Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Japan's conservatives get their wish

On September 6th, 38-year-old Princess Kiko of Japan gave birth to a son. It's the first male royal child born in 41 years, and it--at least temporarily--set to rest the growing dilemma about whether or not to allow females to ascend to the throne. In a recent poll, 56 percent of Japanese respondents backed a female monarch. However, while Prime Minister Junichiro Koizume "enthusiastically" backed a proposal allowing women on the throne, his likely successor, the conservative chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, "has said he will not rush to take the proposal forward." My understanding is that the royal family is also opposed to a female monarch and pursuaded Mr. Koizumi to "back off" with his support for the proposal.

In a way, I'm relieved that a son was born--if only to take the pressure off poor Princess Masako , Princess Kiko's sister-in-law, who has been under extreme pressure from the Royal Family to bear a son. Harvard- and Oxford-educated Masako was a career diplomat who reluctantly married into the monarchy and crumbled under the pressure to produce a male heir. In late 2004, Masako was excused from her royal duties and went into seclusion due to what the royal family called her "mental illness."

I guess, even in the 21st century, women still get labeled as "mentally ill" for refusing to obey, acquiesce, or bow to those in power.


EuroTrippen said...

I love how the pressure's on the princess when it's the male who determines the sex of the child. Maybe prince whats-his-name should have worn loose fitting boxers.

Poor princess kiko... the term 'brood mare' comes to mind.

Absolutely Tokyo! said...

Yeah, you're right about the male determining the sex of the child. I bet anything that, considering Kiko's age, she had some kind of medical internvemtion to assure a fertilized male egg.

I can't help wondering if the new-father prince (who will probably never inherit the throne) just wanted to ensure that he would have a child who WOULD become emperor some day since his older brother's wife, Masako, only produced one child, a daughter. You just know there has to be sibling rivalry between the two princes!

Courtney said...

I don't think Akishino cares if he particularly takes the throne, it has much more to do with keeping a woman off the Japanese throne. Most of these right-wingers are obsessed with protecting the Y-chromosome (nevermind that no one knew what such a thing was 100 years ago).

At least princess Aiko can get the hell out of the royal family when she grows up. She'll probably be the perfect little Stepford Wife like her aunts, if the Imperial Household Agency has anything to do about it.