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  #1221  
Old 04-27-2020, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Duc_et_Pair View Post
When Prince Akishino is confirmed as Heir, with all that extended solemn ceremonial, I see the debate fading away as never Akishino will lose his confirmed position. This means waiting for a firstborn child of Prince Hisahito to be female, to stir the debate up again.
Neither Prince Akishino, nor Prince Hisahito will loose their place in the line of the succession. I completely agree with you there.

But a line of succession with only one person in the next generation (as P. Akishino is the same generation as the emperor) is anything but safe. You can't be 100% sure that Hisahito will have sons, maybe he won't have children at all. And in that case it might be a good idea to have a safety line installed as a back-up. And that probably should be decided before Mako and Kako get married. I get the impression that P. Akishino likes the idea of his daughters keeping Imperial status after marriage. Not only would that be a safety line for the list of succession, but it would also ensure that young Hisahito will have the full support of his sisters as full working members of the Imperial Family.
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  #1222  
Old 04-27-2020, 11:03 AM
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Is not one of the problems, that the Emperor of Japan is somehow the religious main figure of the Shinto religion too? Some kind of Shinto-"Pope"? And pope is still a man's job - in Rome and Tokyo?

And to embarass me even further: Shinto is more the religion of the commoners, while Zen is the religion of the upper class?

Is about the diret male line. According to the imperial House the Emperor descends in direct male line from the Sungodd Amaterasu. In the case of a female Emperor with her chuildren succeeding her this line would be broken.
In the case of female Empresses in the past this was not the case as they where not succeeded by their children or had married other members of other male lines of the Imperial House.
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  #1223  
Old 04-27-2020, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by victor1319 View Post
Is not one of the problems, that the Emperor of Japan is somehow the religious main figure of the Shinto religion too? Some kind of Shinto-"Pope"? And pope is still a man's job - in Rome and Tokyo?

And to embarass me even further: Shinto is more the religion of the commoners, while Zen is the religion of the upper class?

Shinto and Buddhism are both important to Japanese religious beliefs, which are a very interesting example of syncretism. There's a saying in Japan, "Born Shinto, die Buddhist." It's not uncommon for a family who may practice Buddhism to also have a Shinto household shrine. Another example would be the increasingly common practice of celebrating Christmas, without in any way believing the tenets of Christianity. Whole dissertations have been written about this, but the short version is that modern Japanese beliefs are not so easily compartmentalized.


The whole question of a female line is complicated further by the additional question of which female line? In what order would Aiko, Mako and Kako be placed? They would all be daughters of former emperors, and therefore theoretically in the running. It's clearly a complicated issue, even before you get to the resistance of the current government, which also clearly doesn't care how the majority of polled Japanese citizens feel about it--and have felt about it consistently when polled.
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  #1224  
Old 04-27-2020, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Ista View Post
Shinto and Buddhism are both important to Japanese religious beliefs, which are a very interesting example of syncretism. There's a saying in Japan, "Born Shinto, die Buddhist." It's not uncommon for a family who may practice Buddhism to also have a Shinto household shrine. Another example would be the increasingly common practice of celebrating Christmas, without in any way believing the tenets of Christianity. Whole dissertations have been written about this, but the short version is that modern Japanese beliefs are not so easily compartmentalized.


The whole question of a female line is complicated further by the additional question of which female line? In what order would Aiko, Mako and Kako be placed? They would all be daughters of former emperors, and therefore theoretically in the running. It's clearly a complicated issue, even before you get to the resistance of the current government, which also clearly doesn't care how the majority of polled Japanese citizens feel about it--and have felt about it consistently when polled.
In normal situation by lack of males it would be: the closest related to the Emperor, then the closest related to the Emperor's sibling, then the closest related to the previous Emperor.

Under Emperor Naruhito:
1. Princess Aiko of Naruhito
2. Princess Mako of Akishino
3. Princess Kako of Akishino

Under Emperor Akishino:
1. Princess Mako of Akishino
2. Princess Kako of Akishino
3. Princess Aiko of Naruhito

Of course any child born by these princesses will affect the line: a daughter by Aiko will come before her cousin Mako as long as she is the heiress.
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  #1225  
Old 04-27-2020, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Duc_et_Pair View Post
In normal situation by lack of males it would be: the closest related to the Emperor, then the closest related to the Emperor's brother, then the closest related to the previous Emperor.

Under Emperor Naruhito:
1. Princess Aiko of Naruhito
2. Princess Mako of Akishino
3. Princess Kako of Akishino

Under Emperor Akishino:
1. Princess Mako of Akishino
2. Princess Kako of Akishino
3. Princess Aiko of Naruhito

Of course any child born by these princesses will affect the line: a daughter by Aiko will come before her cousin Mako as long as she is the heiress.
A "normal situation" in Japan is that none of the princesses would be eligible at all, so it is far from clear how exactly the Japanese government would resolve this. In addition, the emperor who succeeded Prince Akishino would be his son, not one of his daughters, which muddies the picture even further. I suspect that in the short term nothing at all will be done, but it certainly is an interesting conundrum.
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  #1226  
Old 04-27-2020, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Ista View Post
A "normal situation" in Japan is that none of the princesses would be eligible at all, so it is far from clear how exactly the Japanese government would resolve this. In addition, the emperor who succeeded Prince Akishino would be his son, not one of his daughters, which muddies the picture even further. I suspect that in the short term nothing at all will be done, but it certainly is an interesting conundrum.
In my previous post I mentioned "by lack of males".
And trust me, if Popes and Emperors can abdicate, they can install a female Empress. Everything for the continuation of the monarchy. The core business of the mighty IHA.
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  #1227  
Old 04-27-2020, 02:19 PM
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It would indeed seem more likely that they adopt the former Luxembourgish practice that females can inherit ONLY if there are no male-line male descendants; if they would instead opt for male-preference, suddenly Aiko would be first in line but that seems extremely unlikely.

So, in that case the likely outcome would be for Hisahito's daughter to inherit (if he doesn't have a son).

I am not sure how it would work if when Hisahito passes away, Mako would have passed away before him (but leaving children behind) and Kako would still be alive. Would in that (hypothetical) case Mako's eldest son become emperor or would Kako become empress, as she would be more closely related to the latest emperor - as neither one is officially in line to the throne.
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  #1228  
Old 04-27-2020, 02:35 PM
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It would indeed seem more likely that they adopt the former Luxembourgish practice that females can inherit ONLY if there are no male-line male descendants; if they would instead opt for male-preference, suddenly Aiko would be first in line but that seems extremely unlikely.

So, in that case the likely outcome would be for Hisahito's daughter to inherit (if he doesn't have a son).

I am not sure how it would work if when Hisahito passes away, Mako would have passed away before him (but leaving children behind) and Kako would still be alive. Would in that (hypothetical) case Mako's eldest son become emperor or would Kako become empress, as she would be more closely related to the latest emperor - as neither one is officially in line to the throne.
It would be Mako's son indeed.
When William passes away, George is Heir to Charles and not Charles' younger son Harry, despite Harry being closest relative to Charles. Same principle.
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  #1229  
Old 04-27-2020, 03:12 PM
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At this point a change would be impossible without declaring Princess Aiko the heir. Anything else would be denying her the throne in favor of a different woman and would be a PR nightmare
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  #1230  
Old 04-27-2020, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Duc_et_Pair View Post
It would be Mako's son indeed.
When William passes away, George is Heir to Charles and not Charles' younger son Harry, despite Harry being closest relative to Charles. Same principle.
But that is a completely different case; as they are ALL in the line to the throne. I am aware how it would work when the system would be male-preference - in that case Mako's son/child would be first in line.

In this hypothetical case nobody is in line to the throne, so at the moment that the emperor would pass away they would need to look for the closest female(-line) relative... And, to complicate matters even further: what if Mako would only have girls and Kako have boys... I'd say they would rather pick Kako than Mako's daughter in that scenario.
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  #1231  
Old 04-27-2020, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Eskimo View Post
At this point a change would be impossible without declaring Princess Aiko the heir. Anything else would be denying her the throne in favor of a different woman and would be a PR nightmare
In my opinion, the 'Luxembourg' scenario in which a women are allowed to ascend the throne if no male descendants are left would not deny her the throne in favor of a different woman, as Hisahito would remain the heir of his generation. It would only open up the possibility for the continuation of the imperial reign in case Hisahito wouldn't have a son.

In theory they still have a lot of time before they are at this point. The main reason to think this through right now, would be to keep the former emperor's granddaughters as imperial princesses after marriage as it would be a little weird to first kick them out of the family when their is a chance they -or their children- might be needed in the future...
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  #1232  
Old 04-27-2020, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Duc_et_Pair View Post
In my previous post I mentioned "by lack of males".
And trust me, if Popes and Emperors can abdicate, they can install a female Empress. Everything for the continuation of the monarchy. The core business of the mighty IHA.
The IHA has no power to install an Emperor/Empress, any more than Buckingham Palace or Dutch Royal Household can install the next King/Queen. In every one of these countries Parliament, and Parliament only, rules over the succession. It was Parliament that enacted special legislation permitting the Emperor to abdicate.


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It would indeed seem more likely that they adopt the former Luxembourgish practice that females can inherit ONLY if there are no male-line male descendants; if they would instead opt for male-preference, suddenly Aiko would be first in line but that seems extremely unlikely.
By "male preference", I assume you are implying the practice in the Spanish and Monegasque monarchies, where sons are preferred over daughters but daughters are preferred over brothers and nephews? As you said, it was the former Luxembourgish practice (semi-Salic) which preferred all (male-line) males over all females.

In principle, Japan could implement gender-equal succession (as proposed by the Koizumi administration in 2005) but only for future generations, much like Belgium, Norway, Luxembourg, and Britain.



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Originally Posted by Eskimo View Post
At this point a change would be impossible without declaring Princess Aiko the heir. Anything else would be denying her the throne in favor of a different woman and would be a PR nightmare
Which woman would you have in mind? The heir to the throne of Aiko's generation, her cousin Hisahito, is a boy, and even in a scenario where the next prime minister modifies the succession law to absolute primogeniture, I am sure he would remain the heir of his generation given that he is already a teenager (just as Norway and Belgium allowed the male heirs to keep their positions when they adopted absolute primogeniture).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Duc_et_Pair View Post
In normal situation by lack of males it would be: the closest related to the Emperor, then the closest related to the Emperor's sibling, then the closest related to the previous Emperor.

Under Emperor Naruhito:
1. Princess Aiko of Naruhito
2. Princess Mako of Akishino
3. Princess Kako of Akishino

Under Emperor Akishino:
1. Princess Mako of Akishino
2. Princess Kako of Akishino
3. Princess Aiko of Naruhito

Of course any child born by these princesses will affect the line: a daughter by Aiko will come before her cousin Mako as long as she is the heiress.
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Originally Posted by Duc_et_Pair View Post
It would be Mako's son indeed.
When William passes away, George is Heir to Charles and not Charles' younger son Harry, despite Harry being closest relative to Charles. Same principle.
But what the British Parliament has historically preferred is not necessarily what the Japanese Parliament would prefer.

A minor clarification: Princess Aiko's "surname" is Toshi, not Naruhito (which is her father's given name), and Crown Prince Akishino's given name is Fumihito.
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  #1233  
Old 04-27-2020, 07:04 PM
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What bothers the Conservatives is not to have a reigning empress but to have these children succeed her because it means a change of dynasty if this empress marries a commoner.
I read an article not long ago that several members of the LDP (Liberal Democratic Party in power of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe) were planning to draft a bill to allow unmarried men from former imperial branches (Ōke) to return to imperial status by adoption or marriage. And I even read in this article that there would be 7 single men in these former imperial branches: 5 teenagers and 2 in their early twenties. So yes, these collateral branches do have male heirs, and very young.
Princesses Akiko (38), Yoko (36) and Tsuguko (34) are far too old to marry such young cousins, the age gap is far too big.
Princess Mako (28) is already engaged in a relationship with Kei Komuro but since the controversy over the financial problems faced by the Komuro family that led to the postponement of their marriage in 2020, we do not know whether this marriage will take place or not. Princess Mako is approaching her 30s, so again, the age gap is significant.
Princess Kako (25 years old) is still well into her twenties, it remains possible but well, I doubt it will be done.
Princess Aiko, 18 years old, is the only one who has an appropriate age to marry one of her cousins.
If Aiko marries one of her cousins from the collateral branches, she can rule because her husband is a member of the imperial family, he has just been reinstated so there will be no dynasty change, it is not a commoner and then Aiko is the only child of the Emperor and it is better to follow the direct line of succession (unlike Hisahito). And their children can succeed their mother because their father (Aiko’s cousin). But this does not guarantee stability, because if the couple does not have children or boys afterwards: still a dead end. And if they only have daughters, they will have to marry a cousin to succeed their mother?
So it is not a lasting solution but this marriage can be a good compromise: the conservatives will agree because there will be no dynasty change on the throne and the progressives who support an egalitarian succession will also be. I think that can be a good start towards the total change of succession rules, Japan is not ready for that yet. And then Shinzo Abe will not be Prime Minister forever, he will leave power in September 2021 and the ceremony of proclamation of the crown prince Akishino is postponed, maybe even that it will be until then?
Personally, I hope that the Emperor himself will leave his right of reservation on the question, the only way to get public opinion to react and to push the Prime Minister to change the rules. I do not know the opinion of the Emperor, but we are still talking about his family and his dynasty, and to continue with the current rules will only participate in the extinction of the imperial family. (sorry for my bad english)

Article (in japanese) : https://www.sankei.com/life/news/191...280004-n1.html
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  #1234  
Old 04-28-2020, 03:56 PM
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I read an article not long ago that several members of the LDP (Liberal Democratic Party in power of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe) were planning to draft a bill to allow unmarried men from former imperial branches (Ōke) to return to imperial status by adoption or marriage. And I even read in this article that there would be 7 single men in these former imperial branches: 5 teenagers and 2 in their early twenties. So yes, these collateral branches do have male heirs, and very young.

A simple solution, that would multiply the possible heirs... - and by that make everything even more complicated. It is not easy to form an opinion here. But very interesting! Thanks!
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  #1235  
Old 04-28-2020, 04:36 PM
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Congratulations on your first post, Kuro.

And a very informative post at that.

I'd like to ask you:
Would the conservatives applaud a marriage between Princess Aiko and one of these seven young men, brought in from the cold so to speak?
And if there was such a marriage, would the conservatives accept Princess Aiko as the reigning empress, with her husband (who is in the bloodline) as consort?
Or would they insist on a male emperor, even though the bloodline is intact from both sides? After all Princess Aiko has been born into the "imperial world" and doesn't need as much readjusting as her husband.

Another question for all in the know: Does the Imperial family have any association with these seven young men?
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  #1236  
Old 04-28-2020, 05:16 PM
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Are you thinking about the Morihiro Higashikuni-family? Given that he was born as a prince and married the emperor's aunt; their descendants seem to be the most likely family to adopt back into the imperial system.

For those not knowing who I am talking about:
Emperor Hirohito's eldest sister Shigeko, Princess Teru married prince Morihiro Higashikuni (eldest son of prince Naruhiko Higashikuni and princess Toshiko (9th daughter of emperor Meiji who granted prince Naruhiko his own branch); 7th son of prince Kuni Asahiko; son of prince Fushimi Kuniie; head of the 'principal branch' of the family to provide a heir to the throne in case the line dies out)

Shigeko, princess Teru (1925-1961) married 1943 her cousin prince Morihiro Higashikuni (1917-1969); they had 5 children:
* Prince Nobuhiko Higashikuni (1945 – 2019); married 1973 Ms Yoshiko Shimada - one son:
** Yukihiko Higashikuni (b. 1974)
* Princess Fumiko Higashikuni (1946); married Mr. Kazutoshi Omura; and Mr. Takagi Daikichi.
* Hidehiko Higashikuni (1949)
* Naohiko Higashikuni (1953); married to Ms. Kazuko Sato; two sons:
** Teruhiko Higashikuni
** Mutsuhiko Higashikuni

* Yūko Higashikuni (1954) married Mr. Azuma Naooki.


After the death of his first wife, (former prince) Morihiro Higashikuni married 1964 Ms Yoshiko Terao; two children:
Atsuhiko Higashikuni (1966)
Morihiko Higashikuni (1967)

So, if the ones highlighted in 'Bold' have sons, they seem to be the most likely options for the 'solution' that was proposed above - or any attempt to reinstate former branches. Although it would surely complicate things as how would it work to both have Hisahito as well as Aiko 'fighting' for the same throne. And probably the current emperor and empress wish a more private life for their daughter...
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  #1237  
Old 04-28-2020, 06:34 PM
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Thank you, Muhler!

Restoring the old Ōke branches is a very unpopular proposition (we saw it very well in the Kyodo poll of a few days ago) so if it is Aiko’s cousin who finally rises to the throne in place of Aiko following their marriage (only to preserve the patrilineal succession) it will be very difficult to obtain public support. It is better that this cousin remain only an emperor consort if the Conservatives do not want to see the imperial family lose credibility with the public. The Conservatives know that very well, and I think they will accept it. What matters to them is the dynasty at close range, and as long as it remains unchanged, it is the main one. And then this proposal was proposed by the LPD, which is a very conservative party.
I also know that there would be only three branches with more than 2 generations of male heirs, I do not find the source but it is the branches Higashikuni, Kaya and Takeda so logically, these 7 male heirs would come from these 3 branches.

Extinct : Nashimoto, Yamashina, Kitashirakawa, Higashifushimi, Kan'in
At risk : Fushimi, Kuni, Asaka (either no son or grandsons)
Safe (2+ generations of male descendants) : Kaya, Higashikuni, and Takeda

Fushimi : current head Hiroaki (87) has 3 daughters.
Kuni : current head Kuniaki (90) has 2 sons but no grandsons yet.
Unknown if Kuniaki's brothers Asatake & Asahiro have son or grandson Asaka : heir (born 1972) is single.

I also found this photo of any imperial family taken in the 1995 years where the old branches that lost their imperial status in 1947 are also present: http://livedoor.blogimg.jp/remmikki/...8/a8233376.jpg

Most of the people in the picture must be dead by now. Many still hold high positions in the Shinto religion that only members of the imperial family can hold. Look at the case of Naruhito’s sister, Sayako, who lost her imperial status in 2005 and has since become high priestess of the shrine of Ise by succeeding her aunts Atsuko and Kazuko, daughters of Hirohito, and there must be many other functions that are unknown.
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  #1238  
Old 04-29-2020, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Kuro View Post
What bothers the Conservatives is not to have a reigning empress but to have these children succeed her because it means a change of dynasty if this empress marries a commoner.
I read an article not long ago that several members of the LDP (Liberal Democratic Party in power of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe) were planning to draft a bill to allow unmarried men from former imperial branches (Ōke) to return to imperial status by adoption or marriage. And I even read in this article that there would be 7 single men in these former imperial branches: 5 teenagers and 2 in their early twenties. So yes, these collateral branches do have male heirs, and very young.
Princesses Akiko (38), Yoko (36) and Tsuguko (34) are far too old to marry such young cousins, the age gap is far too big.
Princess Mako (28) is already engaged in a relationship with Kei Komuro but since the controversy over the financial problems faced by the Komuro family that led to the postponement of their marriage in 2020, we do not know whether this marriage will take place or not. Princess Mako is approaching her 30s, so again, the age gap is significant.
Princess Kako (25 years old) is still well into her twenties, it remains possible but well, I doubt it will be done.
Princess Aiko, 18 years old, is the only one who has an appropriate age to marry one of her cousins.
If Aiko marries one of her cousins from the collateral branches, she can rule because her husband is a member of the imperial family, he has just been reinstated so there will be no dynasty change, it is not a commoner and then Aiko is the only child of the Emperor and it is better to follow the direct line of succession (unlike Hisahito). And their children can succeed their mother because their father (Aiko’s cousin). But this does not guarantee stability, because if the couple does not have children or boys afterwards: still a dead end. And if they only have daughters, they will have to marry a cousin to succeed their mother?
So it is not a lasting solution but this marriage can be a good compromise: the conservatives will agree because there will be no dynasty change on the throne and the progressives who support an egalitarian succession will also be. I think that can be a good start towards the total change of succession rules, Japan is not ready for that yet. And then Shinzo Abe will not be Prime Minister forever, he will leave power in September 2021 and the ceremony of proclamation of the crown prince Akishino is postponed, maybe even that it will be until then?
Personally, I hope that the Emperor himself will leave his right of reservation on the question, the only way to get public opinion to react and to push the Prime Minister to change the rules. I do not know the opinion of the Emperor, but we are still talking about his family and his dynasty, and to continue with the current rules will only participate in the extinction of the imperial family. (sorry for my bad english)

Article (in japanese) : https://www.sankei.com/life/news/191...280004-n1.html
Welcome, and thank you for the thoughtful first post, Kuro! Your English is quite good.

I am not sure I would want the Emperor to speak more publicly in pressuring for reforms to the Imperial House Law. Personally, I join in the feeling that as the head of the dynasty, he ought to at least be consulted on issues impacting on the monarchy. But ultimately legislation is the prerogative of the democratically elected Parliament, and these are divisive issues, and a frank intervention by the Emperor would be seen as inappropriately political. I think the family's current method of having Crown Prince Akishino vaguely mention the issue in his regularly scheduled press conferences is a suitable compromise.


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Originally Posted by Tilia C. View Post
But a line of succession with only one person in the next generation (as P. Akishino is the same generation as the emperor) is anything but safe. You can't be 100% sure that Hisahito will have sons, maybe he won't have children at all. And in that case it might be a good idea to have a safety line installed as a back-up. And that probably should be decided before Mako and Kako get married. I get the impression that P. Akishino likes the idea of his daughters keeping Imperial status after marriage. Not only would that be a safety line for the list of succession, but it would also ensure that young Hisahito will have the full support of his sisters as full working members of the Imperial Family.
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The main reason to think this through right now, would be to keep the former emperor's granddaughters as imperial princesses after marriage as it would be a little weird to first kick them out of the family when their is a chance they -or their children- might be needed in the future...
I completely agree (even though the government does not). In addition to allowing princesses to keep their membership, amending the succession laws would probably be helpful to Hisahito as he takes on his eventual duty to find a suitable wife.

As things stand, any potential wife will comprehend that if she and Hisahito do not bear a son, it will cause a national political crisis - and she will probably be blamed for it. This will surely not help Hisahito persuade a woman to marry him ...
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  #1239  
Old 08-26-2020, 12:00 AM
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Defense minister backs maternal line sons to become emperor : The Asahi Shimbun
Quote:
Defense Minister Taro Kono came out in strong support of allowing male offspring of the maternal imperial line to ascend the Chrysanthemum Throne to ensure stable succession.

Appearing on an internet news program on Aug. 23, Kono sharply differentiated himself from the stance of the Abe administration, which remains hesitant about having an emperor from the maternal line.

[...]

He explained that a paternal line of emperors has continued for more than 1,000 years and said he had no qualms about continuing the practice if a male successor was available.

But he also cited the cases of Empress Masako and Crown Princess Kiko and expressed doubts about whether women in the future would want to marry into the imperial household.

[...]

He also came out in favor of allowing female members of the imperial household to retain their imperial status even after marriage and set up their own imperial family line. [...]

With that as a precondition, Kono speculated about a future when there were no sons from the paternal line.

“One possibility would be having offspring of female imperial household members, beginning with Princess Aiko, to become emperor,” Kono said.

Kono has pointed out in the past the importance of ensuring the imperial line is maintained and not get caught up over whether a son was from the paternal or maternal line. In a blog post in October 2016, he called for reviewing the Imperial House Law to allow women and sons from the maternal line to become emperor.

Under his proposal of 2016, the rules of imperial succession would be changed to allow all children of the emperor, regardless of gender, to be eligible for succession depending on their order of birth.

[...]
Japan defense minister suggests considering 'matrilineal emperors' for stable succession - The Mainichi
Quote:
... "Are there really any women who would choose to join the (next generation) Imperial Family when they see Empress Masako and Crown Princess Kiko (wife of Crown Prince Akishino)? There will be tremendous pressure to give birth to a boy..."
Male-line imperial succession 'extremely risky': Japan defense chief | The Japan Times

Kono Rapped for Comments Tolerating Maternal-Line Emperors - JIJI PRESS
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Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono, who is seen as a possible candidate to succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is drawing flak from conservative lawmakers in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party for suggesting that members of the Imperial Family's maternal lineage should be allowed to become Emperor. [...]
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