Well, I don't feel the slightest amount of sympathy for the plight of a group or structure that is in this predicament because it deems females valueless. I consider it karma.
Yeah, maybe that is the revenge of the ancient sun goddess Amaterasu, the mythical ancestress of the imperial family...
Surely there will come a point where this very vocal minority will die out. Does anyone think that people born after, say 1970 would really think this way regarding male succession only?
Unfortunately, yes, I, for one, happen to think that. In this context, I always use to quote this BBC article that was written after Hisahito´s birth. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/h.../asia-pacific/5319250.stm
There, two young Japanese from either side of the debate react to the birth and discuss the security of Japan's imperial succession. One is a young woman. She says (not surprisingly), “In a way, this is a disappointment. While I am happy the baby is healthy, I would have liked to see a woman ascend the throne. I was looking forward to Japan's chance to modernise.“ The other, a 24-year-old financial trader says, „I am very pleased about the news.... I would like to see the laws of succession changed, but not to allow female succession. I would like to see the laws changed to ensure more security for the male succession. It would be very difficult to constantly ensure a male heir without the use of royal concubines, but in today's world there are obvious complications with that. Yet it's what used to happen.... I don't feel content with just the one male heir. I would like Crown Prince Naruhito to make a further effort to have one more. The mass media are very afraid to convey any bad message to the imperial family especially when Princess Masako is very ill. But it would make the line more secure and reassure the Japanese public.”
(You have to be aware that Japanese will usually not express potentially controversial opinions and if they do, they will do it in an indirect way. So I am rather sure that what this young man is actually proposing is that the crown prince should take a concubine to have an heir...)
Another example would be Tsuneyasu Takeda, a member of a former collateral branch. He must be 36 years by now and is one of the main proponents of the idea to restore the former princely houses or to allow the imperial family to adopt males from those families. To promote this plan, he has written a book entitled The Untold Truth of Imperial Family Members. You know I am not fond of Prince Akishino, so it will probably give you a certain idea if I tell you that imo, compared to Takeda, Akishino is a heavenly blessing. Takeda´s essay “Did the Emperor of Japan really fall from being a ruler to a symbol?” won the Grand Prize in the “True Interpretations of Modern History” essay contest. The name of this contest is truly Orwellian and to characterize it, I have to mention that its winner of the year before Takeda, Toshio Tamogami, chief of staff of Japan's Air Self-Defense Force was dismissed because of his prize-winning essay. You have to bear in mind that Japan is a conservative country and that leading politicians like former trade minister Takeo Hiranuma, apparently without damaging their reputation, will say things like, „If Aiko becomes the reigning empress, and gets involved with a blue-eyed foreigner while studying abroad and marries him, their child may be emperor. We should never let that happen.“ So, if Tamogami was dismissed because of his essay you can imagine how extreme its content must have been. Among other things he said in it that "it is a false accusation to say (Japan) was an aggressor nation" during World War II and that it was rather drawn into the war by Chiang Kai-shek and Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had allegedly been manipulated by the Comintern.
The essay also argues that the war brought prosperity to occupied China, Taiwan and Korea (!!! they are still falling over themselves for
), that "it is often those who never directly saw the Japanese military who are spreading rumors about the army's act of brutality" and that the Greater East Asia War is viewed in a positive way by many Asian countries. (Yeah, sure that is why they are so enthusiastic about the Japanese prime minister visiting Yasukuni.
) Tamogami also criticized the war crimes trials which followed the war. That was even too much for prime minister Taro Aso (really no leftist at all and himself a vocal opponent of female succession) who called Tamogami decision's to write this essay "extremely inappropriate".
Well, in the next year it was young Takeda who won this marvellous prize with his aforementioned essay...
The sponsor of the contest, a prominent businessman called Takeda “the chosen one”
So, I am sorry to say it, but there are quite a few “young dinosaurs” in Japan, so to speak.
As I recall, before Hisahito was conceived, there were some calls, from this very vocal and very conservative minority to bring back concubines!
From what I read, most in Japanese government who would not go for that - did not want the rest of the modern world to think Japan was that backwards. Any truth to that?
Actually, it was a member of the imperial family, Prince Tomohito of Mikasa, who proposed it although imperial family members are supposed to absolutely refrain from commenting on political matters. (Neither the emperor nor the crown prince have ever publicly given an opinion.) "I wholeheartedly support it," the prince wrote about a revival of the concubine system, "but I think that the social mood inside and outside the country may make it a little difficult." This proposal was never seriously considered but it changed the atmosphere - for worse. http://www.taipeitimes.co...s/2005/12/29/2003286524/2
Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, chairman of the succession advisory panel and president of the National Institute of Advanced Industry, Science and Technology, admitted to being 'very unhappy' at the prince's comments. 'It is quite possible that they would have an influence on society's thinking but they were beyond the scope of our discussions,' he said. In the month since the report was submitted to the government to be examined, Professor Yoshikawa has been permanently accompanied by two bodyguards. His report is unpopular in right-wing circles, which have in the past attacked individuals who do not show what they believe is the appropriate amount of respect to an institution many still believe is headed by a demigod.http://www.scmp.com/porta...60a0a0aRCRD&s=Archive
Prince Tomohito's comments are encouraging these groups' opposition, the professor believes. And now he fears for his safety.
'This outburst, I think, took the Japanese by surprise because it's very clearly an honest outpouring of the prince's personal feelings, but I also think it shows how a quintessential member of the Imperial Household like him is so completely out of touch with reality,' said Noriko Hama, a professor at Kyoto's Doshisha University. 'It looks as if he is panicking because all that he has ever believed in and upheld was wrapped up in the imperial family and the Japanese nation, and now he sees it crumbling before his eyes,' he said. 'It seems he does not think very highly of the Crown Prince or the Crown Princess because he sees them as modernisers. 'He has obviously had a very different upbringing in a very different era and he sees himself as the last line of defence of the male line being continued in the imperial family,' he said, adding that a clear family feud was occurring behind the palace walls between those who wish to bring the monarchy into the modern era and those fighting to keep it untouched and untouchable.