"Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne" by Ben Hills (2006)

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Jul 15, 2005
United States
I saw on another board about a new book that is being published by an author named Ben Hills. It is being published by Random House in AUS. and by Penguin in the US in January.

I went to Amazon.com and you can preorder it if you like. The synopsis sounded interesting.

Linda 85:flowers:
....Ben Hills is an investigative journalist who became fascinated with Japan's princess. He's married to a Japanese woman, himself and has lived and worked in Japan. His biography of the princess is called Princess Masako, Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne..... Princess Masako bucked this tradition by having a very successful career before she met the prince. "It was widely expected that she would become the first woman to ever head a government department in Japan," Ben explains. "She was the son her father never had... He desperately wanted her to achieve some of the things a son would have done... In a lot of ways she was brought up as a boy instead of a girl."........
Depressed Japanese princess a prisoner of palace, says book
Japanese Crown Princess Masako. For the past three years the health problems of Princess Masako, wife of Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito, have kept her out of the public eye while making her a subject of fascination. In an unauthorised biography on the woman sometimes compared to Britain's Princess Diana, Australian investigative journalist Ben Hills says Masako is receiving the best of medical care -- but predicts she will continue to suffer..........
It was a fairly depressing read - he seems very sure that the only thing that'll help her get better is a major rethink of her role, and he seems very sure that won't happen.
There is a review of the book located here. And if you live in the US & want to buy it from Barnes & Noble you can. Its $20.76- $18.68 if you are a member. I'm not sure how much it would cost to buy from Amazon.
While everyone is entitled to his/her opinion I'm not sure I would agree with the Philaldelphia reporter's remark that Masako had the "bad luck" to be noticed by Naruhito at their first meeting. Whatever else has happened in her life I think she will always be the love of his life and she is the mother of a beautiful little girl, so I can't call that "bad" luck. I am soooooooo wanting to read this book!:)
It's $17.13 at amazon.com today, and you can get it a bit cheaper from their Marketplace sellers. I haven't checked eBay or Half.com, but you can sometimes get things cheaper there than Amazon (but sometimes not, at least from reputable sellers - it just depends).
it is so sad. i read the review and was especially disgusted to hear that if masako were to get a devorce she would have to give up full custody of aiko to the imperial family.
I think the main concern is how the Emperor and Empress are portrayed and made to look as if they are not really all that involved in the affairs of their country.
What a pity that, rather than point out the charitable work the Emperor and Empress do, they didn't put up one word about Princess Masako or her awful treatment. I feel so sorry for this young woman! :sad:
Yes, it *does* seem that all the concern is toward the Emperor and Empress, and not so much to Masako. I'm not disrespecting the Imperial couple but the book is a biography of Masako, and though I haven't had a chance yet to read it it sounds as if the writer did a lot of research. I really feel for Masako.:sad:
I bought the book in early December of last year and to be honest, I thought it was a well documented look at the life of Masako thus far.

I agree with Hills and don't believe he has anything to apologise for. His humour in the book is actually quite witty and he has clearly done his research to the best he can, or was permitted.
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The subject matter of that letter speaks volumes about the way the IHA feel about the members of the imperial family. I wonder if the author of the letter knows how comprehensively he managed to inadvertently support everything the book was complaining about.
Does anyone know if this book is banned/not allowed in Japan?
Given the official Royal Statement, I don't think its approved but does the Royal Family have the legal status to have it actually banned?
Well, someone said boo and thus it was undone.

It reads as if they're nickpicking over original errors (which have since been corrected in new printings) and demanding no printing because the author won't apologise for them.

Ahhh, royal pride.
It's sad this book publishing was cancelled in Japan. Even if book has some errors, I think people in Japan might be interested in it.
It will probably becoming one of the hot underground reads over there.

I shouldn't be surprised at it getting an eventual printing in some form.
If Japanese people who can read English are interested in the book, I assume they'll be able to order it from Amazon in the USA or the UK.

I wonder how the Queen feels about the power of the imperial family and their top advisers to put the brakes on publication of something they don't happen to approve of. Must be quite jealous, considering what's been going on in the British press for the last couple of decades.
I have to wonder how Princess Masako feels about this book and whether it will make things worse.
After many people read this book, without a doubt Masako could actually gain some leverage. Never underestimate the power of the people; I imagine that the Imperial Family would come under more scrutiny and by default, the IHA. It might actually cause the public to challenge the IHA and demand more tranparency in the way that the Royal Family conducts its business and lives its life. Even if the Japanese don't care, (which I believe they do) there is a world out there that will want to know why such outrages are allowed to occur.
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