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  #1061  
Old 07-19-2018, 03:02 AM
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Originally Posted by M. Payton View Post
Now this caught my eye, how can any country shut the door on the world around it for over 200 years and how did that shape the country of today? If in fact that is how the Japanese society is because of that time period then what brought that on to do such a dramatic thing to a people? Something dire must of been going on there and it has carried over until the way the people are today? So very interesting ....was there a royal family back then? Is the royal family of today from that time period or what happened then to the royal family? Are these the same traditions of that period or are they something that developed over time in the religion of the country at that time? Sorry for all the questions ......I don't know anything about that time period in Japan so would Jesus be the way he is today or a different view of him would of emerged?
That's a lot of questions, that require a long answer.
They touch some of the most fascinating aspects of Japanese history!
I'll return to that later. - Unless of course someone else wish to answer them.
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  #1062  
Old 07-19-2018, 03:12 AM
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Okay I understand, somehow this I find so very interesting and challenging, this is so new to me about Japan and how the succession might go, I wonder if all this relates to the country and the traditions back over 200 years ago? If the country and the government does not take care of this issue of succession now then later might be to late and then not even a puppet will save the throne of Japan. They are not looking ahead to the future and that there could be their downfall. You really sparked my interest Muhler.....got me off searching the world for Bushido Codes and religion, for me religion and ancient history go hand in hand.......topics I so love! Fashion is fine for a wink in time, this is forever.........
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  #1063  
Old 07-19-2018, 03:18 AM
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The isolationism of the Japanese isn't something that is unique to them. There are many instances, even today, of cultures remaining the same as they were millennia ago such as the aboriginal tribes of Australia and New Zealand and the Dogon of West Africa. These are just a few that come to mind off the top of my head. When we think about it, all of the Americas were isolated with their own unique cultures until maybe the 14th century when the "New World" made the headlines. Most of these cultures still adhere to and follow their own belief structures and many of them include honoring the past, their ancestors and the tales and myths and legends that haven't changed.

Perhaps in preserving the past, they've held onto what has been deemed as important to their culture since ancient times and aren't quick to "adapt" or "conform" to the ways of our understanding of the 21st century and the way we do things.
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  #1064  
Old 07-19-2018, 05:45 AM
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Let us please get back on topic of this thread - succession and membership issues only! Thank you!
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  #1065  
Old 07-19-2018, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by M. Payton View Post
Does anyone think that the Chrysanterium Throne will eventually die out with no male heirs to be had and only females in the family? I find this a very sad and unbelievable situation that is going on in Japan's royal family for this is not the dark ages here. Are or is everyone so unwilling to do something now before it is to late? Why?

With only one young prince in the house (and with no chance for an another one), the current Imperial Family already is at the brink of extinction. Life is life and everything can happen to Hisahito, God bless him! He may have an accident, cancer or be infertile or gay. What then?



The conservatives/traditionals could choose a successor from the former shinnōke branches of the Imperial Family. It would be the most traditional way to deal with the crisis.

The easiest and modern way would be allowing females to succeed (maybe as an exception only for the most senior princess, not all of them?). But should it be done only if Hisahito fails to produce an heir or before, thus denying him of his position as the future Emperor, for which he is already destined?



The question is how much the traditional/conservative option dominates the Japenese politics? Today, I think, they are in majority.
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  #1066  
Old 07-19-2018, 11:06 AM
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In order to understand the present we must often look to the past.

Part 1.

There has always been an emperor, sometimes an empress, for as long as Japan has been a nation. It's debatable when that happened. Japan originally consisted of a lot of principalities which were united under one rules, certainly between 800-1200 AD.
Initially the emperor had a political and military role, just like most other monarchs elsewhere in the world. However during the period the emperor and the imperial family was sidelines politically. In the sense that they reverted to being symbolic figureheads and instead someone ruled in the name of the emperor. That was usually the strongest Daimyo (prince) at any given time.
The period from 12-1600 was marked by constant power struggles and countless civil wars that culminated in the 1500's and ended in the year 1600.
During that period the emperor and his family became more and more symbolic and became semi-divine, not only in legend but in every respect.
Everything that was in accordance with the law, customs and traditions stemmed from the emperor. All authority was in the name of the emperor, who by now was a living personification of Japan and everything Japanese on Earth.
The imperial family was confined to house arrest in a palace area in Kyoto, and rarely leaved the palace. But in order for the imperial family not to degenerate they devoted their time on traditional craftsmanship, literature, poetry, art, religious rituals, which they refined to a very high degree. And that was emulated by the Japanese ruling elite after 1630, when peace finally came to Japan.
By the 1500's a Shogun was appointed (by force!) to act in the name of the emperor. Shogun can be translated to Lord Protector. In reality in was a military dictator - who maintained total control of the imperial family, including their economy. Some emperors were reduced to a state of poverty if the Shogun didn't feel he wanted to spend money on the court!
Few Japanese, even those in power, would ever meet the emperor. The emperor remained a distant symbolic figure and as long as everybody knew he was there, everything was good.

The 1500's is important for Japan. It was the culmination of the endemic civil wars. It was when Japan invaded Korea and were eventually pushed out and it was the century where Portuguese ships and Christian missionaries arrived. Bringing with them not only money/silver but also foreign technology. Mainly firearms but also ship building technology. And they were vital for the Japanese economy! Because the Portuguese were used as freight carries between Japan and China (who hated them!) and India (where armed Japanese were not allowed ashore). At the same time Christianity began to spread to the chagrin of many Japanese who saw foreigners as polluting Japan and Japanese culture.

In 1600 the battle of Sekigahara took place and that led to the Tokugawa dynasty of Shoguns to take over for good. There were still a few mopping up operations taking place in the years after the battle but apart from that the Tokugawas were firmly in power.
Then by the 1630's a huge Christian rebellion took place which was crushed with considerable difficulty! And it really put a scare into the Tokugawas! So they decided to kick out all Christian missionaries, stem out Christianity, and close Japan to all foreigners. Except for the port of Nagazaki. That port was open to Dutch merchant ships. The Japanese were not stupid, they knew perfectly well that the Dutch were Protestant and in opposition to the Catholic Portuguese. On top of that the Dutch made it clear they only came to trade and not to spread Christianity and interfere politically in Japanese internal affairs. That worked fine. Japan became isolated, untainted by foreigners, pure.
Of course it also meant that the Japanese themselves became isolated, apart from smugglers and the odd fishermen no Japanese went abroad. Japan became what Madagascar was in the first half of the 1800's; A no-go area. You didn't go ashore there and you didn't let yourself getting shipwrecked there! If you were lucky you were detained and handed over to the Dutch in closed-off city of Nagasaki, if not you were killed on sight.

In the meantime peace settled over Japan. The samurai classes devoted their time to art and culture and elaborate social rituals (the tea ceremony) and many samurais would live their entire lives without ever seeing combat.
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  #1067  
Old 07-19-2018, 11:06 AM
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Part 2:

Then in the 1850's an American squadron sailed into Tokyo Bay demanding that Japan open up to foreign trade. That was a monumental eye opener!
In a society stuck in the early 1600's the sight of foreign ironclads were like seeing alien spaceships landing!
And when another squadron returned a year or two later, the Japanese gave in unconditionally and were subjected to the full force of an alien technology 225 years ahead of them not to mention capitalism...
It was traumatic! Foreigners had come to Japan, holy Japan, and were in control!
The Tokugawa dynasty tumbled and the Japanese decided to unite and act in the most sensible way possible. (Reading foreign papers they knew perfectly well they would end up becoming a colony if they didn't act decisively.)
So the samurai classes were abolished overnight. 2 million samurais were laid off. Many took employment in military Japan was building, but most couldn't. So many samurais were forced to take jobs in factories...
In the meantime the Japanese authorities said to themselves: "We have got to learn from the foreigners, and we must learn fast! We must learn everything we can and copy the foreigners." So in a few decades Japan went from 1640 to 1890, an incredible leap!
They did so by sending their brightest abroad to learn. To foreign universities, engineering schools and military academies. When they returned home they started creating their own industry, their own modern infrastructure, railways and steam ferries and building their own arms industry.
That was of course a total revolution of the Japanese society which a lot resented deeply! And that led to the samurai rebellion around 1870 IRRC. It was of course easily crushed by the modern Japanese army (even though at was very backward compared to European armies of the time.) and that was the end. Japan was modern.

Okay, those who had been send abroad were of course influenced by western ideas and ideals, for better or worse - including the idea that Japan should have its own colonies...
The beginning of the turning point for Japan came after the Japanese-Russian war in 1906 where Japan won Korea from Russia. And that led Japan to suddenly become the strongest power in East Asia and they knew it! Combined with being on the winning team in WWI that led to overconfidence of Japans capabilities. So Japan began to close itself again. They were still very much interested in foreign technology, but certainly not foreign moral values! It was no longer necessary to send the brightest abroad, and those who were send abroad were considered a bit tainted by those who stayed behind.
The mastermind behind Pearl Harbor, admiral Yamamoto had been stationed abroad, and he warned to that an attack on Pearl Harbor would buy Japan a year before the tide would turn. He was right almost to the day. But his opinion was dismissed by those who had remained in Japan... In their ignorance of the world.
Japan had already taken over Taiwan and took over Manchuria from where they later invaded China. That led to the military, especially the army to gain more and more political control and at the same time Japan became very nationalistic. Political opponents were murdered and Japan became an authoritarian regime.
While that happened the emperor began to have a more public role. He was paraded, mainly at military parades but he rarely if ever spoke. And he still had next to no political influence. - But he was used to cement the authority of the totalitarian regime that was in place. At the same time an extreme interpretation of Bushido was indoctrinated into the Japanese people, personified by the emperor. Everything was for the emperor!

1945. Another traumatic year for Japan! Japan was defeated, surrendered. The unendurable had to be endured. Japan had been conquered! The worst nightmare had taken place!
In come General McArthur, who became de facto the last Shogun of Japan and they should be thankful for that!
Now, what's the best way to take over a country as peacefully as possible? You take out the leadership and leave the ones a level down in place, no questions asked, and use them to help rebuild the country.
But you also need a potent symbol. In comes the emperor. He was stripped of his semi-divine position but otherwise left in place, on condition that he played along... At the same time the Imeprial family was reduced. No competing factions here, please!
So the emperor smiled and acted the part. coming to McArthur, rather than the other way around...
And that leads us to a trait in the Japanese character that is fascinating! It's an extreme form of "follow the leader" that exist to this day. If your Daimyo/boss likes to swim, you positively love to swim! If your daimyo/boss likes poetry, you love poetry! If your daimyo likes to boil people alive, you learn to appreciate that as well...
So if the Japanese leadership, and the emperor, embrace western (American) lifestyle all Japanese do the same!
Because they liked Americans (in particular) and liked the western lifestyle? Or because America became the new top dog/daimyo? Well, you be the judge...

At the same time the role of the Emperor became more and more public. Instead of being a distant almost mythological figure, he became a role model instead. Personifying the more pacifist Japanese virtues. Modesty very much being one of them. While still staying very clear of politics mind you, that has not changed!
After all after the nuclear bombs were dropped the emperor addressed his people on the radio and that was sensational! It was the first time that had happened and listening to the emperor's own voice was mindnumbingly! Few actually understood what he said, because he spoke in archaic Japanese, but still.
It would be the equivalent to King George addressing people on the wireless back in 1945 speaking Shakespearean English!
But the Emperor himself, spoke to you! In his own voice!

But all that is to explain why there is a long standing Japanese tradition for preserving things as they have always been, culturally. Japanese nationalism is by no means a new thing, it goes back many centuries.
And it also goes to explain why the Imperial Family or the Emperor doesn't tell the politicians and the court to go take a hike and start a public debate about the issue of running out of heirs, like a monarch would likely do in most other monarchies.
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  #1068  
Old 08-04-2018, 01:43 AM
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The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) held its first meeting on stable succession on the July 20 with historian Akinori Takamori as a lecturer. With the abdication set for April 2019, the committee aims to consolidate the party's position within the year and prepare for discussions at the legislature by the beginning of 2019.

Besides committee chair Banri Kaieda, members include Hiroshi Kawauchi, Masayoshi Yagami, Takayuki Ochiai, Naoki Kazama, and Shiori Yamao. (5 men, 1 woman)

Source: https://cdp-japan.jp/news/20180720_0750

It didn't say how often the committee would meet but I'll check their website periodically.
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  #1069  
Old 10-04-2018, 02:07 AM
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The CDP held the seconded meeting on stable succession on October 1st and welcomed former deputy chief Cabinet secretary Nobuo Ishihara as lecturer. Mr. Ishihara (91) was in charge of the transition from Showa to Heisei.

He discussed the issues: extremely limited male successors, females leaving the Imperial family on marriage, inevitable decrease in numbers. A report from experts on Imperial House Law on 24 November 2005 concluded it is necessary to expand succession to females. Sadly the 10+ year old report has not been understood, consented, or argued by public release. "This report said to be very heavy." (Google translation... many pages? or another meaning?)

Mr. Ishihara emphasized that efforts to obtain national consensus are needed, expanding debate.

Source: https://cdp-japan.jp/news/20181001_0908
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  #1070  
Old 10-04-2018, 04:55 AM
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Well, the Imperial Family pretty much reflects the demographics of Japan - which is rapidly heading for a melt down.
But for whatever reason that issue, just like the succession issue, is hardly addressed by the politicians.

I simply do not comprehend Japanese politics in regards to human issues! Perhaps because there really isn't any?

The demographic issue is basically addressed the same way as the succession issue and can be boiled down to one sentence: "Have more children." - And with that verbal encouragement that problem should be solved...
(It was BTW PM Abe who said that.)
The why's and how's are not addressed. Just as the what if's are ignored in regards to the Imperial Family.
- I guess the best way to solve a problem is to ignore it - and otherwise leave it to future politicians to deal with...
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  #1071  
Old 10-04-2018, 05:48 PM
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http://www.theroyalforums.com/forums...ml#post2134988
http://www.theroyalforums.com/forums...ml#post2134989

Thank you, Muhler, for the excellent overview. It paints an expansive picture of the monarchy's embrace of change for thousands of years.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kbk View Post
With only one young prince in the house (and with no chance for an another one), the current Imperial Family already is at the brink of extinction. Life is life and everything can happen to Hisahito, God bless him! He may have an accident, cancer or be infertile or gay. What then?
Hisahito is being taught by parents and grandparents who in the past outspokenly criticized their son and daughter-in-law/brother and sister-in-law because of their failure to produce a male heir. He will have learned that he was conceived to impede girls from receiving equal rights to the throne (knowledge which he will acquire from the internet even if he and his parents have never had talks about their family history). It is a reasonable guess that his upbringing will inculcate him with the concepts that absolute primogeniture is foolish and that he is obliged to his father, grandfather, and country to extend the male line, even if he is infertile or gay.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kbk View Post
The conservatives/traditionals could choose a successor from the former shinnōke branches of the Imperial Family. It would be the most traditional way to deal with the crisis.
The argument can go both ways. As noted by the expert report (see the link below), all of the past emperors have been members of the imperial family for most or all their lives, and choosing a commoner as the successor would significantly change precedents.

Quote:
Historically speaking, it would be highly irregular for someone who has seceded from the Imperial Family to rejoin it, or for a non-member of the Imperial Family to be enrolled in it.
And in only two cases have such individuals ascended the Throne, both during the Heian period.
(Both individuals differ from the so-called former Imperial Family members presently under consideration in that they seceded only briefly from the Imperial Family and were close blood relatives — sons — of Emperors.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prisma View Post
The CDP held the seconded meeting on stable succession on October 1st and welcomed former deputy chief Cabinet secretary Nobuo Ishihara as lecturer. Mr. Ishihara (91) was in charge of the transition from Showa to Heisei.

He discussed the issues: extremely limited male successors, females leaving the Imperial family on marriage, inevitable decrease in numbers. A report from experts on Imperial House Law on 24 November 2005 concluded it is necessary to expand succession to females. Sadly the 10+ year old report has not been understood, consented, or argued by public release. "This report said to be very heavy." (Google translation... many pages? or another meaning?)
The translated version of the report is not very long (but quite informative).
http://japan.kantei.go.jp/policy/koshitsu/051124_e.pdf

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prisma View Post
Mr. Ishihara emphasized that efforts to obtain national consensus are needed, expanding debate.

Source: https://cdp-japan.jp/news/20181001_0908
The nation already seems to have reached a broad consensus, which is that the shrinking of the imperial family is not a compelling enough issue to generate a debate.
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  #1072  
Old 10-04-2018, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Tatiana Maria View Post
The nation already seems to have reached a broad consensus, which is that the shrinking of the imperial family is not a compelling enough issue to generate a debate.
What does that mean, are the Japanese people that strongly in favor of male primogeniture? does it represent an indifference to monarchy, namely that it's no big deal if the monarchy goes extinct? something else?
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  #1073  
Old 10-04-2018, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Queen Claude View Post
What does that mean, are the Japanese people that strongly in favor of male primogeniture? does it represent an indifference to monarchy, namely that it's no big deal if the monarchy goes extinct? something else?
It seems that as long as there is a male heir who might produce another male heir, they will just continue as is. There certainly was debate before Hisahito was born as at that point there was no obvious solution: currently his name is Hisahito and he only needs to produce (preferably lots of) male heirs ..
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  #1074  
Old 10-05-2018, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Queen Claude View Post
What does that mean, are the Japanese people that strongly in favor of male primogeniture? does it represent an indifference to monarchy, namely that it's no big deal if the monarchy goes extinct? something else?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Somebody View Post
It seems that as long as there is a male heir who might produce another male heir, they will just continue as is. There certainly was debate before Hisahito was born as at that point there was no obvious solution: currently his name is Hisahito and he only needs to produce (preferably lots of) male heirs ..

There is no risk of the monarchy going extinct as long as a heavy majority of the population and politicians continue to be in favor of the monarchy. There was an Ipsos MORI poll this year with only 4% of Japanese agreeing that abolishing their monarchy would "make things better", while 35% thought it would "make things worse". Should Hisahito never produce a male heir, the Imperial House Law will be amended so that there is a successor.

But continuing as is increases the risks that:


1. The number of royal engagements undertaken by the imperial family will drop.

This is guaranteed to happen when the older generation retires and the younger generation of princesses are married, since the latter will lose their status when they marry, and the imperial family will shrink.


2. Hisahito's successor grows up as a private citizen, not educated for taking on the duties of an emperor and not likely to have stayed neutral in relation to his or her business engagements or political stances prior to being chosen as the successor.

That would be expected to happen if Hisahito cannot produce a male heir and his daughters are not allowed to reign, or if he produces no children. All of the relatives who would be under consideration for succeeding Hisahito (descendants of ex-princesses and male-line descendants of ex-princes) would be commoners.
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  #1075  
Old 10-10-2018, 12:06 AM
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On October 9th, the CDP held its 3rd meeting on stable Imperial succession which featured Yuji Otabe, Professor Emeritus of Japanese history at Shizuoka University of Welfare, as lecturer.

Source: https://cdp-japan.jp/news/20181009_0922

Professor Otabe outlined the current issues (1) consideration on stable succession after Prince Hisahito (2) the necessity of a certain number of royals for public service -- and 3 solutions proposed in the past.

Regarding the proposal to restore a male descendent from the ex-Imperial branches:
1. The constitution does not recognize the ex-Imperial branches or former aristocracy
2. In the hereditary sense, there are nearly 100 families closer to current Imperial family than the ex-Imperial branches
3. The emperor(s) who many people support is mostly based on empathy with Emperor Showa and Emperor Akihito, who were active in the postwar era
4. What will happen to a restored Imperial branch if a boy is not born?
5. Even if a male descendant with wife and son is restored, his marriage would not have been approved by the Imperial Household Council

Regarding the proposal to acknowledge female emperor:
1. Current Imperial House Law limits succession to males belonging to the Imperial family. There are people with strong psychological resistance to revising the law to "a child belonging to the Imperial family"
2. Even if a female emperor is allowed, some people are resistant to matrilineal succession
3. Persistent arguments that "historically, there were few female emperors, only placeholders" or "there is no female emperor." However, there were many male successors from Imperial branches at those times… and a female was still chosen for the position.
4. The opposition to female emperor and female led Imperial branches is rooted in prejudice against women. The fundamental social conditions are different now.

Regarding the proposal for Imperial princesses to marry men from the ex-Imperial branches:
1. Somewhat of a solution if the couple are willing and have natural romantic sentiment. However, there are many male descendants and Imperial princess of a "certain age" already and the number of single men from ex-Imperial branches in a compatible age range is limited.
2. Legal issues as the constitution does not recognize the former Imperial branches or aristocracy. Those men are commoners.

There may not be any successor, male or female, in the future if concrete and effective countermeasures are not taken. The Imperial family will not be able to handle the many rituals and public duties.

Keeping in mind postwar symbolism and public support, Otabe proposes succession rights for Princesses Aiko, Mako, and Kako and their descendants. The 3 princesses are direct descendants of Emperors Showa, Akihito, and either Naruhito or Akishino. The 4 Imperial branches (including Prince Hisahito) will provide stable succession.

A potential spouse of an empress or Imperial princess should be approved by the Imperial Household Council, same as what's currently applied for potential spouses of Imperial princes.

Otabe emphasizes the necessity of the connection between the younger members of the Imperial family and Japanese of the same generation.
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  #1076  
Old 10-10-2018, 06:39 AM
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I couldn't agree more with the professor.
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  #1077  
Old 10-10-2018, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prisma View Post
Professor Otabe outlined the current issues (1) consideration on stable succession after Prince Hisahito (2) the necessity of a certain number of royals for public service -- and 3 solutions proposed in the past.

Regarding the proposal to restore a male descendent from the ex-Imperial branches:
1. The constitution does not recognize the ex-Imperial branches or former aristocracy
[...]
3. The emperor(s) who many people support is mostly based on empathy with Emperor Showa and Emperor Akihito, who were active in the postwar era
[...]

Regarding the proposal to acknowledge female emperor:
[...]
4. The opposition to female emperor and female led Imperial branches is rooted in prejudice against women. The fundamental social conditions are different now.

Regarding the proposal for Imperial princesses to marry men from the ex-Imperial branches:
[...]
2. Legal issues as the constitution does not recognize the former Imperial branches or aristocracy. Those men are commoners.

There may not be any successor, male or female, in the future if concrete and effective countermeasures are not taken. The Imperial family will not be able to handle the many rituals and public duties.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
I couldn't agree more with the professor.
The difficulty is that the arguments above will not convince the traditionalists because they are predominantly against the 1947 constitution, common people feeling empathy for emperors, female leadership, and most of the imperial family's public duties.
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  #1078  
Old 10-10-2018, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatiana Maria View Post
The difficulty is that the arguments above will not convince the traditionalists because they are predominantly against the 1947 constitution, common people feeling empathy for emperors, female leadership, and most of the imperial family's public duties.
Oh yes, I realize that!

They however constitute the minority among the Japanese I hope. It's the majority who matters. - While Japan still remains a democracy. Something some traditionalists/nationalists would no doubt like to rectify. - For the "better of Japan" of course.
If you think I'm far out, take a closer look at the "authoritarian democracies" that are emerging these years.
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Old 10-10-2018, 09:35 AM
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So, how would this type of succession be described? I assume that Hisahito will be higher in line than his cousin Aiko, so male-preference primogeniture wouldn't work.

Edit: Looks like it would be agnatic-cognatic primogeniture.

Could it be that this proposal has been discussed for some time with the imperial family and could this be the reason for Mako's postponed marriage? Her fiancé needing to proof himself worthy of his descendants being included in the line of succession?
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Old 10-10-2018, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Somebody View Post
Could it be that this proposal has been discussed for some time with the imperial family and could this be the reason for Mako's postponed marriage? Her fiancé needing to proof himself worthy of his descendants being included in the line of succession?
The Constitutional Democratic Party has only 9.5% of the seats in parliament, so I doubt that they have played any role.
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