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Recovering crown princess attends 1st imperial banquet in 11 years

42 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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Palace officials said it was her first appearance at an imperial banquet since she attended one for the Mexican president in October 2003.

Truly sad. And a real waste of a very smart, well-educated, well-traveled/internationalized woman who could have been a great role model for Japanese young women, and maybe even been a bright light for the Imperial Family much like Kate has been in the UK. But instead of allowing her skills to help pull the Imperial Family into the 21st Century, the IHA beat her into depression and seclusion.

18 ( +26 / -8 )

What a Household. What a country. What a culture.

Splendid of them to take such a brilliant, happy person full of so much promise and force her into an unwanted marriage and a life of suffocating imprisonment.

Blech.

22 ( +29 / -7 )

...the IHA beat her into depression and seclusion.

That could be right, and probably is. On the other hand, maybe she had some mental health issues in the past that weren't disclosed. Or she could have ended up depressed regardless of her lifestyle. These JT pages are filled top to bottom with horror stories involving Japanese people from all walks of life that suffer from depression and other mental health issues.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

I remember the version of "womenonics" touted way back when she was betrothed in the 90s. Everyone said it was a sign Japan was changing, finally starting to recognize smart, well educated women and that Masako would shine light on the imperial household and be an inspiration for other Japanese women.

I dismissed the idea at the time, and everyone told me I was wrong.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

The nail that sticks up...

2 ( +9 / -7 )

“It was most unfortunate that these long friendly relations between Japan and the Netherlands should have been marred because of World War II,” Akihito said. “While never forgetting this past, we hope to give more attention than ever to the promotion of good will between our two countries.”

Very well said.

I have my reservations about the concept of royal families everywhere. Having said that, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have had a positive impact on Japan's international relations overall. They never visit Yasukuni but visit an alternative site to honor Japan's fallen soldiers, never talk of 'reviewing' Japan's past apologies, and never deny the nation's past wrongdoings.

I wish PM Abe and other politicians would take a cue from them in this regard.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

Masanao married into a golden cage from which there is no escape. I hope that the French was prepared well at least.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Ha! Yeah, this looks like just the kind of party for someone dealing with stress!

The salad fork!

Don't eat yet!

Too fast!

It's another toast!

You got something on your lip!

Haven't finished? Too bad! Time for the main course!

0 ( +6 / -6 )

I understand that people are against Royal Houses but our Dutch Royal house does a lot for international relations with other countries, you see all the niceties but there is usually a whole business delegation with it.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I think royal families play an important role in the 21st century, they serve the public by appearing at functions and helping raise awareness of good and needed causes. I hope Her Highness is feeling well now.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

It's a tragedy what has happened to this woman. She had the abilities to make a real contribution to this country but it seems this lifestyle has driven her to mental illness. Living this way is unnatural, unhealthy and frankly pointless.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

There is something about us Dutchies that makes her smile I guess :)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

On the other hand, maybe she had some mental health issues in the past that weren't disclosed. Or she could have ended up depressed regardless of her lifestyle.

Oh stop bringing logic and common sense to the bashfest.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

She dressed in the same colors as the Dutchess I think she has a fan

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

They ruined a good woman. She was so smart, good-looking, happy and full of life back in the early 90's. Then came the forced marriage and now she looks beaten. I feel for her.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

I dismissed the idea at the time, and everyone told me I was wrong.

Yeah, me too. I remember the hoopla and how much was made of her intelligence and supposed high-flying career (in contrast with Diana). I shocked people at the time by saying she would be regarded as little more than a baby machine, and I was right.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Oh stop bringing logic and common sense to the bashfest.

hidingout -- your sarcasm might have even a slim chance of being on target here, were we not talking about Japan, and the IHA, which views its sole goal as protecting their vision of Japanese culture and the Imperial Family. Hell, the Crown Price isn't even allowed to speak his mind about his own wife's condition -- that's right it's an "adjustment disorder". Please, use that logic you claim to have and add two plus two.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Many of the comments here suggesting that she was forced into this marriage/lifestyle are somewhat confusing. The expectations and sacrifices that one makes when marrying into the Japanese Imperial family are both clear and well-known. It is natural that that the Prince would be interested in a classy woman like her, but the decision to accept the proposal was made by Masako herself.

They ruined a good woman.

Who did? I have immense sympathy for her given the heartache she has suffered, but let's remember she was a 30 year-old adult when she made her decision.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

@Bogi

but let's remember she was a 30 year-old adult when she made her decision.

I believe a lot of posters are suggesting that the decision wasn't entirely her's.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

It may be important to remember that her problems began in ernest after the birth of their daughter. It may have started with postpartum depression or some other hormonal imbalance made worst by her living situation. In any case, I'm glad that she seems to be doing better and could take part in an event that she seemed to enjoy. I hope she will continue to do well.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I am sure she was examined very thouroughly before the marriage so it seems unlikely that she had any existing mental problems. I believe she turned down his marriage proposal once or twice before finally giving in to enourmous pressure put on her and her family. The Japanese Royal Family is possibly the most rigidly controlled Royal Family in the world and when you put an intelligent woman like Masako who speaks several languages and was used to freely travelling the world and going out with her friends to eat, to movies, concerts etc. into the hands of the control freaks of the IHA who monitor her 24 hours a day then it is easy to understand why she became ill.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Yardley you have it right and I agree with you. Why her so called doctors could not see that ,is beyond belief. Make you wonder what medieval handbooks they are using.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

A very talented woman........gone to waste

3 ( +6 / -3 )

gogogo:

" She dressed in the same colors as the Dutchess I think she has a fan "

It is the House of Orange. Simply a diplomatic gesture.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

she wasn't forced to do anything. she chose to marry, full well knowing the pressure that would be put on her and she allows them to control her life. i have no pity for her at all. even this dinner, just so happens to be country that her father was posted to. her last overseas trip was also there. some diplomat she turned out to be.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

I really empathize for this woman, her husband and entire family who really want to be live their life as normal everyday common people you see shop at Life Supermarket, Lawsons, Circle K just ordinary people, after all they are human too and she shouldn't have been under " developing a stress-related illness more than a decade ago". This part of Japan has no business going into the 21st century. It's time to end the haves and have nots and put the budget to finance this waste into urban development The elderly care need it, the homeless need it, the working poor need it, and so do the unemployed. Give everyone equal opportunities. The people of Japan should let them go in peace to live normal lives. That is only fair and the right thing to do. If the moderator takes this comment off then it only means they are told what to print by the old shadow bosses running japan and they too have are playing their part to keep a caste system going in Japan.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Glad to see her establishing a working corner. Maybe from here she can grow in strength and confidence. We are all with you. Go, go, go Princess Masako!!!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

jerseyboy's very first post says it all ! I was in Japan during the "courtship" and, of curse, the marriage. I couldn't help but think of Diana, Princess of Wales. Am so happy that Masako-sama seems to be getting through it. Bless her !

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I for one am delighted she has surfaced. She looks really good, scarcely "beaten down" as one poster strangely commented.

Give her a break... she is still a wonderful asset to this country.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

No doubt she thought she'd be able to preserve a thread of her individuality in the face of IHA pressure - but she likely found the reality somewhat different

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A very talented woman........gone to waste

and there are millions of women in Japan who have talents that just become homemakers. How is this any different?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

This poor woman reminds me of a beautiful blue jay a neighbor boy put in a cage for a pet when we were kids. The poor little thing died within a few months. Some caged birds never sing again.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

In a nutshell, Masako was hikikomori.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Surprising the Dutch maintain such close ties and respect for the Japanese Imperial family after horrendous abuses,torture and rape of forced Dutch women as comfort women,hmmmm

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

CanadianNtokyo

That is rather the point. The "Imperial" Household Agency has worked long and hard -- in their hidebound fashion -- to repair Japan's international image. And the Dutch Royals, as they are termed, have been receptive.

Nothing to do with trade, I assure you...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"unwanted marriage"?? (LBW2010OCT. 30, 2014 - 07:19AM JST) How do you know that? A brilliant, well-educated, well-traveled/internationalized woman with a degree of Harvard WOULD NOT HAVE chosen "unwanted marriage." She had chosen the marriage. Such opportunity that she has (being able to meet King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands) was given because of her position. It is still up to her how she utilizes her POWER of being Crown Princess. Indeed it is entirely up to her about her life. I really do not like to hear the criticism by anyone without real evidence.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I will not label loveless marriage. It is obvious thzt Croen Prince deelplu loved her. No one else. So he proposed and proposed. The same way Current Emperor fell in love with Empress. Kist she had to avoid media and nosy Govt officials. However, she seems to be healthy. Maybe she pretended to be ill to avoid nosy media and govt

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Please, use that logic you claim to have and add two plus two.

Two plus two says that a vanker who lives in the US doesn't know much about the IHA or Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In Japan, IHA (KunaiChO) protect poweress Imperial; House members from anyone including Minister of Imperial House (KunaiSho(.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

War declaration. Being criticized fro being seiyou kabure, not traditional enough, etc by nobility as well as palace officials, she is genki only when mingling with sensible people. So what.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dhe is 60 years old. She did not declare any war. Nobi;ity system was anolished years before she was born,

Repeat: She has nothing to do with any War Declaration,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@tmtmsnbNOV. 01, 2014 - 12:47AM JST War declaration. Being criticized fro being seiyou kabure, not traditional enough, etc by nobility as well as palace officials, she is genki only when mingling with sensible people. So wha ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

???

Are you sure Princess did such things??? She is 60 years old. There is no nobility in Japan ince 1946.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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