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Old 07-01-2019, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Prisma View Post
Yomiuri reports Empress Masako attended 28 days of events between May and June, up from 11 days of events the same period last year. The IHA is prioritizing Empress Masako's attendance at official duties. The agency decided she will refrain from activities such as court rituals as before.

Sankei Imperial Weekly #595 reports Emperor Naruhito and other Imperial family attended a memorial ceremony on the anniversary of Empress Kojun's death on June 16th at the Imperial Palace, whereas Empress Masako worshipped at Akasaka Imperial Palace.
Now that is fascinating. I wonder what is so stressful about the court rituals that the IHA has decided, for the time being anyway, to shield her from those?

The cynical side of me wonders if the duties that are not court rituals are more visible to the public, and if they are being prioritized because it's more embarrassing to have the Empress miss a meeting with a foreign head of state than it is to have her sit out a ritual honoring Empress Kojun?
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Old 10-09-2019, 03:45 AM
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Do we have any more commentary on the progress of the Empress? From afar, she appears to be coping remarkably well.
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Old 10-12-2019, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by muriel View Post
Do we have any more commentary on the progress of the Empress? From afar, she appears to be coping remarkably well.
The weekly magazines have been complimentary and optimistic. Masako has attended all scheduled events since May and September had 3 regional visits.

There are concerns how she'll cope with the enthronement schedule, especially the 2 morning court rituals. Although she attended the ritual at the Imperial Palace Sanctuaries on May 8th, Masako mainly worships at her residence for the regular court rituals. I would think her medical team already has a strategy. Maybe she's been practicing at home.

The visits to Ise Grand Shrine in Mie Prefecture and mausoleums (Nara, Kyoto, Tokyo) are somewhat close together in late November - early December. Plus, there's birthday activities for Crown Prince Akishino, Princess Aiko, and Empress Masako.

October 22: busy 18-hour day with 2 court rituals, 2 junihitoe, enthronement, parade, court banquet
October 23: tea for foreign royalty
October 25, 29, 31: court banquets

November 12: ritual to purify Emperor, Empress & Imperial family before Daijosai
November 14-15: Daijosai ceremony
November 16, 18: court banquets for Daijosai

November 22-23: Ise Grand Shrine in Mie Prefecture*
November 27-28: Visit mausoleums of Emperors Jimmu, Komei and Meiji in Nara and Kyoto. Tea at Kyoto Imperial Palace for Kinki region representatives
November 30: Crown Prince Akishino's birthday
December 1: Princess Aiko's birthday
December 3: Visit mausoleums of Emperors Showa and Taisho in Tokyo
December 9: Empress Masako's birthday

Empress Michiko had a full day of birthday greetings but I think Masako's birthday activities will be reduced.

* Sankei reports the Mie visit as 2-days (Nov 22-23) whereas Jisin reports the visit as 3-days (Nov 21-23) which would be Masako's first 3-day regional visit in 10 years.

I'm leaning towards Sankei's 2-day Mie visit. Burdening Masako with a 3-day visit in the midst of everything seems counterproductive.
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Old 12-18-2019, 06:48 PM
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The Empress's Tears | (by Fuji TV Head News Analyst Hirai Fumio, translated by
Like many people around Japan, I tuned in on November 10 to view the imperial procession celebrating Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement. As I watched the customized convertible carrying the royal couple wind its way through Tokyo, I was surprised to spot Empress Masako with a tear in her eye. This was not the first time—she had cried at an event the previous day as well. It is very unusual to see a member of the imperial family become emotional, and I wondered what it was that had moved Masako to tears.


While the last 25 years have not been plain sailing for the royal couple, Naruhito has indeed stayed at Masako’s side and protected her. Masako may have shed tears at the ceremony out of gratitude to her husband. With over 120,000 well-wishers attending the parade, her tears might also have been in recognition that with the turmoil of the past finished, the Japanese people have embraced her.


Another possibility is that the empress’s tears were simply a sign of her relief at all the official events being over. The long schedule of ceremonies gave us all a glimpse of just how hard a job the imperial couple has.

Naruhito is 59 and Masako 55. While I am only a few months older than the emperor, I recently retired from my job when I turned 60. [...]
Empress Masako Encouraged by Public Support: Expectations Should Remain in Check | (Journalist Saitō Katsuhisa reported on Emperor Showa 1986-1989 and beginning of Heisei era)

During the 30 minutes of the procession there was one important moment for observers of the empress’s health. [...] When it passed under the expressway, out of sights of spectators, Empress Masako reached to brush her tears away again. The moment happened shortly after this around halfway through the parade.

Empress Masako suddenly leaned backward to the right. She was in this position briefly before returning to smiling and waving. The car soon crossed a bridge and entered the long straight of Aoyama-dōri. I asked for an opinion of the footage from a medical specialist, who said, “On the Akasaka-mitsuke Bridge, there were no spectators, so it seems the empress abruptly felt a lifting in tension. Having made a public appearance the previous evening, perhaps she dropped off for a moment from fatigue. As a doctor, I focused on how she immediately started waving afterward. She would not act so quickly without a considerable sense of mission. Having returned to her duties, she appears to have recovered greatly.”

Another specialist commented, “As Empress Masako’s body swayed, Emperor Naruhito seemed to notice and speak to her kindly. She apparently reacted to this and was able to recover herself. [...] I think his support has been integral to her overall recovery and return to duties.”


Yet even if Empress Masako is back in good health, it is best to refrain from asking too much from the imperial couple. At the end of September, they traveled by train to Ibaraki Prefecture, where the National Sports Festival was held. Because the curtains were lowered in part of the carriage, some people expressed their discontent online that the emperor and empress were out of view.

[...] The first imperial train journey of Reiwa lasted some 90 minutes, though, and it is unreasonable to expect everything to be done as it was in the Heisei era [...] Apparently it was still too early to say that she had made a complete recovery. [...]
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Old 05-28-2020, 03:22 AM
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Jisin reports Masako still experiences waves in physical condition. Her 2nd sericulture task was originally scheduled on May 18 but she became unwell. The IHA notified the press of the cancellation about 2 hours before her planned departure time. Masako completed the task on May 22.

Jprime speculates on Masako attending a press conference in the fall perhaps after the Crown Prince proclamation or the 1st anniversary of the enthronement or her birthday. An IHA official claims Masako wanted to attend the press conference prior to the (now cancelled) UK state visit this spring.

Bunshun had a brief report on press and Imperial family/IHA interaction over the years.
- When the engagement of Crown Prince Akihito and Michiko Shoda was announced in November 1958, press reported on Michiko's height, weight, bust, waist, and hip measurements.
- 35 years later, the IHA restricted physical measurements to height when the engagement of Crown Prince Naruhito (163 cm) and Masako Owada (164cm) was announced.
- Pregnancy push by magazines eager for Masako's happy news and comparisons to Michiko and Kiko's first babies.
- Media kept asking about baby news at press conferences.
- Pressure from Imperial family and IHA. Expectation (royal diplomacy) vs. reality (securing succession)
- Nobuhei Mori, Mainichi Shimbun's Imperial reporter for years 3-5 of Naruhito and Masako's marriage, was greatly shocked when Togu Palace reported Masako's menstrual cycle. Mori felt uncomfortable learning such information.
- Princess Sayako used humor to deflect or politely answered marriage questions until her late 20s when she began to refrain from answering. The word "marriage" finally disappeared at her 31st birthday press conference.
- Although she answered questions about ideal partner and marriage timing at her 20th birthday press conference in 2014, Princess Kako firmly refused to answer questions about potential partners when she graduated from ICU in 2019.
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Old 12-08-2020, 07:35 PM
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Whatever anyone says, including Masako herself, she looks wonderful since becoming Empress. I sincerely hope she feels that well more of the time.
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Old 08-14-2021, 01:11 AM
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When Empress Masako attended Emperor Meiji's memorial ceremony on July 30, it was the first time she attended this ritual in 19 years since 2002, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

Source: Mainichi Imperial Activities July 24 - August 12

I think it's a good sign Empress Masako continues to improve despite the pandemic and role of Empress on top of her adjustment disorder.
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Old 08-14-2021, 02:18 AM
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indeed, although it's often difficult to judge things from the outside, i too would take this a good sign
Wisdom begins in wonder - Socrates
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Old 08-14-2021, 07:11 AM
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So glad that she seems to be so much better now. Fingers crossed that it stays that way.
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Old 10-26-2022, 12:33 AM
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TBS reported on October 23 that on the day after the visit to the UK was announced, the Imperial Household Agency made the following announcement regarding regional visits by Their Majesties: "From now on, it is okay to assume that the Emperor and Empress will attend."

Before regional visits were announced as "The Emperor will visit alone with the condition that the Empress will also come if her physical condition permits."

A senior IHA official explains this big decision in her 19th year of medical care: "if the schedule is known in advance then the Empress can plan accordingly and ensure she's recovered/rested enough before a trip."

In previous birthday statements, doctors cautioned she may feel fatigued after a big event or series of events but Empress Masako has attended all scheduled events after visiting the UK.

Right now, there are 3 things the IHA officials are saying about the Empress:
1. "since she became the Empress, her resolve is completely different from before"
2. "a lot of hard work is being done without anyone knowing"
3. "we only meet [visit?] in good times [conditions]"


This is great news. Her health has stabilized enough to safely assume Masako will attend multi-day regional visits.

I have not found earlier reports of this announcement. Plans to visit the UK for the QEII's funeral were already reported September 9 or 10 although official Cabinet decision happened later.

I did notice the slight change in communication "Emperor and Empress will visit..." with the caveat "Empress depends on physical condition" instead of leading with "Emperor will visit ..." Maybe the media didn't specifically report on the change in case it caused more fuss or raised expectations.
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Old 01-03-2023, 11:10 PM
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TBS wonders if a press conference might be possible for Empress Masako this year.

- "Press conferences are the highest hurdle for the Empress," said an IHA official
- Masako had 6 solo press conferences, all related to her birthday, before entering long term medical care
- Press conferences by Their Majesties and members of the Imperial Family are held at the request of the Imperial Household Press Association
- Until now, press conferences by Their Majesties and members of the Imperial Family have been held on birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and before official overseas visits.
- 2023 presents 2-3 opportunities to meet the press directly: 30th wedding anniversary (June 9), Masako’s 60th birthday (December 9) and possible “official overseas visit”
- So far, Naruhito and Masako have submitted written responses for their 10th, 20th, and 25th wedding anniversaries
- a joint wedding anniversary press conference could be less of a burden on Masako than a solo birthday press conference
- a senior IHA official reports the Emperor and Empress have received some 100 invitations to visit countries. King Charles III’s coronation or an Asian country are possibilities.

Source: TBS

TBS gallery of Masako's solo press conferences: 1996-2000, 2002
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Old 01-04-2023, 12:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Prisma View Post
- a senior IHA official reports the Emperor and Empress have received some 100 invitations to visit countries. King Charles III’s coronation or an Asian country are possibilities.
I could see a state visit from/to UK but the emperor and empress to Charles' coronation doesn't seem make sense to me.
Bad money drives out good.
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adjustment disorder, crown princess masako, health problems, masako, princess masako

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