Friday, July 11, 2008

Poor Masako

In an interview today, Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan called for "gentle patience" for his wife, Crown Princess Masako. The Crown Princess suffers from an "adjustment order."

That may be an understatement. The former Masako Owada, a Harvard-educated diplomat, married Crown Prince Naruhito in 1993. The Crown Prince had pursued her for several years before Masako said yes. Since 1993, Masako has rarely been seen in public, due to a "stress disorder." More likely, the misogynists that run the Imperial Household Agency have run the former ebullient woman into the ground. They have destroyed her personality, and do all they can to ruin her reputation as well. Although Masako (and many Japanese as well) believed that she would be able to parlay her diplomatic skills into her role as the future Empress, the the little nasties at the IHA made it clear that her role was to produce a son, an heir. Note to IHA: the male decides the sex of the child, not the female.
In December 2001, the Crown Princess gave birth to a daughter, Princess Aiko. She has also suffered at least one miscarriage.
Women do not have succession rights to the Japanese throne. Although Parliament debated the situation, and there were calls for a change, a new succession law was put on hold when it was announced in February 2006 that Masako's sister-in-law, Kiko, was expecting a third child. It had been rumored that the IHA ordered both princesses to lie down and think of Japan, but Masako decided not to play this game. Kiko, who is married to Emperor Akihito's second son, Akishino, and the mother to two teenage princesses, Mako and Kako, gave birth to Prince Hishito in September 2006. Kiko was revered because she produced a male heir, the first in the Imperial Family since 1965. One can only imagine how Masako has reacted to Hishito's birth. Although the little prince is not in the direct line (he is the son of the second son of the emperor), he will be accorded all the rights and privileges of a future emperor. On the other hand, the Crown Prince and Princess's only child, Aiko, will be raised to be a commoner. When she marries, Aiko will cease to be a princess and a member of the Imperial Family.