Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Is Princess Aiko's loss Japan's gain?

National rejoicing greeted the birth of a male heir to the Japanese Chrysanthemum throne today. The first male born to the family since 1965. The birth of the unnamed prince effectively ends any move to revise the succession laws to allow Princess Aiko, the only child of the Crown Prince and Princess of Japan to succeed. Of course it is certainly politically correct for politicians to say that the debate will continue, paying lip service to the female population of Japan, who today had further confirmation of the inequality of their sex. However, tradition trumps change and progress.

When Princess Aiko was born in 2001, eight years after the marriage of her parents, it sparked a succession crisis which seemed inevitable until it was announced in February that Princess Kiko, wife of the second son of the Emperor was pregnant with her third child. Princess Aiko as a female could not, according to the present succession laws, succeed to the throne.

Thankfully Aiko, at four years old, is too young to fully realize what she's lost. The opportunity to make a change. To be a symbol of equality to Japanese women. Her parents may be relieved that she doesn't have to shoulder the burden of such a lofty position, but as the first and only child of the Crown Prince and Princess she has been deprived of a birthright otherwise denied to her because of her sex.

Should this new child have been a girl, Aiko might still have had a chance. Now we can only wonder what might have been. The new prince is now third in line to the throne, behind his uncle, the Crown Prince and his father. The status quo has been maintained and traditionalists can breathe a sigh of relief until the next generation. One thing is for certain, we have not heard the last of this issue.

© Marilyn Braun 2006

5 comments:

Trudie said...

Sad that in today's world the Japanese are ahead with technology and backwards when it comes to sex and equality for woman.

Gooch said...

As an American, it is fascinating to me a country that still has issues with succession to the throne, based on the gender of a child.

What I would normally take for granted, I find it amazing just how big of a country altering change a female successor to the throne would be.

It's said to think of what Princess Aiko has missed out on, and the opportunity for change that was taken her, before she was old to even defend her right to it.

Kappa no He said...

I think it is all very suspicious myself. Kiko was so pressured into this pregnancy. And I can't help thinking the Japanese believe that their country was founded by a woman, Amaterasu. What happened?

Talia Mana said...

Trudie said...
Sad that in today's world the Japanese are ahead with technology and backwards when it comes to sex and equality for woman.

Well said, Trudie. I feel saddest for the mother. I wonder if she has much intellectual stimulation? It must be heartbreaking for her that her role in life now is one of egg donor rather than using her intelligence and skills.

Perhaps that's just me. I personally couldn't be satisfied with that life. It sounds so limiting.

I think Princess Aiko is lucky. She won't have to spend her entire life attending official functions. I doubt she'll get much freedom but she may not get so much pressure to marry and produce an heir at the earliest opportunity.

Laurie said...

I also find it interesting that a country so technologically ahead is still behind in this area.

I wonder how the Japanese people feel about it. Do they see this as much of an issue as we do?