On Tuesday, Emperor Akihito of Japan stepped down in the first abdication of the Chrysanthemum Throne in 200 years. His son Naruhito will be installed atop the world’s oldest monarchy the next day. In Episode 3 of this series, Naruhito persuaded a reluctant diplomat named Masako to marry him. Their story continues here.
The Asahi Shimbun had the scoop. On the morning of Dec. 10, 1999, Japan’s No. 2 newspaper by circulation published the front-page headline the country had been waiting for: “Princess Masako Shows Signs of Pregnancy.”
It had been six years since a brainy young diplomat named Masako Owada gave up her career to marry Crown Prince Naruhito, the next emperor of Japan. Some predicted she would help modernize the monarchy, and perhaps even the nation itself.
Now, as the country woke to the news of her pregnancy, that prospect seemed like a fading dream. The intervening years had reduced the multilingual trade expert who had studied at Harvard and Oxford to a woman failing at the only duty in her new job that seemed to matter to Japan: producing an heir to the throne.
In the Japanese press, Masako was a walking womb in waiting. If she wore low-heeled shoes, or failed to appear at a reception, the tabloids rushed to speculate that she might be expecting. So when The Asahi Shimbun, a respectable broadsheet, published its scoop, the hoopla that followed was just an echo of what Masako had endured for years.
Reporters staked out her parents’ home. Analysts discussed whether a royal baby might help Japan’s sagging economy, or portend a reversal of its declining birthrate. A witness recalled seeing her sipping a glass of wine — gasp! — at a reception earlier in the month. One magazine gleefully guessed at the date of conception and figured out where the royal couple had spent that night, down to the large double bed in the hotel’s imperial suite.
Three weeks later, the palace held a news conference: Princess Masako had suffered a miscarriage, seven weeks into term.
The pundits criticized the palace for not canceling a royal trip to Belgium when the princess might have been pregnant. The palace criticized The Asahi Shimbun for causing the princess “extraordinary stress” by disclosing the pregnancy before formal confirmation. The princess herself disappeared from view.
Behind the royal drama was a quiet national unease — once again, the monarchy faced extinction.
The Chrysanthemum Throne has persisted for more than 15 centuries, a succession of emperors and princes made possible by an unusual variation on the practice of concubinage: For much of Japanese history, the families of the aristocracy had volunteered their daughters to serve on a rotation of part-time mistresses to the emperor, ensuring a male heir was almost always available.
But Emperor Hirohito, Naruhito’s grandfather, abolished the practice, and in 1947, the Americans pressed Japan to remove all branches of the imperial family from the line of succession except direct male descendants of the current emperor or his brothers and uncles.
The new rules, written into law, were intended to block any attempt to use another branch of the family to revive the militarism that led to World War II.
Back then, a succession crisis hardly seemed likely. Hirohito had three brothers, two sons and three eligible nephews.
By the time of Masako’s miscarriage, however, there were only a few male heirs to the throne left. Emperor Akihito’s one brother, Hitachi, had no children. Akihito’s younger son, Prince Akishino, had only two daughters. The future of the monarchy seemed to depend on his eldest son, Naruhito, and his wife, Masako.
The burden weighed heavily on the crown princess. At her first solo news conference in 1996, she felt compelled to reassure the public that she was “not in a state of depression.”
After the miscarriage, though, she did not appear in public for more than 40 days. She missed the funeral of Akihito’s mother, Empress Nagako. She also skipped the annual imperial poetry reading ceremony, though she contributed a verse:
With my husband as my guide through these seven years,our wolds of the heart grow deeper with each passing day.
Two years later, after nearly a decade of marriage, a few days before her 38th birthday, Masako finally had a child — a girl. The couple named her Aiko, meaning “love.”
But the pressure to produce a male heir remained. The palace barred Masako from making trips abroad and the news media continued to scrutinize her every action. By 2004, it was so bad that she stopped appearing at public events altogether.
Naruhito, looking grim, asked the press to back off and seemed to take a swipe at palace officials for restricting his wife’s travel.
“We are well aware of the importance of the issue of the succession, and hope that we will be able to live our lives in peace without pressure from those around us,” he said. “I think it would be better if Princess Masako could go out with a little more freedom and be able to do a variety of things.”
There was, of course, a seemingly simple solution. Japan could change the law to allow women to take the throne. That would add Akihito’s three granddaughters — little Aiko and her two cousins, Mako and Kako — to the line of succession.
Junichiro Koizumi, the prime minister in the early 2000s whose lion’s mane of hair and promises of reform made him popular with voters, pledged to make the change “in order that the imperial throne be continued in a stable manner.” The Asahi Shimbun endorsed the idea too, as did a clear majority in polls of public opinion.
But the proposal drew fierce opposition, especially from the nationalist wing of Mr. Koizumi’s party. One former cabinet minister called the imperial family’s male line “the precious, precious treasure of the Japanese race.”
Before the matter could come to a vote, fate intervened. Naruhito’s brother and his wife, Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, had a third child — a boy — giving the emperor a grandson. They named him Hisahito.
For another generation at least, the male line of the Chrysanthemum Throne seemed secure.
And, finally, the pressure was off Masako, Japan’s next empress.
Makiko Inoue and Hisako Ueno contributed reporting.B:
【等】【了】【半】【个】【多】【小】【时】，【一】【位】【穿】【着】【道】【袍】【的】【周】【大】【师】，【风】【风】【火】【火】【的】【走】【了】【进】【来】。 【这】【位】【周】【大】【师】，【在】【接】【到】【孙】【云】【凡】【的】【通】【知】【之】【后】，【立】【马】【带】【着】【各】【种】【驱】【魔】【道】【具】【以】【及】【符】【纸】，【火】【速】【赶】【了】【过】【来】。 【到】【达】【现】【场】【之】【后】，【周】【大】【师】【看】【着】【叶】【晨】，【哟】【呵】，【一】【个】【黄】【毛】【小】【子】，【也】【敢】【放】【肆】。 “【小】【子】，【是】【你】【质】【疑】【我】【的】【道】【法】，【说】【我】【的】【平】【安】【符】【是】【害】【人】【的】【玩】【意】【儿】？” 【叶】【晨】
“【你】【说】【呢】！”【玄】【胤】【眼】【光】【宠】【溺】【的】【看】【着】【财】【迷】【样】【子】【的】【夜】【小】【妤】，【胸】【口】【一】【片】【柔】【软】。 【夜】【小】【妤】【闻】【言】，【感】【激】【的】【看】【着】【玄】【胤】【说】【道】：“【玄】【胤】，【谢】【谢】【你】！” 【玄】【胤】【一】【愣】：“【谢】【什】【么】？【你】【马】【上】【就】【是】【本】【王】【的】【妻】【子】，【本】【王】【的】【一】【切】【都】【是】【你】【的】，【你】【的】【也】【将】【是】【本】【王】【的】，【我】【们】【不】【分】【彼】【此】！” 【夜】【小】【妤】【听】【到】【玄】【胤】【的】【话】，【胸】【口】【一】【震】，【一】【种】【异】【样】【的】【情】【绪】【在】【心】【中】【发】【酵】
“【三】【哥】，【至】【于】【吗】？” 【她】【暗】【淡】【地】【垂】【下】【眼】【眸】，【房】【间】【里】【那】【个】【女】【人】【又】【不】【是】【什】【么】【重】【点】【保】【护】【对】【象】，【至】【于】【这】【么】【严】【防】【死】【守】【的】【吗】？ 【叶】【轻】【浔】【给】【了】【她】【一】【个】【更】【为】【疑】【惑】【的】【眼】【神】。 【莫】【秋】【研】【干】【脆】【打】【开】【天】【窗】【说】【亮】【话】，“【你】【若】【不】【是】【防】【着】【我】，【又】【怎】【会】【将】【屋】【外】【的】【视】【线】【完】【全】【挡】【住】？” 【反】【正】，【不】【管】【三】【哥】【怎】【么】【解】【释】，【她】【都】【不】【会】【相】【信】——【他】【对】【她】【没】【有】【一】【点】【防】管理学季刊官网“【你】【一】【会】【儿】【记】【得】【小】【心】【说】【话】，【毕】【竟】【我】【也】【不】【知】【道】【清】【云】【会】【对】【你】【做】【些】【什】【么】，【你】【惹】【了】【我】【倒】【是】【没】【什】【么】【事】，【但】【是】【你】【连】【她】【都】【惹】【了】，【那】【你】【的】【好】【日】【子】【就】【有】【可】【能】【到】【头】【了】。” 【林】【依】【晓】【一】【想】【到】【这】【里】【就】【不】【自】【觉】【的】【为】【洛】【辰】【默】【哀】【三】【秒】【钟】，“【你】【觉】【得】【她】【会】【怎】【么】【处】【理】【我】？” 【其】【实】【洛】【辰】【也】【挺】【好】【奇】【的】，【慕】【清】【云】【会】【用】【什】【么】【方】【法】【来】【处】【理】【他】，【虽】【说】【之】【前】【他】【就】【已】【经】【听】【说】
“【哎】【哟】【我】【不】【行】【了】，【累】【死】【了】。”【倪】【初】【心】【退】【到】【操】【场】【一】【边】【气】【喘】【吁】【吁】【地】【说】【道】。【看】【着】【乔】【安】【依】【旧】【活】【力】【满】【满】【地】【在】【那】【东】【奔】【西】【跑】，【不】【禁】【感】【叹】【体】【育】【生】【果】【然】【就】【是】【不】【一】【样】，【体】【力】【太】【好】【了】，【她】【现】【在】【可】【是】【一】【点】【也】【跑】【不】【动】【了】。 “【快】【把】【外】【套】【穿】【上】~”【不】【知】【什】【么】【时】【候】【余】【向】【乘】【也】【退】【出】【了】【混】【战】，【出】【现】【在】【倪】【初】【心】【面】【前】。 “【可】【是】【我】【现】【在】【有】【点】【热】~”【倪】【初】【心】【看】【着】【被】
【听】【到】【面】【前】“【紫】【苑】”【的】【话】，【小】【李】【一】【脸】【尴】【尬】【随】【后】【道】：“【足】【穗】，【你】【这】【秘】【术】【真】【厉】【害】，【跟】【真】【的】【一】【模】【一】【样】【啊】……” 【足】【穗】【面】【无】【表】【情】【的】【撇】【了】【一】【眼】，【随】【后】【在】【小】【李】【的】【一】【声】【长】【叹】【下】，【足】【穗】【将】【背】【包】【中】【和】【紫】【苑】【一】【模】【一】【样】【的】【衣】【服】【穿】【上】【道】：“【那】【么】【我】【该】【跟】【谁】【一】【起】【走】，【吸】【引】【他】【们】【的】【注】【意】？” 【然】【而】【不】【等】【佐】【井】【与】【宁】【次】【回】【答】，【就】【听】【到】【小】【李】【大】【叫】【一】【声】“【我】【来】！
【肖】【静】【腾】【发】【出】【了】【哀】【嚎】。 【这】【种】【场】【面】，【他】【太】【熟】【悉】【了】。 【自】【己】【的】【身】【子】【被】【人】【按】【倒】，【动】【弹】【不】【得】，【几】【个】【壮】【汉】【开】【始】【绑】【缚】。 【绑】【缚】【的】【很】【专】【业】，【如】【粽】【子】【似】【的】。 【为】【首】【的】【一】【个】，【直】【接】【将】【他】【拎】【起】【来】，【此】【人】【胳】【膊】【能】【跑】【马】，【犹】【如】【拎】【小】【鸡】【一】【般】，【轻】【而】【易】【举】【的】【将】【肖】【静】【腾】【提】【起】【了】【起】【来】。 【肖】【静】【腾】【难】【以】【置】【信】，【刚】【才】【还】【说】【的】【好】【好】【的】【呢】，【刚】【才】【还】……
【第】376【章】【要】【开】【始】【了】4 【见】【韩】【绮】【罗】【一】【脸】【怀】【疑】【的】【看】【着】【自】【己】，【欧】【阳】【然】【也】【意】【识】【到】【自】【己】【的】【行】【为】【有】【点】【反】【常】，【忙】【干】【笑】【着】【解】【释】【道】：“【这】【个】，【我】【是】【觉】【得】【你】【拿】【着】【这】【样】【的】【东】【西】【有】【点】【不】【太】【好】。” “【不】【太】【好】？” “【你】【想】【想】【啊】，【这】【可】【是】【个】【从】【车】【祸】【现】【场】【捡】【回】【来】【的】【袖】【扣】，【你】【难】【道】【不】【感】【觉】【很】【晦】【气】【吗】？” 【听】【了】【他】【的】【话】，【韩】【绮】【罗】【直】【接】【笑】【了】，“【晦】【气】