SFU English 380: Mutilation and Foreign Relations in the Japanese Novel

A class blog for students of English 380 - "Literature in Translation" - at Simon Fraser University in Autumn 2005.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Will Japan Accept a Female Monarch?

TOKYO AP Oct 25, 2005 — An advisory panel on Japan's monarchy will propose allowing women to ascend the throne, the chairman said Tuesday, in a boost to a measure that has broad support in Japan and could relieve pressure on the imperial family to produce a male heir.

Full story here.
The inability of the Japanese Royal family to produce a male heir -- also, a robust male heir -- is an unspoken anxiety among the Japanese nationalist cults.

Update: Nope! Looks like the Japanese Royal establishment is clamping down on the side of absolute andrarchy
TOKYO (Reuters) - A cousin of Japan's Emperor Akihito has questioned proposals to allow a woman to ascend the Chrysanthemum Throne, urging that other options such as reviving pre-war princely houses and the practice of royal concubines, should be onsidered first to maintain the male imperial line.


At 8:46 AM, Blogger Louise28 said...

Interesting that the Japanese are insisting on a male heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne. It does not matter that someone of royal blood, what matters is the sex of the heir to the throne. This attitude is reflected in Banana Yoshimoto’s Asleep in which the lives of the woman characters do not seem to mean much. They do not matter in terms of what has meaning in their society. It is not that they are hated but rather that society is indifferent to them as people. If the princess was problematic in terms of her personality, then that would seem to be a legitimate consideration for the Japanese to reject her, but it is her sex. Considering that in the distant past they did have eight women monarchs, but not since 1771, there is also the issue of how the Japanese want to be translated to the rest of the world. Japan wishes to appear strong and indomitable as represented in a male. Therefore, even if a female heir happened to be a fierce aikido master and a successful businesswoman, essentially because she is a woman she is denied access.

At 4:22 PM, Blogger Amy said...

I am very interested in the idea that she was denied access.
When I imagine the experience of choice-making in Japan, I imagine that it is basically a matter of the options you have available, which are closely regulated by culture. Overtly, it seems that women have lower status, since the option of becoming Empress is unavailable. Nonetheless, her feminin potency takes over the limelight, especially in the absence of one who is culturally acceptable. Whether or not a female sits on the thrown may not be a true reflection of feminin power in Japan. Rather, the fact that the question of a women in cultural power makes everyoe uncomfortable, defines the state of female potency in Japan to me.



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