Japanese Imperial Rules: Is Marrying A Commoner the Only Way Out For Women?

Japanese Imperial Rules: Is Marrying A Commoner the Only Way Out For Women?

Princess Mako, a granddaughter of Japan’s Emperor Akihito, is set to marry her college sweetheart, Kei Komuro. Since Komuro is a commoner, Mako will lose her royal title and become a commoner herself. This has reignited the debate on women’s status and succession laws in Japan which currently favor males.

When a Japanese princess marries a commoner man, she loses her status and position within the Imperial family. She’s given a dowry and is never mentioned again, but when a commoner woman marries a Japanese prince, they are elevated to their husband’s royal rank. It’s an imbalance, to say the least, but given the treatment we’ve seen with Japanese Crown Princess Masako and other ladies, that title and lifestyle is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Mako’s paternal aunt, Sayako (Princess Nori) lost her title when she married a commoner in 2005. She was known simply as Mrs. Sayako Kuroda thereafter. She is not even mentioned as a member of the family on the Imperial family’s official website despite being the only daughter of the emperor.

The new Mrs. Kuroda didn’t seem too unhappy about it, though. As she embarked on married life, her parting words were about her feelings of “loneliness” and “unease” as a princess. She also took a shot at the Imperial Household Agency, the organization that tightly regulates the Imperial family’s life. Speaking out for her mother, Empress Michiko, Sayako stated that “Her Majesty collapsed due to unbearable fatigue and distress and lost her power of speech” after “being exposed to a great deal of criticism that had no ground in fact.”

It’s strange that life for Imperial women is so difficult. Japan can count eight Empresses among its rulers from as early as the 6th century until the 1600s, but after the Meiji Restoration in the 1800s, the monarchy became a male-only landscape designed to preserve the mystique and lineage of the Japanese royal line. It was dictated by the Imperial Household Agency and, as we have seen throughout the years, this has not been good for the well-being of Japanese royal women. Empress Michiko has suffered and her daughter-in-law, Crown Princess Masako, has fared no better. The multilingual former diplomat gained her status upon her marriage to Crown Prince Naruhito, but she lost her independence and her spirit. Masako’s severe depression forced her to withdraw from the public eye, and was carefully managed by the strict and secretive Imperial Household Agency.

Masako’s difficulties were underscored when she could not bear a child for several years after her marriage to Naruhito. At long last, they were blessed with a baby girl whom they named Aiko. Her birth in 2001 threw the line of succession into question. The Crown Princess was unlikely to have more children after Aiko, and Naruhito’s brother Akishino had Princess Mako and Princess Kako as his heirs. Without a male in line for the future, Japan held its collective breath to see if the IHA and the Japanese government would allow an amendment to the succession laws.

Then a surprise – Prince Akishino announced that his wife was pregnant. On September 6, 2006, Princess Kiko gave birth to Prince Hisahito. The little prince was over a decade younger than his sisters and the first boy since Akishino’s birth in 1965.

Crown Princess Masako’s distress over her inability to produce a son became so intense that her husband publicly complained to the press, unheard of for the royal family and least of all a Crown Prince.

“Princess Masako, giving up her job as a diplomat to enter the Imperial Household, was greatly distressed that she was not allowed to make overseas visits for a long time,” the crown prince said. “There were developments that denied Princess Masako’s career as well as her personality.”

Sadly, Naruhito and Masako’s daughter Aiko is said to be suffering from stress and has missed months of school as a result. It seems that the cycle may continue.

Or will it?

Emperor Akihito, in delicate health at age 84, will step down soon. This is the first time a Japanese Emperor has abdicated in 200 years. Naruhito will ascend the throne and when he does, will he try to force a change in succession laws? It is my belief that he will at least try to expand Masako’s freedom in her role as empress, given his statement about protecting her and criticizing the Imperial Household Agency.

The couple also have the support of fellow royals. In April 2013, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands personally phoned Princess Masako and insisted she attend to the Dutch inauguration of King Willem-Alexander. Happily, Masako attended with Naruhito to the delight of many Japanese and many royal watchers. Prior to this, the former Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands hosted the Crown Prince and Princess and grew close to them.

With this monumental change in leadership, as well as fellow royals rooting for them, will Naruhito and Masako usher in a new era in the Japanese Royal Family? I can’t wait to find out. I wish them the best for the future. There has to be a way for the Japanese royal women to thrive and to eventually reign. Otherwise, it’s time to marry a commoner and escape the world of the Imperial Household Agency.

William Arrives In Japan

0 Permalink

The Duke of Cambridge has arrived in Tokyo, beginning his official royal visit to the Far East. The prince’s primary purpose is to promote the UK’s good relationship with both countries.

In Japan, William will meet with people whose lives were affected by the 2011 tsunami and the subsequent destruction of the Fukushima power plant.

On Friday, the Duke will meet with Japanese Emperor Akihito and his wife, Empress Michiko.

On his visit to China, the Duke will hopefully smooth royal relations between his country and the Chinese government. This high-profile tour by William is viewed as an attempt to improve diplomatic relations with Beijing after his father, Prince Charles, unwittingly created controversy about the 1997 Hong Kong handover.

The Prince of Wales wrote his thoughts on the matter in a diary, which was supposed to remain private. Charles referred to the event as ” The great Chinese takeaway” and that Chinese officials were “appalling old waxworks”. The diary found its way into the media, putting a strain on the relationship between London and Beijing.

Maybe that’s why Charles is so outspoken. He figures people will find a way to release his private thoughts into the mainstream no matter what, so he’s taking a “to hell with it, then” approach and just says what he feels.

I wish William all the best on his tour. I’m looking forward to when the Duchess of Cambridge will make her first solo overseas tour. Her first was set to be Malta, but William took over when it was announced that Kate was pregnant again and hyperemesis gravidarum had returned.

Good luck, William! Don’t write anything down.

The Cambridge Royal Tour of Asia and South Pacific

William and Kate

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

According to St. James’s Palace, the forthcoming Cambridge tour promises to be an excellent one.

Their visit to southeast Asia and the South Pacific are part of the continuing celebrations of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The Duchess of Cambridge will make her first speech abroad, there will be official dinners (tiara time!), and William will be carrying out a visit that his mother was scheduled to make fifteen years ago.

Diana, Princess of Wales, was scheduled to see the new orchid species that was named in her honor. Sadly, she never got the chance. Now it is Prince William who will visit the botanical garden in Singapore to see the beautiful bloom. He and his wife will also have an orchid named in their honor, as well.

The Duke and Duchess will visit Singapore and Malaysia on behalf of the British Government as guests of the two host countries. While in the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, Their Royal Highnesses visit on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen, who is Sovereign of these two Commonwealth nations.

According to the announcement by Prince William’s private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, the Cambridges’ schedule is as follows:

Singapore –

• The Duke and Duchess arrive in Singapore on Tuesday, September 11th. They will meet with members of the government of Singapore, and then travel to the Singapore Botanic Gardens where they will take part in a ceremony during which an orchid is to be named in their honor, as well as view an orchid named for Diana, Princess of Wales.

• The Cambridges will attend a State Dinner that evening hosted by The President of Singapore at his official residence, the Istana. The Duke of Cambridge will give an address on behalf of the Queen at the dinner.

• On Wednesday, September 12th, the Cambridges will carry out their first engagement at the Gardens by the Bay. The Gardens are an extraordinary feat of architecture and engineering with strong British involvement in their creation.

• After a tree-planting ceremony, Their Royal Highnesses will travel to the Rolls Royce aircraft engine factory in Seletar, Singapore. The Duke and Duchess will be asked to unveil the first operational engine produced by the factory. The Duke will make a speech to staff at the official unveiling of the engine.

• That afternoon, Their Royal Highnesses will visit Strathmore Green, a precinct in Queenstown. The area was chosen as it was named after the present Queen. On arrival at the precinct, the couple will view a cultural performance that will showcase the three main cultures of Singapore: the Chinese, Malay and Indian communities.

• The Royal couple will then travel to the Rainbow Centre in Queenstown, a school and community centre for children with special needs. The Duke will spend time with children participating in a Physical Education session and The Duchess will meet children engaged in arts therapy classes. The Rainbow Centre celebrates its 20th anniversary this year as a school for special education.

• That evening, The Duke and Duchess will attend a reception at Eden Hall, the British High Commissioner’s residence, for prominent Singaporeans and members of the British and international expatriate communities.

• On Thursday, September 13th, Their Royal Highnesses will begin the day at Kranji Commonwealth War Cemetery. The Duke and Duchess will lay a wreath made of local flowers at the War Memorial before meeting veterans and serving military from Singapore, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

Malaysia –

(September 13th)The Royal couple travel on a scheduled flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where they will be met at the International airport by representatives of the Malaysian Government and the British High Commissioner.

• Their Royal Highnesses’ first engagement is a lunch hosted by the Prime Minister at his official residence. The lunch will include a musical performance by young people supported by a charity of which the Prime Minister’s wife is Patron.

• Following the lunch, the couple visit Hospis Malaysia, which is a leading hospice located in central Kuala Lumpur. The Duchess is Patron of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and Her Royal Highness is keen to use her visit to learn more about how the hospice movement works in Malaysia. The Duchess of Cambridge will give a short speech at the end of this visit to patients and staff, drawing on her own growing experience of the hospice movement in the United Kingdom.

• That evening, The Duke and Duchess will attend an official dinner given by His Majesty The Agong at his official residence, the Istana Negara, in Kuala Lumpur.

• On Friday, September 14th, Their Royal Highnesses will attend a cultural event in a Kuala Lumpur Park. Following the cultural event, the Duke and Duchess will be guests of honor at a lunch given by the British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce. Trade links between the United Kingdom and Malaysia are historically strong, and growing, and The Duke will give a speech at the lunch to the assembled businessmen and women in which he will underline the importance of the relationship both for British and Malaysian prosperity and for cultural ties between the two nations.

• Following the lunch, The Duke and Duchess will attend a Diamond Jubilee tea party hosted by the British High Commissioner and his wife at their residence – hopefully, weather-permitting, in their garden. The guests for the traditionally British tea party will be drawn from across civil society and will be chance for the High Commission to deepen the existing strong bonds of friendship. At the occasion, The Duke and Duchess will be invited to sample a new tea created by a leading Malaysian tea manufacturer, BOH, in honor of the Diamond Jubilee.

• After the tea party, Their Royal Highnesses leave Kuala Lumpur and depart for Sabah, Malaysia. Sabah is one of the two States that makes up the Malaysian portion of Borneo. On arrival in Sabah, Their Royal Highnesses will attend a reception hosted by the Sabah State Government in their honor.

The Duke and Duchess’s primary reason for wishing to visit Sabah owes itself to The Duke’s longstanding interest in conservation. Sabah is home to some of the last remaining areas of primary tropical rainforest in South East Asia, and the Royal Society – of which The Duke is a Fellow – run a world-leading research station at a place called Danum Valley, deep in the rainforest.

• On Saturday, September 15th, The Duke and Duchess will travel by Government helicopter to Danum Valley where they will have a chance to meet Royal Society scientists and volunteers, and to experience some of the jungle for themselves through an opportunity to be lifted up in to a tree to view the jungle canopy and to go on a jungle walk. Following the visit to the research station, Their Royal Highnesses will retire to a nearby lodge for a private lunch.

Solomon Islands –

• On Sunday, September 16th, The Duke and Duchess travel to Honiara, in Solomon Islands, where they will represent The Queen on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee. The Duke and Duchess will be formally welcomed by The Queen’s representative, The Governor-General and his wife, and they will review a Guard of honor at the airport.

• Their Royal Highnesses will then make their way in an open-topped vehicle to the Church of Melanesia cathedral in Honiara, where they will attend a service of thanksgiving for the life of dedicated service of The Queen.

• Later that evening, The Duke and Duchess will attend an Island Feast, given in the traditional manner outdoors, hosted by the Governor-General at his official residence. The Duke will use the occasion to pass on Her Majesty’s warm wishes in a speech. Shortly before the State Dinner, the Duke and Duchess will pay a private call on the Governor-General and his wife.

• On Monday, September 17th, Their Royal Highnesses will begin the day with a call on Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet at the Prime Minister’s Office.

• Following the meeting, The Duke and Duchess will travel to a cultural village in Honiara, where the Royal couple will view performances by the nine provinces that make up the nation.

• After the visit to the cultural village, The Duke will briefly attend a conference given for young leaders from the Commonwealth nations in the Pacific, where he will be invited to give some short remarks. The Duke will subsequently award six Duke of Edinburgh gold awards to Solomon Islanders and one awardee from Vanuatu. Meanwhile, The Duchess will attend a reception for Solomon Island women’s groups.

• The couple will then re-join each other to travel together to a memorial in Honiara to the Coast Watchers, who were courageous Allied and Commonwealth soldiers and Solomon Islanders who hid along the coast of the nation’s 1,000 islands to pass on intelligence about Japanese military movements during the Second World War. Their contribution and sacrifice made a huge difference to the success of the Allies’ war effort in the South Pacific. The Duke and Duchess will lay a wreath before meeting veterans of the Coast Watch.

• They will open formally Commonwealth Street, on which the Memorial stands, which is close to Point Cruz, where the Spanish explorer Mendana landed in 1568.

• Following their visit to pay respects at the Memorial, The Duke and Duchess will attend a lunch reception hosted by the Prime Minister in aid of Solomon Islands charities, including representatives of the Diamond Jubilee Trust.

• Following the lunch reception, The Duke and Duchess will fly to Marau, which is on the furthest end of the main island Guadalcanal. At Marau, The Duke and Duchess will be honored by a welcome by leaders and members of the local communities.

• Following the ceremony at Marau, the Royal couple will proceed by boat to the island of Marapa, where they will first visit a village before travelling on a traditional war canoe the short distance between Marapa and Tavanipupu. On arrival on Tavanipupu, The Duke and Duchess will be met by a local musical and dance welcome.

• On Tuesday, September 18th, Their Royal Highnesses travel back to Honiara, where they will participate in a departure ceremony at Honiara airport. The couple will bid farewell to Solomon Islands and travel to Tuvalu.

Tuvalu –

• The Duke and Duchess will be carried off their aircraft to the welcoming ceremony, where The Duke will give a speech on behalf of The Queen to her people in Tuvalu.

The last Royal visit to Tuvalu took place in 1982, when The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh travelled on Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia to visit this most striking and remote of nations.

• Following the welcoming ceremony, the Royal couple will proceed around Funafuti island, where they will visit the primary school and the university campus and they will stop to view a coconut tree planted by The Queen during her 1982 visit. The Duke and Duchess will also view a canoe race and watch a local ball game before finally ending up at a mocked-up traditional Tuvaluan village, where the couple will view demonstrations of traditional crafts and cooking.

• In the evening, The Duke and Duchess will attend a traditional dinner, hosted by the Governor-General, where Their Royal Highnesses will have a chance to sample traditional Tuvaluan food before watching a performance of local dances.

• The next day, following a departure ceremony, The Duke and Duchess will leave Tuvalu and will return home to London via a brief change of aircraft in Brisbane.

Tiara tip to: The Prince of Wales official site

An Unusual Journey Through Royal History

The following is an excerpt from a new book, “An Unusual Journey Through Royal History,” by Victoria Martínez, which features 18 essays on a variety of royal history-related subjects spanning a thousand years. This is the first part of the chapter entitled: An “Illustrated” Royal History.

The last Anglo-Saxon king of England lay dead on a battlefield near Hastings, an arrow through his eye. William the Bastard of Normandy was now William the Conqueror of England.

William’s next, most immediate problem was to positively confirm that the corpse before him did indeed belong to his vanquished rival, Harold II – a task made difficult by the dead man’s disfigured face. The solution came in the shape of Edith Swan Neck, King Harold’s longtime mistress, who identified her dead lover by the words “Edith and England” tattooed on his chest, just one of several such illustrations on his body.

While not all stories of royal tattoos are quite so dramatic, just the concept of “royal tattoos” can seem incongruous to our modern perceptions of royalty. After all, it was only in the late 1990s that Zara Philips, daughter of Britain’s Princess Anne, caused a media sensation simply for having her tongue pierced. Relatively speaking, it should probably come as a far greater surprise that the supposedly prim and proper Victorian era was high season for tattooing among royalty and the aristocracy.

King Edward VII helped pioneer the fashion in Britain when, as Prince of Wales, he had a Jerusalem Cross tattooed on his arm during a visit to Jerusalem in 1862. Twenty years later, his sons – Prince Eddy, the ill-fated heir to the throne, and Prince George, the future George V – both had dragons tattooed on their arms during a visit to Japan. Before returning home, they stopped in Jerusalem to be further illustrated by the same artist who had tattooed their father.

Queen Victoria may or may not have been amused upon learning about her grandsons’ new body art, but their mother, Alexandra, Princess of Wales, reportedly was most certainly not amused when she was told incorrectly that the tattoos were on their faces, not their arms. Despite her undoubted horror at imagining the tattooed faces of her sons, Alexandra probably had nothing against more discreet tattoos, even among the women of her set.

Lady Randolph Spencer Churchill (née Jennie Jerome), the American heiress, society beauty, and mother of Winston Churchill, circulated quite freely among the Wales’ social circle sporting a tattoo of a snake around her left wrist. A well-placed bracelet hid the tattoo when it didn’t tickle her fancy. Her son Winston followed suit and had an anchor tattooed on his forearm, à la Popeye. Even Alexandra’s sister-in-law, Queen Olga of Greece (1851-1926) – Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh’s paternal grandmother – reportedly had a tattoo.

Still more royals outside Britain were getting “inked” around the same time. Another of Queen Victoria’s grandsons, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, had a tattoo, as did George V’s cousin, Czar Nicholas II of Russia. Actually, royal tattoos were common in Russia long before Britain caught on – it seems Peter the Great (1689-1725) and Catherine the Great (1729-1796) both had tattoos.

To read the rest of An “Illustrated” Royal History, download a copy of “An Unusual Journey Through Royal History” by Victoria Martínez, available for Kindle, Nook and other eReaders at the links below (you don’t even need an e-reader since both Kindle and Nook can be downloaded on most devices for free).

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004X7LYPQ
Barnes and Noble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/An-Unusual-Journey-through-Royal-History/Victoria-Martinez/e/2940012509307
Who Dares Wins Publishing: http://www.whodareswinspublishing.com/UnusualHistory.html

When You Wish…

my engagement ring

Image via Wikipedia

Enhanced by Zemanta

Want a unique way to celebrate the royal wedding? Send your congratulations to William and Kate at Million Wishes Wedding.

What could be more fitting a gift for a royal couple than receiving a commemorative leather bound edition of a book created specially in their honor by 1 Million People, filled with 1 Million Messages and Wishes from people around the world who love them? A book and perhaps even a world record which will go down in history for the world to remember.

A certain percentage of the proceeds are contributed to a charity the Royal Couple support and to provide relief support for the Japan tsunami crisis. You also get a free digital copy of the commemorative book.

Sign the book today, and be a part of history. A unique idea for the future king and queen!

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-03-20

0 , Permalink

Powered by Twitter Tools

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-03-14

0 , Permalink
  • A dog waits to take part in Britain's annual Crufts dog show at the NEC Arena in Birmingham, England. http://ow.ly/4d8K1 #
  • Excellent!! The Artists blog and MBR K!ds (http://ow.ly/4czRZ & http://ow.ly/4czTj ) are both back online! Now for Royal Rep… #
  • What are you looking forward to seeing at the royal wedding? Dress, tiara, flowers…or just everything? :) #
  • Earthquake and Tsunami footage unbelievable! Poor Japan… #
  • TODAY: @missjfine Princess prep on MSN Video http://ow.ly/4c2gE #
  • Transfer complete. Royal Rep will return this week! #
  • Finally! Good choice! :) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12683881 #
  • What should I do if the blog isn't transferred by Friday??? #
  • Princess Letizia ( http://ow.ly/4aowT) looks like she's trying to replicate Queen Rania's style ( http://ow.ly/4aoz6 ) #
  • YouTube – Kate and Wills photos 'a revelation' http://ow.ly/49Bq5 #
  • I believe Fergie and Andrew deserve each other. Both sketchy and selfish. So sorry, Your Majesty! I feel terrible for you. :( #
  • The Middletons in Jordan – http://ow.ly/49oav #

Powered by Twitter Tools

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-03-14

0 , Permalink
  • A dog waits to take part in Britain's annual Crufts dog show at the NEC Arena in Birmingham, England. http://ow.ly/4d8K1 #
  • Excellent!! The Artists blog and MBR K!ds (http://ow.ly/4czRZ & http://ow.ly/4czTj ) are both back online! Now for Royal Rep… #
  • What are you looking forward to seeing at the royal wedding? Dress, tiara, flowers…or just everything? :) #
  • Earthquake and Tsunami footage unbelievable! Poor Japan… #
  • TODAY: @missjfine Princess prep on MSN Video http://ow.ly/4c2gE #
  • Transfer complete. Royal Rep will return this week! #
  • Finally! Good choice! :) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12683881 #
  • What should I do if the blog isn't transferred by Friday??? #
  • Princess Letizia ( http://ow.ly/4aowT) looks like she's trying to replicate Queen Rania's style ( http://ow.ly/4aoz6 ) #
  • YouTube – Kate and Wills photos 'a revelation' http://ow.ly/49Bq5 #
  • I believe Fergie and Andrew deserve each other. Both sketchy and selfish. So sorry, Your Majesty! I feel terrible for you. :( #
  • The Middletons in Jordan – http://ow.ly/49oav #

Powered by Twitter Tools

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-06-20

0 , Permalink

Powered by Twitter Tools

error: Content is protected !!