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New imperial couple to face heavy burden of tradition

52 Comments
By Kyoko Hasegawa

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52 Comments
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The monarchy is an anachronism.

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A lavious industry that is essentially a waste of taxpayers money .

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-6 ( +9 / -15 )

I was SO hoping that this new era would see the end of the pegboard background. Looks like they are in a college dropout's parent's basement.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

Naruhito later apologized for his remarks, but he has called for "new royal duties" to fit modern times.

He should never have apologized. If these idiots in the IHA were ticked off at him, they should be falling on their swords for having the audacity of putting him in the position that he felt he needed to say something in the first place!

22 ( +23 / -1 )

A lavious industry that is essentially a waste of taxpayers money .

Thankfully the Japanese people think differently. With a handle like yours I would assume you intimately know about tradition, culture, and history, and many would argue that what you represent is also a waste of taxpayers money as well.

Thankfully it's not up to you to decide. Better to have the royal family around that a bunch of bridges to no where, and their lifestyle is far from "lavish".

8 ( +14 / -6 )

And like his popular father Akihito, he has warned of the need to remember World War II "correctly," without downplaying Japan's early 20th-century militarism.

Naruhito has also followed his father's lead by hitting back against revisionism on Japan's role in World War II, with remarks seen by some as a rebuke of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's nationalism.

"Today when memories of war are set to fade, I reckon it is important to look back on our past with modesty and pass down correctly the miserable experience and the historic path Japan took from the generation who know the war to the generation who don't," he said in 2015.

This will be one of his most important roles.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

If the road ahead is that tough, just leave the family. What are they going to do tackle and chain you up. You've been writing this oh poor girl story for years!

There are Japanese out there falling into the cracks. The country is in a position where they can't act. You really don't want to be acted upon and that is what is already happening.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Reads so negative of Masako, like everything is her fault?

16 ( +18 / -2 )

@ yubaru "Thankfully the Japanese people think differently"

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Qualify that - 'some' Japanese people think differently.

They are not a monolith.

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The monarchy is a feudal institution that has little or no relevance in today's world.

It is a 'bridge' to nowhere.

Really

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

Mizu no Oto

If the road ahead is that tough, just leave the family.

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Agreed.

No one put a gun to her head to marry the prince.

Diana and Fergie divorced their respective partners.

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1 ( +9 / -8 )

Just reading the article makes me want to scream. Can't imagine what it must be like to live in that environment. If psychologists ever need an example of a toxic environment, here it is.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

semperfiToday 07:52 am JST

So when its tough, you just up and leave instead actually doing the WORK required and actually be loyal, loving & responsible?

They are the BEST couple to respectfully instigate contemporary mindsets & values that are necessary to challenge age on traditions as Japan is crippled with huge issues (e.g. low birth rates, aging population, sexism, gender equality, etc) for its own survival to a successful future.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

@semperfi while the monarchy is a little old fashioned, one big difference with them and politicians is they are mostly stuck there. Most Japanese politicians have an issue sticking around when something goes wrong instead of rolling up their sleeves and fixing it. So, to that extant, the imperial family is one of the few institutions that serve as pillar of strength for the country. While the future impress could leave if she really wanted to, there is a difference between feeling like you want to do something and that you are needed to do something. I've always had the feeling that she felt as though there was more for the country that she needed to do but sometimes that kind of personal pressure is hard to deal with. All of that being said, I wish them both well in their new positions and hope that they can be a light to guide the country as it continues to trespass in some seriously rough waters. For all that the society has right, there are still many that need to be repaired.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

But she struggled to adjust to cloistered life inside the family, punctuated by occasional and highly choreographed public appearances. 

I would expect that anyone with an inquisitive mind from studying at Harvard and Oxford would have a hard time adjusting a mindset that does not feel reflection and change is important for advancement of knowledge and life. Naruhito has a terrific opportunity to "protect Masako (and the country) at any cost" by taking a hint from the leadership of Prince Harry and Meghan. I believe and expect he will take the initiative not only for Masako's benefit but the youth of Japan and the world.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

A staged photo if ever there was one. look how perfectly spaced the books are on the table. I bet the staff member who set up the scene used a ruler

1 ( +9 / -8 )

The monarchy is an anachronism.

A lavious industry that is essentially a waste of taxpayers money .

The Japanese Monarchy is respected almost universally. Oldest in the world. They are neutral at all times and ensure stability in this peace-loving nation. Furthermore, they generate huge money for Japan through tourists visiting to appreciate the monarchs palace, museums, art etc.

Japan and the Monarchy are completely inseparable.

-10 ( +7 / -17 )

I hope the new empress doesn't have any problems handling her role

3 ( +4 / -1 )

A staged photo if ever there was one

Um, yeah, duh. You think anyone would ever expect it wouldn’t be? He’s to be the new Emperor. These pictures will likely be looked at by historians for centuries. You think that they are just going to grab some random snapshot from an iPhone or something?

5 ( +9 / -4 )

He should follow his fathers lead and abdicate, concentrate on being a loving father, husband. Create a happy life for his family and himself. There is only the bleakness of misery before them all.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Let's all cry crocodile tears for people that have their every need taken care of with public money.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

The new Emperor and his family are prisoners in their own Palace and he's going to face the loss of 25% of the population of the country during his reign. That's 30,000,000 people. Not a job most people would want, eh.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Like his dad he'll never visit yasukuni. It would be great if he silently visited that girl statue in Seoul and diffused rightists in both countries

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Like his dad he'll never visit yasukuni.

I agree.

It would be great if he silently visited that girl statue in Seoul and diffused rightists in both countries

It would be awesome!

4 ( +8 / -4 )

The press has reported that Masako wanted to emulate Princess Diana in her role, and have a positive social impact. However, this was absolutely not allowed by the dictators of the IHA, and this has caused her chronic depression (and a wasted life).

12 ( +13 / -1 )

The Emperor system it similar to what is said about the Queen of England. It is not the power she has, but the power that she takes away from evil forces in government. The Emperor has had the same role with his tacit (or explicit?) criticism of Abe's views.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The monarchy is a feudal institution that has little or no relevance in today's world.

True, but it is worth remembering that having this outdated system doesn’t have to mean a society is hobbled by it. Some of the most progressive societies in the world have constitutional monarchs such as Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. In my home country, the UK, it provides entertainment for tabloid readers.

I’m certainly not a fan of hereditary heads of state, but it seems the Japanese public generally support the idea.

I just think the lives of the Japanese monarchs don’t need to be so restricted. I don’t think the Japanese public would like the UK royal clown show, but let them off the leash a bit more. Masako is clearly in distress.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

It would be great if Japan finally exit its feudal ways and allow the the first born to sit on the Chrysanthemum Throne regardless of gender.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

WHAT is with the pegboard background?!? We see this in every pic! Sheesh! Do you think it's maybe the IHA pulling a fast one on the Japanese public? Like, "oh these people live just like you, even more frugally than you, they have to live in old 1970s-style accomodation. Everyone equal here! I like Akihito and Naruhito, and I wouldn't be miffed to see the very comfortable surroundings they actually live in. But it's the IHA/government's feeling that deception is necessary 'for the people's own good' that is madenning. On the other hand...maybe the tax dollars allocated to them only cover enough for endless pegboard rooms!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Does anyone know what it cost to have a royal family? I mean everything included? On a yearly basis?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Does anyone know what it cost to have a royal family? I mean everything included? On a yearly basis?

Too much.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Enjoy the gilded birdcage.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

What an artificially posed photograph.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

"So when its tough, you just up and leave instead actually doing the WORK required and actually be loyal, loving & responsible?"

Absolutely spot on. There is no indication in their history that the couple married for anything other than love. While it's fair game these days to criticize the notion of a royal family, critics should bear in mind the mental trauma that Princess Diane suffered due to the unfair way she was treated as a breeding machine by the British Royal family and especially her calculatingly philandering husband. Contrast this with the Crown Prince's outspoken criticism of the expectations laid on the Japanese monarchy, and the care and concern for his wife's mental health he shows. They married for love, and it is up to the modernist elements in all levels of Japanese society to do the best they can to support the Prince and his wife, by the ballot box, by writing letters, and by any other means available.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Expat, you have a good point about it looking so artificial. It is also blurred. They cold have done much better than that.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

WHAT is with the pegboard background?!? We see this in every pic! 

Anyone wanna bet that it isn't pegboard? That each of those dots is an individually crafted motif created by some artist with a National Treasure designation and is priceless? Wouldn't surprise me if it were....

5 ( +6 / -1 )

 There is no indication in their history that the couple married for anything other than love

How many times did he propose before she said yes?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The wall kinda looks like giant Graham Crackers.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"...Masako seems worn out in her efforts to adjust herself to life as a royal over the past 10 years... "anguished that she was hardly allowed to visit foreign countries although she left her job as a diplomat."

The same year, the palace disclosed that Masako had been undergoing treatment for stress-induced "adjustment disorder" for almost her entire marriage.

Naruhito... has called for "new royal duties" to fit modern times.

What an indictment of the IHA, that they should value hidebound tradition and probably the preservation of their own sinecures within the organisation more than they do the health and wellbeing of the Princess, or the wishes of the monarch they're presumably meant to serve, rather than the other way around.

Monarchies the world over are conservative institutions, but the Imperial Household Agency seems to employ a particularly heavy dead hand when it comes to the performance of its role. Why would they not work with a more modern-minded monarch like Naruhito, or his father, rather than against him?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

do they japanese realy want to keep the royal family? i bet the younger generation couldn't care, it's the older generation who care more.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why does their lounge room look like the set from the Brady bunch?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I was SO hoping that this new era would see the end of the pegboard background.

So it's true then. I thought it was just a myth that those not descended from the ancient gods see pegboard while the rest of us see the magnificent artwork that inspires us to godly deeds.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

So where are some of the destinations you are going to during Golden Week (ten day holiday ) ?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I worry his poor wife will be pushed over the edge by all the pointless, made-up "rules" she will have to follow from next month.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Well, pegboard is as dorky as Abe and the IHA. Perfect fit for them, if not for Naruhito. (His name is Naruhito, not Reiwa!...I had a stupid friend grom. abroad asking me about.'Hirohito Akihito and Reiwa the other day.....)!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

All I know is I feel a sadness whenever I see or read about the Crown Prince and Masako. IHA needs some serious changes.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Pegboard must go.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Pegboard, ha ha ha ha ha...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Monarchy and Republic doesn't share the same values about freedom.

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(It is an educated guess)

°

Yes the future empress was ready for international, but she wad not ready for her home to be that much into international web level. Monarchy is very different, and Japan is an exception in monarchy.

When you study at the top freedom, Japan is a bit small. It is natural to want to travel. And america is christian, and full christian at top. Japan is environmental. It is more laïc or polytheist. That is a tremendous huge step to take. In the top, this is coming from full speed against no speed. You take at full speed a concrete wall.

Even I that have very relaxed brain and born with capacities to take this tremendous huge step, it is very tiring. Without a relaxed environment, it is normal to have problem. This is dangerous for the health.

For the philosophic me, that is not a surprise she pull off a muscle brain. Only a total free space and move allow one not to pull off a muscle, because this about extension and not that much about muscle.

There is no long terme consequence for the heath. But, you lose ten years of free life because of this specific muscle when everything is relax otherwise it can goes between 20 to 40 years to heal that only brain muscle.

In the world of today, this is a neuro problem and not mental problem. That is why she can still keep up (not nuts). This is like breaking a leg that will take ten years to heal and sometime will break up in the middle of the healing. It is neuro painfull and emotion are shorter because of the neuropain.

°

Good luck,

NCM

1 ( +1 / -0 )

jerry:

do they japanese realy want to keep the royal family? i bet the younger generation couldn't care, it's the older generation who care more.

It's true younger generation care less about royal family but it same for the secular government.

The latest poll (2018) shows:

Should Abolish Monarchy: 6%

Should Increase Role of Monarchy: 4%

Should Keep it as is: 79%

(https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/天皇制廃止論)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

....Masako pledged to do her best despite feeling "insecure" about becoming empress.

If Masako was insecure about being Princess and the duties associated, wait till she becomes the Empress. I hope she understood that in the beginning when she married Prince Naruhito. But perhaps at the time she had "stars in the eyes" and the prestige and status of being a Princess overshadowed the reality.

Regardless. I think Naruhito has an opportunity to be more than a "Comforter-In-Chief" after he becomes Emperor. Now is the time to set aside old fashion Royal Family traditions and bounderies and redefine the role of Emperor and Empress in the new Reiwa Era.

Perhaps Masako can look to Princess Diana model for inspiration, find an endeavor to champion and support. Then hopefully she will find the freedom to be herself and flourish as a new type of Empress and inspire the new generation of Japanese women.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What's she so stressed out about? Scary to think what her mental state would be had she married someone with less wealth.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Unlike the British Monarchy, (...!?) what do the Japanese equivalent actually do for ... Japan ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

BTW - that's not meant to be a derogatory question, but simply one which I hope someone will be able to answer properly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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