• 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.

  • Top ten royals you SHOULD know

    Everyone knows Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge. The gorgeous Queen Rania of Jordan ranks high in the royal elite, and Queen Elizabeth II is a legend. Which modern-day royals rank in your top 10? Let’s hear the nominations as we research the hard-working and history-worthy royals across the world.

  • Royal News Brief

    Obama’s royal gaffe

    President Barack Obama arrived in Tokyo November 13, the first stop on his four-nation tour of Asia. He met with Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

    With a deep bow and handshake, Obama greeted the Emperor. His gesture has been met with criticism. Obama should know the custom of a country like a professional businessman and behave accordingly.

    Apparently improperly briefed about accepted procedure in Japan or perhaps having a time zone mind melt, Obama stuck out his hand for a shake. Which was fine. And friendly.

    He then proceeded to simultaneously bow. Which was not.

    And take his eyes off the person he’s greeting. Which was not.

    And, worst in the eyes of many, the over-enthusiastic president of the United States bowed way down at a 45-degree angle, indicating in that culture and apparently in the eyes of many others, subservience to the emperor, son of the man who authorized the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack. – LA Times

    Prior to this incident, the President caused a stir during a visit to Saudi Arabia when he bowed deeply to the ground for King Abdullah.

    After the Japanese visit, Obama will continue to Singapore, China and South Korea.

    Good will to all men this season… or not

    Labour candidate Peter White has been forced to apologize for calling the Queen a ”parasite” and ”vermin” on Facebook.

    White, who is seeking election to Havering Borough Council in London next year, was summoned by officials after he compared the idea of a public holiday to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 with ”celebrating vermin”.

    Apparently becoming a politician does not give this man pause in his choice of words.

    Stephen Fry an oracle?

    According to the Telegraph, Stephen Fry has come to be regarded as a “modern oracle” because of all of his updates to many followers on Twitter. But Stephen has put his foot in it.

    The actor and longtime comedian has upset friends of the late Princess Margaret by accusing her of anti-Semitism. During a lecture at the Royal Institute of British Architects, Fry claimed that the Queen’s sister had been shocked when he told her that he had Jewish ancestors. The princess then allegedly expressed her horror by shouting to everybody else at her table: “He’s a Jew. He’s a Jew.”

    Lord Glenconner, who points out that Margaret’s chum Peter Sellers was Jewish, adds of Fry: “It’s a bit unfair of him to say these things when she cannot defend herself.”

    Happy birthday, Prince Charles!

    The Prince of Wales turned 61 on Saturday, November 14.

  • MandysRoyalty Featured at OnSugar

    Royal Sugar – Noble and Sweet! is my new freelancing site, provided by Sugar Inc.

    If you haven’t seen Sugar yet, I highly advise that you do. It’s a great network!

    PopSugar – Celebrities & Gossip
    CitizenSugar – News & Politics
    FabSugar- Fashion & Style

    …and more! Now I plan to add a bit of my own regal shine. See you there! NOTE: The above is a working title

  • A New Generation of Heirs

    Here’s a handy list in chronological order. There have been so many royal babies, and there’s more to come… it’s hard to keep track of them all:

    October 25, 2001 – Princess Elisabeth (Belgium)
    December 7, 2003 – Princess Catharina-Amalia (Holland)
    January 21, 2004 – Princess Ingrid Alexandra (Norway)
    October 15, 2005 – Prince Christian (Denmark)
    October 31, 2005 – Infanta Leonor (Spain)
    September 6, 2006 – Prince Hisahito (Japan)

    While things are quiet in Norway, Belgium, and now Japan, things are still happening in Denmark, Spain, and Holland respectively.

    Crown Princess Mary of Denmark is pregnant with her second child, due to be born in May 2007. Crown Princess Letizia is also expecting her second child in May 2007, and Dutch Crown Princess Maxima is pregnant with a third child due in late April 2007.

    Congratulations to the happy parents!

  • Princess Kiko’s Son

    Princess Kiko of Japan has given birth to a son. This child will now be the next in line for the Chrysanthemum Throne, laying to rest the frenzy surrounding imperial succession changes. Kiko had only produced 2 daughters up to this point, and her sister-in-law Crown Princess Masako had one daughter. The Japanese royal family feared that its imperial dynasty – 2000 years old – would die out. There was so much worry that, last November, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi helped back a change in Japanese law that would allow a female to ascend as Empress. The future Empress was to be 4-year-old Princess Aiko, daughter of Crown Princess Masako and Crown Prince Naruhito. Many Japanese were in favor of an Empress, and there have been a few Empresses in Japan’s history. However, the staunch conservatives were not looking fondly on the possibility of a female ruler. Former Trade Minister Takeo Hiranuma, according to Time magazine, said of Aiko: “If [she] becomes the reigning empress and gets involved with a blue-eyed foreigner while studying abroad and marries him, their child may become emperor,” he said. “We should never let that happen.” The xenophobic Japanese conservatives and Imperial Household Agency have a firm grip on what happens with the royal family. Unlike the British royal family, the Japanese imperial family’s schedule -and life – is completely controlled by the dominating IHA, with little breathing room. They are so concerned with the line of succession remaining male that they most likely convinced Kiko to try for a much-needed son. She succeeded. Meanwhile, the Crown Princess has gone abroad with her husband and daughter to the Netherlands. At the announcement of Kiko’s new son, Masako wanted to be out of the country to get away from the media sensation caused by the birth. Hopefully the intelligent and accomplished Masako may now return to public life now that she is out from under pressure to produce an heir.

error: Content is protected !!