View Full Version : Heirs/Heiresses to the throne

February 7th, 2006, 05:04 PM
Any bets on whether it will be a boy? Bring back the concubines!

Japan announces pregnancy of Princess Kiko
TOKYO (AP) Princess Kiko is pregnant, the Imperial Household Agency said Tuesday, raising the possibility of the first male heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne in 40 years.
<TABLE class=sidebar cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=4>http://images.usatoday.com/_common/_images/clear.gif</TD></TR><TR><TD rowSpan=2>http://images.usatoday.com/news/_photos/2006/02/07/kikoakihito-i845.jpg</TD><TD rowSpan=2>http://images.usatoday.com/_common/_images/clear.gif</TD><TD class=sidebar vAlign=top width=75>Princess Kiko, left, and her husband Prince Akishino, right, have two daughters.</TD><TD rowSpan=2>http://images.usatoday.com/_common/_images/clear.gif</TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=bottom align=left>AP file</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>The announcement comes as the government considers a plan to allow women to assume the throne for the first time in two centuries in a bid to avert a succession crisis. Kiko's husband, Prince Akishino, is second in line to the throne.
Agency chief Shingo Haketa said both Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko were delighted by the news of Kiko's pregnancy.
Japanese media, which began reporting on Kiko's pregnancy hours before the announcement, said she was due to give birth in the fall.
The news prompted applause at a Parliamentary committee meeting attended by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi earlier in the day.
"We'd like to celebrate the news with the people," said Katsuya Okada, a member of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan.
Kiko, 39, has two daughters, aged 14 and 11. Crown Prince Naruhito, first in line to the throne, has one daughter with his wife, Crown Princess Masako.
The lack of a male heir has prompted the government to consider changing a 1947 law so Naruhito's 4-year-old daughter, Aiko, could one day take the throne. The current law allows only males to reign.
Koizumi called for early consideration of the popular measure, despite criticism by conservatives and the new prospect of a male heir being born.
"If we wait, it is uncertain that a boy may or may not be born," he told lawmakers.
"To ensure the stable continuity of Japan's imperial family, we cannot put the issue off any longer. It is desirable that parliamentary debate is carried out in a calm, careful manner at the earliest opportunity."
The proposal, however, has ignited a wide-ranging debate in Japan.
Conservative opponents argue that allowing a woman to reign and pass the throne to her offspring would corrupt a millennia-old Japanese tradition, which they say is based on the maintenance of the male lineage.
Under those restrictions, a son delivered by Kiko would provide a suitable male heir.
Some critics have called for bringing back imperial concubines as were used until the early 20th century to breed male heirs. Others say the wider aristocracy, banned after World War II, should be reinstated to widen the pool of candidates for the throne.
Okada urged a cautious approach to Koizumi's proposal, saying it would be "too hasty" to push it through the current parliament.
"I find it really awkward. For the future stability of the royal family, we should give enough time to allow more thorough discussion," he said.
In the 1,500 or so years that Japan's royal family has reigned, only eight empresses have ruled. The most recent was Gosakuramachi, who ascended the throne in 1763. The practice over the centuries has always been to use men whenever possible, and the 1947 law codified the tradition.
Last month, at the annual imperial verse reading ceremony, with its theme on children, both Akishino and Kiko wrote about storks.
The agency denied the poems indicated the possibility of the couple having a third child, saying they were simply recalling a visit to a ceremony last year in which protected storks were released into the wild.
Baby goods stocks jumped following the reports of Kiko's pregnancy, although the benchmark Nikkei was slightly down.


February 8th, 2006, 04:53 AM
Does it make you broody, Snoop?

February 8th, 2006, 08:45 AM
Does it make you broody, Snoop?I'm not sure why you asked - but no. I think the Japanese figurehead is as silly as the British figurehead.

Aristocrats, royalty - it's all the same to me - foreign.

February 10th, 2006, 06:46 AM
I have no idea what the Shinto religion is all about, but I'll read up on it later.

At issue is the country's much-respected -- and obsessively cloistered -- Imperial Family, considered by many to be the ultimate symbol of Japan's ethnic, cultural and even spiritual identity. Before 1945, the Emperor was considered a deity, and he still stands at the head of the native Shinto religion.

"If Princess Aiko becomes the reigning Empress, and gets involved with a blue-eyed foreigner while studying abroad and marries him, their child may be the Emperor," Hiranuma told a gathering of reform opponents. "We should never let that happen." Why not?


February 12th, 2006, 12:32 AM
I'm not sure why you asked - but no. I think the Japanese figurehead is as silly as the British figurehead.

Aristocrats, royalty - it's all the same to me - foreign.
It shouldn't be, what with your endless streams of Kennedys and Bushes.

February 12th, 2006, 04:18 AM
It shouldn't be, what with your endless streams of Kennedys and Bushes.- for four years at a time.