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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
*woo-hoo* Who needs men now??? XD 
25th-Nov-2005 09:31 am
No big surprise, though. I'm sure this decision is a great weight off the public's shoulders.

Female monarchs get green light
Move clears way for Aiko to become reigning empress

The Japan Times
November 25, 2005

A government panel on Imperial succession concluded Thursday that females and their descendants should be allowed to ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne.

The move paves the way for 3-year-old Princess Aiko, the only child of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, to become Japan's first female monarch since the 18th century.

The panel's final report on the matter, submitted to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, said the Emperor's firstborn child, regardless of gender, should be next in line to the throne.

"To reach a conclusion here has the aspect of opening a new page in our nation's history, and I feel a heavy responsibility," Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, head of the panel, told a news conference.

The proposal is designed to forestall an expected succession crisis in the world's oldest hereditary monarchy.

"We have considered (the issue) from the recognition that it is most important that the Emperor system, which has continued from ancient times in hereditary succession, be stably maintained in the future and that is many people's hope," the report says.

Accordingly, the government plans to submit a bill to revise the current Imperial House Law to the Diet next spring, a government official said.

The law, enacted in 1947, allows only male heirs who have emperors on their father's side to reign.

The 10-member panel started debating the issue in January; no male heir has been born to the royal family since 1965 and it is thought that Crown Princess Masako, a 41-year-old former diplomat, is suffering from stress due to pressure to bear a male heir.

Some academics have joined Prince Tomohito of Mikasa, a cousin of Emperor Akihito, in complaining that allowing the child of a female monarch to reign would represent a break with history.

According to these critics, the Imperial succession has been preserved for more than 2,000 years in a male line, with the throne passed down only to heirs with emperors on their father's side.

But the report concludes that ensuring stable succession through the male-line tradition will be "extremely difficult" due to the rapid decline in the nation's birthrate and the end of the concubine system, which had helped preserve the tradition prior to 1947.

It adds that clinging to male-line succession would endanger the basic tradition of "hereditary succession," as stated in the Constitution.

"What is important nowadays is not the difference of gender or whether it is a male or female line, but if (the heir) has been born as an Imperial family member or if (the heir) has been brought up in the Imperial Household," the panel said.

The panel concluded that "the legitimacy (of the Emperor) will not weaken as long as succession by the Imperial line is maintained and the system is supported by the public widely" under the present Constitution, which recognizes the Emperor as a symbol of the state.

It added that there is a basis in public opinion for accepting the reign of female monarchs and their descendants, citing changes in attitude toward the family and the role of men and women in society. In addition, recent opinion polls have shown broad support for the introduction of female monarchs, it said.

"Of course there is an important meaning in the Imperial system's unique tradition and convention, but it should not be forgotten that it is also important that (the new succession system) should be in line with the public's concept of values," it said.

When the report's proposals are applied to the current Imperial family, the number of those qualified to ascend to the throne increases from six to 14.

Regarding the proposal that the Emperor's firstborn child would be granted priority in the order of succession, the panel said this is an easy-to-understand system, adding that the public would be able to watch the heir grow up from childhood with the expectation that he or she would eventually become Emperor.

An interim report issued in July suggested that former Imperial branch families that were divested of royal status in 1947 could return to the Imperial Household as a means of preserving the male-line tradition.

But the final report rules this option out, saying it would struggle to win public support as former branch families have been living as commoners for nearly 60 years.

It also states that this scenario would destabilize the succession process as a return to Imperial family status would be contingent on the decisions of the people concerned.

The panel also proposed legal revisions that would allow female Imperial members to marry commoners without necessarily relinquishing their royal status, as is currently the case. Their husbands and children should be included in the Imperial family, it said.

To secure a stable number of heirs while preventing a large increase in the number of Imperial family members, the panel concluded it is best to maintain the current Imperial status secession system, with a revision to treat male and female members equally.

Under the proposal, Imperial family members other than the heir to the throne and the eldest grandchild of the Emperor can be removed from the household for "compelling reasons."

They will be able to secede from the family, following approval by the Imperial Household Council, whose members include Imperial family members and the prime minister.

Panel goals at a glance
The following are key proposals advocated by a government panel on Imperial succession:
* The swift introduction of an appropriate Imperial succession system, which should be adopted following comprehensive consideration of whether it is supported by the public, based on tradition, and whether it is stable.

* The expansion of the pool of candidates who could accede to the throne to include female Imperial family members and their children.

* The granting of priority status to the Emperor's firstborn child in the succession order.

* The retention of female Imperial family members' royal titles after they marry commoners and the inclusion of their husbands and children as royal family members.

* The retention of current rules limiting the size of the Imperial family by allowing certain members to be removed from the family for compelling reasons or voluntarily.

Imperial succession -- the facts
The following are key facts concerning the issue of Imperial succession:
* The postwar version of the Imperial House Law, enacted in 1947, stipulates that only male heirs who have emperors on their father's side can ascend to the Imperial throne.

* Crown Prince Naruhito, 45, is first in line to the throne. His 39-year-old brother, Prince Akishino, is second; Prince Hitachi, 69, brother of Emperor Akihito, is third; Prince Mikasa, 89, an uncle of the Emperor, is fourth; Prince Tomohito of Mikasa, 59, a cousin of the Emperor, is fifth; and Prince Katsura, 57, another cousin of the Emperor, is sixth.

* If the law is revised on the basis of the final report by a government panel, the succession order would be as follows: Crown Prince Naruhito; his 3-year-old daughter, Princess Aiko; Prince Akishino; Prince Akishino's elder daughter, Princess Mako, 14; his younger daughter, Princess Kako, 10; Prince Hitachi; Prince Mikasa; Prince Tomohito of Mikasa; Prince Tomohito of Mikasa's elder daughter, Princess Akiko, 23; his younger daughter, Princess Yoko, 22; Prince Katsura; Princess Tsuguko, 19, the eldest daughter of the late Prince Takamado, the Emperor's cousin; the late prince's second daughter, Princess Noriko, 17; and his third daughter, Princess Ayako, 15.

* Without revising the law, Princess Aiko, the only child of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, 41, and her future children would not be allowed to ascend to the throne.

* If Princess Aiko were to marry a commoner and ascend to the throne, the couple's child, regardless of sex, would be the first Emperor or reigning Empress to have no Emperor on his or her father's side, a scenario experts say has never before occurred.

* The reigning empresses were enthroned to prevent a succession break in emergencies, such as when a crown prince was too young to reign or was forced to postpone enthronement.


It's always pleasing to see "hallowed" traditions evolve with the times. (Heck, if religion evolved with the times, we wouldn't have Judeo-Christianity at war with itself.) And, ironically, in changing with the times, they are relinquishing the recent past in favor of the distant past. 'Cause, after all, there were women on the Japanese throne before; the obsession with male-only succession really only solidified in the wake of Japan's contact with the West--in other words, they hardened the patriarchal line in order to impress us.

In fact, up until the Meiji Period, it was totally kosher for a man to marry into a woman's family and take her name. This was often done amongst the commoners; a family without sons would locate a suitable heir to the family business and marry him to their daughter, thereby adopting him into the family.
25th-Nov-2005 03:01 pm (UTC)
They're gonna make a 3-year old girl the monarch? Well okay, it's probably been done once or twice in those manga stories......

25th-Nov-2005 03:04 pm (UTC)
*laughs* No, no, no. You didn't read closely enough. Her Daddy's next in line for the throne (her Grandfather is Emperor now), but he has no sons, and it ain't lookin' like he's ever going to. Barring tragedy, she won't be on the throne until she's a middle-aged or even old woman.
25th-Nov-2005 03:08 pm (UTC)
I know, it's funny when you read the first couple lines ^__^
25th-Nov-2005 03:09 pm (UTC)
Actually, I think the underlying problem is that being a Royal in Japan is so stressful that they don't WANT to breed. ^^; For awhile there was concerned that there wouldn't be any heirs past the Crown Prince's generation at all.
25th-Nov-2005 03:25 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I read an article last week I think, that mentioned the Crown Princess had kind of faded into the background because she was having so much trouble adjusting to life in the royal family...

Comments ain't gettin emailed again... Grrrrr...
25th-Nov-2005 04:15 pm (UTC)
because she was having so much trouble adjusting to life in the royal family...

More like having emotional breakdowns due to harassment from the royal shepherds or whatever they are.

Comments ain't gettin emailed again... Grrrrr...

*sighs* I noticed that.
25th-Nov-2005 04:25 pm (UTC)
More like having emotional breakdowns due to harassment from the royal shepherds or whatever they are.

Yeah, what I read didn't go into much detail, but they hinted that she isn't quite all there at the moment ^^;; So much for fairytale endings.....
25th-Nov-2005 07:12 pm (UTC)
I saw pictures of her before and after her marriage. She seems to have aged 10 years between them. Poor woman.
25th-Nov-2005 07:21 pm (UTC)
Is it royal family insiders tormenting her? Maybe this explains why that princess was quite willing to give up the title ^^;
25th-Nov-2005 07:24 pm (UTC)
Yeah. The royal family has "handlers" that rule every aspect of their lives.
25th-Nov-2005 07:32 pm (UTC)
The power behind the throne? ^^;; Sounds like a depressing way to live really...
25th-Nov-2005 07:33 pm (UTC)
Pretty much. They chaff everyone. There was all this stuff when they first married about how Prince Naruhito swore that he would "protect" her from the handlers. Note that he failed; they're that powerful. ^^;
25th-Nov-2005 07:41 pm (UTC)

He was probably told to tell her that she'd be protected.........
25th-Nov-2005 08:54 pm (UTC)
Well, regardless of what he ACTUALLY told her, the media homed in on the story--which just goes to show you how the entire country, and not just the handlers, cast a very capable woman as some helpless, shrinking violet.

She's probably been having breakdowns because "madness" is the only way to survive it all!
25th-Nov-2005 11:45 pm (UTC)
They're kind of like the lady-in-waiting or stewards, I guess. There to maintain traditions and make sure everything runs smoothly. They're present in the Thai royal family too, but it's the reverse there. They don't get to go visibly power hungry as much though.
26th-Nov-2005 12:03 am (UTC)
In Belgrade I noticed there were omnipresent stewards running the place, but they seemed to be really taking care of the royal family rather than controlling them.. But who knows what happens when the visitors leave ^^;;
26th-Nov-2005 02:31 am (UTC)
I'm guessing the way Japan was defeated in WW2 and how the Emperor was "exposed" as a mere mortal has something to do with Japan's Imperial family and how it isolates itself from the public except for certain occasions.
26th-Nov-2005 02:39 am (UTC)
I wonder if he was the last of the world’s royals who still had people conned into believing he was something more than a plain old person....

Now there are people who claim that European royals may be descended from Jesus *rolls eyes* I think a closer inspection would reveal they’re descended from the most brutal butchers of whatever era....
26th-Nov-2005 03:11 am (UTC)
Careful now. The Thai people believe their royal family are more than ordinary people. How "special" though depends on the person. But at the very least, no one touches the person of a member of the royal family.
25th-Nov-2005 07:31 pm (UTC)
She was a big-shot politico/lawyer/Ivy League graduate or something like that before marriage. Then, after she got married, it was like, "Oh, how do I cook my beloved husband a respectable meal?" They tried to domesticate her, make her submit to traditional notions of femininity.
(Deleted comment)
25th-Nov-2005 07:32 pm (UTC)
But SHE'D still be Empress, not you. ^_~

Good Lord, I wouldn't marry into a royal family if someone held a gun to my head. The public attention isn't worth it, not even for True Love(tm).
(Deleted comment)
25th-Nov-2005 08:54 pm (UTC)
Is that a question or agreement? ^_^
25th-Nov-2005 07:10 pm (UTC)
Yes, finally. It's long overdue. I particularly like the part where the female members don't get kicked out of their family simply because they want to get married^_^
25th-Nov-2005 07:29 pm (UTC)
Guess they won't have to worry about inbreeding anymore. ^_~
25th-Nov-2005 11:47 pm (UTC)
*dies laughing*
Oh you have a twisted mind^_~
26th-Nov-2005 03:14 am (UTC)
Hey! I'm serious. ^_~ It's a very real problem among the European monarchies.
25th-Nov-2005 09:08 pm (UTC)
Yay~ Well, this is quite wonderful ^___^ As for the retention of Imperial title, does that mean the princess who married a commoner a while back is still princess? Or am I getting this mixed up with something else?

In any case, quite wonderful to hear <3. Does the Japanese Imperial household have a great deal of political power, or is it more of a figurehead like in the case of England?
25th-Nov-2005 10:35 pm (UTC)
As for the retention of Imperial title, does that mean the princess who married a commoner a while back is still princess? Or am I getting this mixed up with something else?

I don't know. They say that members can still be kicked out for "compelling reasons," but from now on it shouldn't be a disqualifier.

Does the Japanese Imperial household have a great deal of political power, or is it more of a figurehead like in the case of England?

Figurehead. Even moreso, if possible, than England, I would say, when it comes to clout.
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