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

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Sad thing is, the lesson will not be learned.

Any new book that is unauthorized by the Japanese Royal Family will always have an attempt to crush it---which will automatically result in its popularity.

I just got the book and I can't wait to start it!
Dear Buggs, and Members,

Do let the rest of us know how the thing is. I think that letter from the Grand Chamberlain or what ever-does sound like Gilbert and Sullivan, now doesn't it??-was hilarious. "What do you mean that his Imperial Majesty has never visited a leper colony???" How dare you. He has visited NINE and here are the dates. And of course he is significant. Here is what he has done."

In the meantime the brutality and sheer stupidity of the arrogant recta running the Imperial Household is of course hidden behind these attempts to "protect" the Emperor, never mind the poor princess or her husband in his humiliated helplessnes. What has been done to the poor princess and quite probably prevented a situation where she would bear more children is not even mentioned. What they are really trying to protect is the IHA or as we say in vulgar US OF A, CYA. Cheers.
I sometimes wonder if this could be considered a Human Rights violation.
Author cashes in on Japanese royalty from Guardian Unlimited: News blog
*quote from link
*His unforgiving treatment of the royal household and the ensuing furore have made Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne the best-selling foreign-language book on Amazon Japan.
Hills said the imperial household agency's complaints had backfired by giving his book "a billion dollars worth of free publicity".
i am so loving this:ROFLMAO:
i made our local news in the middle of nowhere TX,its their worst nightmare the whole world knowing how evil the IHA is:lol: hope masako getting a good laugh out of their discomfort and the distain the world has of them because they are bullies and have tried to break a smart young womans spirit and personality. wish they all would commit hari kari (spelling) for bring dishonor to the throne. that would be fun to watch on utube.
Lakshmi said:
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's not surprising, it's like what they did to their history books, they carefully edited the negative participation they had during the World War II..
It is said that history is written by the winners.

But history never met an unofficial biographer!
I haven't read the book but would you say that the author chose a deliberately provocative title?

Prisoner - that word has a heavily charged meaning which I'm sure was intended.
I bought the book today and started reading it. Its an interesting book, so far. I'm only into their childhoods right now. One thing that is kind of a turn off is that they keep comparing Masako & Naruhito with Diana & Charles. That was in the 1st chapter. Since then they haven't said anything (but as I said I'm still on their childhood).
Its an easy read
I just finished it! A great read! I had forgotten that she is a Harvard graduate. What a missed oportunity for the RF not to mention Japan. With her background in diplomacy she could have been a real asset. The author claims that M was under constant pressure to go do more IVF. WHat I dont understand is that given the fact that the medical technology exists to sex the embryos before implantation and that they were already doing IVF, why did they not implant a male? Although I think it's a huge relief for her now that the sister in law as produced a boy. I think this is one of the reasons she has started to re emerge. Now that the daughter is not the heir and wont be forever trapped with the IHA. I really hope that when N is emperor that he will make some changes. One can hope?
Me too! I have to admit, there are some pretty weird stuff in the book, but its a good read! Some of the points that he makes about Princess Masako, Prince Naruhito, the rest of Imperial family and even the IHA, are pretty good points, to say the least.
oh dear does that mean the japanese translation will be totally different than the western version? since ben hills book tells all the secrets the IHA has been trying to hide all these years?
The Japanese copyright laws must be significantly different from those in the West if they can get away with making substantive changes without the author's permission.
This cannot be a good thing if changes are made, but at least they're trying to print the book in Japan.
The Japanese copyright laws must be significantly different from those in the West if they can get away with making substantive changes without the author's permission.

The English language version that was published by the author Ben Hills contained a number of errors. ( A number of quite obvious ones that even I as an Australian with a modicum of knowledge about Japanese royals could spot. A native Japanese with a lot of knowledge would have found many more) With the original Japanese publisher that was going to publish the book ( Kodansha) Ben Hills agreed to the correction of the mistakes, this then is where the Japanese version will be different from what was published in English.

Mistakes in the book include:

Ben Hills wrote that Masako was 7 months pregnant when she lost her first baby in Jan 2000, infact she was only a few weeks pregnant and the official pregnancy announcement hadn't even gone out, so she hadn't reached the 12 weeks stage.

He wrote that Akihito and Michiko were forced to wait more than 2 years by the IHA to marry as Michiko was a commoner. Infact they had known each other less than 2 years from when they met ( Aug 1957) to when they married ( April 1959) They met at a tennis party ( one of many social events organised by the IHA courtiers for Akihito to meet suitable young women. Being a commoner wasn't a problem as the IHA had already approved of her, if they hadn't she never would have been invited.

He incorrectly identified various Imperial family members and their relationship to Naruhito. Incorrectly made the statement that Prince Takamado ( who was a cousin of the Emperor's and supportive of Masako) that this was because he was the first Imperial Family member to be educated in the west, infact both his older brothers had studied in respectively the UK and Australia. Emperor Hirohito's brother Prince Chichibu studied at Oxford in the 1920's.

One error that I can't claim to have picked out, but rather the one the IHA press office issued a statement over was Ben Hills assertion that the Imperial Family members' activities were bland and they never would be seen in a controversial area. He gave the example of Diana, Princess of Wales being involved in the Leprosy Mission, and said that the Japanese royals wouldn't be involved in such a controversial patronage. The IHA press office pointed out rather strongly ( the letter is on the official site) that the Emperor and Empress had visited a number of Leprosy communities ( including one in Australia during an official visit there. One in the eye for Ben Hills' research skills!)

So as much as it is tantalising to see a sinister reason for the Japanese version to be different, it had to be to correct the mistakes and therefore there is a need to rewrite what was written in the English version.

As I wrote before, Ben Hills approved the correction of his mistakes with the first Japanese publisher, he would have the same agreement with this other publisher.
Thank you for pointing this, Charlotte1! It's pretty common that a history book has some little mistakes (there are so many things to chek out! :rolleyes:), and you'll notice that every different edition of a book has some little changes in it. Of course, the author must agree to these changes, but as you wrote above, Ben Hills did.

Your insight was priceless. Thank you again.

As long as the author has approved the changes, that's fine. It isn't up to publishers to correct even obvious mistakes without the author's approval.
Of course, there is copyright laws and all this, who nowadays is more important than saying the truth or not..But what should you think if you read a book where it is told that French Revolution began in 1668?

And if you didn't know it, even in the States an author is not able to make changes in his books if the publishing house does not allow him/her to do so . An author who is my personal friend (if you wants, I'll PM you to say who he is) wanted to add some more pages to his book to update it abd the publishing house only allowed him to add A SINGLE PAGE after ten years of asking. Now, he thinks is more easy to wrote a new book in the matter -and possibily he will do it- than to update the old one. The publishing house has more rights to his book than himself, who is the author...:bang::stuart:

It often depends on the contract between the author and the publisher and who holds copyright.

However, if a publisher made substantive changes to a book without the author's permission, the author would have a very good basis for a lawsuit.
The Sydney Morning Herald Blogs: Stay in Touch

the sydney morning herald is reporting the publisher of hills book about masako is getting pressure from rightwing nationalist in japan. hope he stands firm and publishes anyway, the book is selling well all over the world and many in japan are buying it over the internet (don't you know the IHA is twitching not being in control)
*quote from article
*Hills was delighted last month when a new publisher, Akira Kitagawa, picked up the contract, and declared that he would not be influenced by any official pressures
*Kitagawa sent this email to Hills: "Just now, two black cars with ultra-nationalistic slogans on them are parking besides the building where my company address is. They are shouting hysterically 'Stop the publication of Princess Masako' with huge loud speakers. Policemen are just watching them and let them do as much

Princess Masako, Japanese edition published!

Thank you for pointing this, Charlotte1! It's pretty common that a history book has some little mistakes (there are so many things to chek out! :rolleyes:

Perhaps, we may congratulate it, even if "some little mistakes" in it. Because it seemed almostly impossible that the Japanese edition could publish in Japan because of crazy censorship and propaganda against Ben Hills, by IHA. ;)

mysunshine, Tokyo
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Thank you for pointing this, Charlotte1! It's pretty common that a history book has some little mistakes (there are so many things to chek out! :rolleyes:

Perhaps, we may congratulate it, even if "some little mistakes" in it. Because it seemed almostly impossible that the Japanese edition could publish in Japan because of crazy censorship and propaganda against Ben Hills, by IHA. ;)

mysunshine, Tokyo

What censorship? The English language edition of Ben Hills book went on sale in Japan when it went on sale elsewhere in the world. Anyone who wanted to read the book in English could. The Japanese version is being released, they weren't 'some little mistakes' in the book, there were quite major ones, like stating that Masako lost her first baby at when she was 7 months pregnant. ( She was only a few weeks pregnant) I'm not Japanese and I could find mulitple mistakes in the book, a Japanese person would more than likely find the ones I did and more, the Japanese editon needed to be revised and corrected. Ben Hills publicly stated that he knew there were mistakes and had agreed to the corrections when the first Japanese publisher was going to publish the book. He would have done the same with the current publisher, he has not complained about the corrections in the Japanese version.

The IHA haven't launched a propaganda campaign, there's one letter on their site, demanding an apology from Ben Hills for the incorrect things he wrote. ( Ben Hills public reply "no way") There was no demand for the book to be withdrawn.
Not so easy to understand, perhaps....

What censorship? ....
The IHA haven't launched a propaganda campaign, ....There was no demand for the book to be withdrawn.

Well, very honestly say, I am not so happy enough to mention the above censorship and propaganda campaign through IHA. Because the situation of your question is pretty much sensitive and critical, as a oriental matter.

Then I would make clear the two things:

1, Kodansha, one of the biggest publisher, had already given up their Japanese edition of "Princess Masako," despite huge amount of preparation, great outlay and expects.
2, Very bravely however, Daisan-shokan has recently published the Princess Masako and the Details of their censorship against Princess Masako, in Japanese.:cool:
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If the book couldn't get simple things that could be easily researched right: such as when the Princess miscarried, than I wouldn't trust it with the more secret things. It's probably trash.
Hum...I was thinking about purchasing this book (not in Japanese, since I can't read Japanese! :D ), but after having readed all the comments about it, I suppose I wouldn't buy it and save my money for better publications.

"Kurofune Revolution," the Book of Ben Hills

Dear bekalc: It is not miscarried one.
Dear Vanesa: Please try to read it!

Personally I think that "Princess Masako, prisoner of the chrysanthemum throne" of Ben Hills is just and right even with their "major mistakes; Charlotte1."

I have had some kind of respect feeling for this writing from foreign country, which has been a taboo or hesitation in the most feudalistic society in Japan.
The contents are really encouraging CP Naruhito, CP Masako and pro-Togu collegues, because almost of medias are belong to IHA and their closed press-club, which have been rather suppresive or bureaucratic.

In anyway, CP Naruhito, CP Masako and Princess Aiko are our morning star in our depressed society, such as "Working poor" in 20s generation.:flowers:
Despite having a few "major mistakes", the book does make quite a few valid points.
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