Friday, March 16, 2007

Stressed Japanese Royals

Marrying into the ultra-traditional, cloistered Japanese Imperial Family is not, it seems, a bed of roses.

Empress Michiko is currently said to be suffering from stress-related ailments. She has previously had other stress reactions, including losing the ability to speak for a period of time.

Harvard-educated Crown Princess Masako has been suffering from depression or a stress-related illness for the last few years, which may be related in part to pressure to give birth to a male heir.

To date, the Crown Prince and Princess have one child, a daughter, Aiko. Political efforts to change succession laws so that Aiko could one day be Empress were put on hold after the Crown Prince's brother and his wife somewhat unexpectedly had a son last September, over a decade after the birth of their last child.

PRINCESS MASAKO: PRISONER OF THE CHRYSANTHEMUM THRONE by Ben Hills attempts to discern what Masako's life has been like as a royal. The book has received mixed reviews and drawn criticism from the Japanese Foreign Ministry, but is of interest in part as so little is known about the real lives of the Japanese royal family. Attempting to understand the dynamics behind the walls of the Imperial Palace is a bit like Kremlinology of old.

The Crown Prince's family looked happy to be out and about today on a vacation trip to Nagano.

Sunday Update: More from last month's London Daily Telegraph.

Newer›  ‹Older