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Cheer up

52 Comments

Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako talk with evacuees at a gymnasium, currently serving as an evacuation center, inside Ajinomoto stadium in Chofu, western Tokyo, on Wednesday. See story in National section.

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Respect, sympathy and unity integrating in people's minds and souls. The visit by Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako is a spiritual power transfer on evacuees. Everyone can optimistically move on now.

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Wow, these people are much better at showing their respect to the Crown prince and Masako than those two guys last week when the Emperor and his wife visited a shelter. But couldn't they have gone somewhere nearer the real tragedy? Like Sendai, or Iwate. I think those people really need support and cheering up.

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lol, see? Now this is the proper way to meet them. Those kids were just a sign of the times.

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It disgusts me to see people bowing to a "Prince" and "Princess" what value do these two give to Japan? and while they return to their palace these people remain in a shelter. There should be NO royal family in Japan especially considering what the title was used for in the past.

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I wouldn't even shake their hands. Pick up a shovel and help out your visit means nothing.

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@asianTourist

Nothing of the sort. Try too little and too late.

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Agree with RobertCB, this is how respect is shown in Japan. As expected, those two dudes who sat there in front of the emperor and empress were showing extremely bad manners. For those of you who don't "get" this - then you aren't really knowledgeable about Japan, are you?

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Nothing of the sort. Try too little and too late.

whatthe, your world is different to mine. Please, don't compare.

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warallthetime

Actually, I think you would shake their hands if you met them. Most people, yourself included no doubt, tend not to want to display boorish behavior in public. Their visit means a lot to the evacuees' morale.

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Couldve been that the other picture was taking during the conversation and this one taken at the start/ meet. So many complainers here sigh (oh wait me too heh)

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There is no way to compare this family and the two guys from before. How can you judge the content of the conversation and the attitude of the participants from ONE picture? This is obviously the greetings or the words of encouragement, so the deep bow comes naturally with saying "good morning" or "thank you". In other parts of the conversation they can sit straight or relaxed next to each other, so on one shot they may seem "disrespectful." As for the "value" they add to japan - warallthetime, that would be something that not everybody can see. There are many things that make Americans or other nationalities proud but are ridiculed by others. Each country will cherish different values and persons, and it may be hard by outsiders to understand them. Still, they are important for many people here.

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For those of you who don't "get" this - then you aren't really knowledgeable about Japan, are you?

Godan, what origin are you? May I ask if this question does not offend you?

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Give the guys a break from meeting the Emperor and Empress in the last photograph, it was one photograph, one frame and cannot say the attitude of a person from one frame.

Also maybe if your house was blown away in a Tsunami and you were displaced I wonder how you would react.

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it shouldn't be rude to do nothing at all.

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..beyond ordinary greetings

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I doubt such information is made public in Japan but I'm curious to know how much the Crown Prince and Princess have contributed to relief funds.

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For those of you who don't "get" this - then you aren't really knowledgeable about Japan, are you?

I 'get' the old folks bowing to royalty. I also 'got' the young lads sitting cross-legged. What I don't get is the furriners deciding how or even whether one set of folk should be prostrating themselves in front of another set of folks on account of who their dad is.

But the thought that struck me most, before I read the comments, is that it would be nice if this visit was a good hard slap up the back of the head for Masako, seeing first-hand how people cope with real 'adjustment' problems.

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I don't think a royal family is higher than any other citizen. I respect those donating their time to helping the disadvantaged anytime. People who worship royalty sicken me. The whole Japanese royal family is a farce, Shinto is a made up religion, no members of that family are anointed by God nor are they heavenly in any form. Such thinking has been responsible for many Japanese lives lost and is inexcusable whether it be during peace or war.

While the princess was suffering from emotional issues in private over producing a baby boy, real people were dealing with real life problems.

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I'm curious to know how much the Crown Prince and Princess have contributed to relief funds.

How can they contribute anything? They live off public benefit.

Oh wait....

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Showing respect indeed. What have they done to earn respect? They didn't earn their title or place in society. Like all royalty, they're born into it or marry into it. How sad and archaic.

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@the_sheriff Even if they donated large sums of money you should question where that money comes from in the first place. Regardless of the amount if any it is hardly noble.

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For those of you who don't "get" this - then you aren't really knowledgeable about Japan, are you?

You can be highly knowledgeable about anything and yet still not necessarily agree with it. Or vice versa.

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I dont think it is Masakos fault that she is not taking on duties because of her "adjustment disorder", I think the IHA are not letting her out for fear of what she might say or do. God forbid she pulls a Diana on them!

If they had actually let her do what she is good at, she would never have gotten so bad in the first place, AND she woud have helped to greatly raise the profile of the family at home and overseas, especially with younger people. But that would mean modernising, and that is a bad thing.

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My mother in law bowed to me like that the first time we met ,, I was embarrassed not knowing what I should do ?

Shinto is a made up religion, no members of that family are anointed by God nor are they heavenly in any form.

All religions are made up , What God are you talking about ?

Moderator: Readers, please stay on topic. Religion is not relevant to this discussion.

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"I 'get' the old folks bowing to royalty. I also 'got' the young lads sitting cross-legged. What I don't get is the furriners deciding how or even whether one set of folk should be prostrating themselves in front of another set of folks on account of who their dad is."

So you get bowing to royalty but you don't accept the prince as royalty? That's just plain stupid.

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It's a curious thing when people from different backgrounds meet up and one has to bridge the divide to the other in body language and tone. From the two photos we've seen, people all react differently.

It would be nice if the royals could be removed from their other duties and placed in a group spearheading relief efforts. They could use their clout to make companies and money move, while leaving the details to the experts.

Just showing up and sympathising is nice, but it won't put rice on the table.

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The evacuues seem enamoured with the prince and princess. I'm sure they were happy to receive the visit and encouragement.

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here here saborichan .

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I 'get' Japanese people bowing to Japanese royalty because, well, this is Japan and some things just are.

I also 'get' the young people sitting cross-legged because well, this is the 21st century, the Emperor seems to be pretty laid-back as Japanese royalty goes, and the young lads have more important things to worry about than protocol.

But the furriners here pontificating about how this is the right way to do it, that is the wrong way to act.....I wonder how many of them come from countries that pride themselves on their lack of a feudal class system?

Would I bow to Japanese royalty? Only as far as I would bow to British royalty, which is no more than I would bow to any other person to whom I was introduced.

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The security people of the Imperial Household Agency come in beforehand and put everybody in position. They know these are stressed out people and they want them down so nobody is in a position to get too excited or angry and rush the imperials. They can't force the people to bow, but it is highly likely they made sure in this situation that they were not standing.

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I saw this on TV last night. It looked so arranged. The lucky winners who would meet them were clearly extremely loyal to the royalty. Then again, if they chose me, I would have bowed like that too because the cameras are on.

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Hachimike, While I agree that the people in Iwate and Sendai really need support and cheering up, many of them have work to do and activities, as they are nearer to home. These poor folk being housed in Tokyo are likely from Fukushima. There homes may have been washed away or they may be standing, but they have no idea when or if they be able to even root through the mess for souvenirs. Don't assume that they are in any less need of cheering up!

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Cleo, I thought your 8:52 comment was uncharacteristically mean. I respect your stance on monarchy, though I'm a bit more ambivalent. I tend more to sympathy. I'm confident both of us live easier lives, knowing we have much more freedom to enjoy ourselves, and live as we see fit.

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The problem with people who have a thing against monarchy is they have this image that is out-dated. They never think about the positives of modern monarchies. Just the amount of money that the Japanese Royal family brings to the country through tourism makes them important for the non-believers but you can't have Japan without the royals. It would be a different country and I doubt it would be a better one.

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At a time when people are forced into uncertainty due to no fault of their own it is nice to know that some things remain certain. I would only wish that the CEO of Tepco would put himself on the frontline like the Crown has.

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I always wonder if these were impromptu meetings, or Gov't officals came before hand to 'teach' these people what to say and what not to say.

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taj, I apologise for the perceived meanness. All I meant was that when faced with people struggling with real problems, I hope she would be able to put her own problems into better perspective. I also am very sympathetic to the royal family and think they should be allowed the kind of freedoms you and I take for granted. I think they would lead much happier lives if they were not royal.

Just the amount of money that the Japanese Royal family brings to the country through tourism makes them important

lol If you were talking about the UK royals, with their bling palaces, parades, pomp and circumstance, not to mention the bloops and scandals, I would have to agree. But I have never, ever, come across a tourist who was attracted and came to Japan in hopes of seeing the Japanese royals. Heck, you can't even see their palace, there's no changing of the guard, nothing at all to see. They don't even let the TV cameras into their weddings. The royals bring little to no economic benefit to Japan.

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The royals bring little to no economic benefit to Japan.

Agree 100% cleo. As you say the contrast with the British royal family is quite striking.

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those victims might started to think that the disaster which took away the live of their whole family was actually a fantastic happening and worth for it.

I think you need to go and lie down.

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I've gotta join Cleo and Bogart in asking, "What tourist money/economic benefit?" I see zero. At the same time, they are rather a pretty low cost family, but economically, I think they are a negative.

On the positive side: the can represent Japan at international functions with a dignity you can NOT count on finding in a politician. Lots of old people like them / are excited by them / are cheered up by them. The imperial palace grounds serve as a nature preserve in the city and the guest palace (all of which belong to the nation rather than to the family, by the way) serves as an emergency evacuation point.

point 3 above doesn't in anyway rely on having one family bred and raised specifically to represent the nation, so it's a bit weak, I'll grant you.

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It's surprising that in XXI century people still bows when the prince comes around.. Japan countryside didn't left the feudal age yet, and that's to be 100 years behind your time!.

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I don't think those deep bows are necessary these days, royal family is just figurehead. I am Japanese and wouldnt bow like that for them ever. But glad they are meeting and encouraging the people.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

What a bizarre photograph!

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Culture and history are sooooo different between the US and Japan. However, analyst can try to find equivalents. The only comparisons that can be ventured w/ the Japanese Royal Family would be groups like the: American Daughters of the Revolution; descendants of the signers of the US Constitution, Declaration of Independence; descendants of Puritans and Pilgrims. Not an exact comparison.

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Just the amount of money that the Japanese Royal family brings to the country through tourism makes them important for the non-believers but you can't have Japan without the royals

Im with Cleo et al on this one - how on earth do the royals attract tourists? You cant see them, can`t see their homes, and know nothing about them other than what the imperial household agency chooses to release.

On the other hand, much as I don`t like them and ridicule them, I CAN see the benefit to the UK of the British royals - the open palaces and gardens, the "bloops and scandals" as Cleo so accurately puts it.

I read the book about Masako that was banned in Japan - it shed a whole new light on her, and I feel really sorry for her. Not many people know she (allegedly) refused the princes proposal a few times, until the Empress (allegedly) "had a word" and promised to protect her, and her father was (allegedly) told it would be very good for his career if she accepted the proposal. She was in an impossible position - and still is. And the biggest shame of all is that it could all have been so different - she could have done so much good for her country as the face of modern Japan.

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Hope they will continue to visit to cheer up refugees. Agree, it would be nice if they could also get the money moving to the refugees and devastated towns so the clean-up and rehousing can begin. Might be a lot fewer people choosing to live near the beaches, though!

It's NICE to have royals. They can perform these sorts of functions without being too politicized over it. Masako could use something to do that uses her formidable talents, too.

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the royals went there to serve their people by cheering them up a little. no need to ridicule them. they did it with nothing it good intentions. i support their efforts.

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The royals are definitely more respected than the politicians here THAT'S for sure.

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I always wonder if these were impromptu meetings, or Gov't officals came before hand to 'teach' these people what to say and what not to say.

I spoke to someone who met the Crown Prince during a photo-op. As I recall, he said there were three rehearsals with an advance staff member before the actual meeting. On the other hand, I recall seeing the Prince and Princess take their daughter for a stroll in the park, and it was obvious from the reactions from the few people in the park that they had not been told in advance that the royals would visit.

I suspect in this case an announcement was made saying the Prince and Princess would visit, but then the couple was free to meet with whoever they wanted to without further preparation.

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And the biggest shame of all is that it could all have been so different - she could have done so much good for her country as the face of modern Japan.

This is quite truth, but the old system caged her into her actual un-existance.

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she could have done so much good for her country as the face of modern Japan.

In a time of crisis, the concept of now if very important --> past is not so important. You should also never encourage negative behavior (always encourage the positive)

For me the picture is odd because the crown is visiting someone at a time of little. =This family has made a home out tables covered with blue paper and a soft mat. Meeting someone at a time like this is difficult for both parties. =Most people do not expect visits like this --> especially from the Royal Family.

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The Royal Family, much like the President of the US are supposed to be seen not heard. Purely someone for the people to watch while the real power is behind the scenes. However, I am sure that they have their owner power. Important people will listen to their ideas. Nothing but good can come from a meeting such as pictured here.

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