country. The Japanese monarchy is treated by the IHA almost like the now non-existent Chinese model of keeping them shut away on their island, very little contact with their people and certainly becoming less and less relevant and functional in terms of charity work and impacting directly on the public. That is a road map to extinction as has happened to the Chinese.
I don't know the solution because the financial structure is probably the most closely guarded, but I think the Emperor and his family should stage a coup on the IHA and then restructure it to better fit a modern, corporate structure so that they can function in a way that serves their country more effectively.

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Old 06-09-2010, 10:11 AM
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One thing to remember is that Japan, and Asia generally, has extremely conservative social norms, and many standards and values that are different from the West- even though there's things they find acceptable that we don't, and vice versa. And they see it right to keep it that way. How the monarchy relates to the people in Japan may well be determined by that.
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Old 06-09-2010, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by David V View Post
One thing to remember is that Japan, and Asia generally, has extremely conservative social norms, and many standards and values that are different from the West- even though there's things they find acceptable that we don't, and vice versa. And they see it right to keep it that way. How the monarchy relates to the people in Japan may well be determined by that.
Hi, David. I agree about the different norms in different societies as far as acceptability. But I believe this is a different issue. As others have expressed, the Imperial Family of Japan live an existence that appears in violation of human rights laws that the majority of other countries recognize and attempt to enforce. Your point possibly speaks to the prevailing attitude of the Japanese population, which may view the living conditions of the Imperial Family as traditional, customary, and therefore, acceptable.

My point is that for many years, while there remains a level of respect for the Imperial Family, there has been a decreasing level of relevance to the extent that the general population seems uninterested in the fact that they even have an Imperial Family. This has been supported in many polls where the Japanese, especially the younger generation, cannot name the members of the Imperial Family and who are unaware of many of the discussions we have here in this forum.

That apathy toward the Imperial Family has existed for a while now. With the current global economic situation, that apathy can turn to annoyance and disregard when people, government, etc. recognize that the money spent on the Imperial Family (or the IHA's budget) could better serve the population in other ways. If you hired a PR firm (which is essentially the role of monarchs in parliamentary democracies and/or constitutional monarchies) and that PR firm was seldom heard from or seen, how long would you continue that firm's employment?

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