Regarding the Feb. 7 Associated Press article “Crown Princess panned for living high“: The Crown Princess’s free-time activities make up one of the biggest nonstories I think I’ve ever read. Going riding and dining at a Mexican restaurant are hardly indulgences that are going to tip the country back into economic turmoil (¥10,000 yen is hardly an outrageous price tag for dinner anyway).

The press should just leave the poor woman in peace. I know it’s the job of the tabloids to invent stories, but there are stories to be had elsewhere that will not add to the unhappiness of an already remarkably unhappy woman.

The Japanese royal family is a thoroughly useless institution, a bad anachronistic joke. Since it contributes nothing to Japan or the rest of the world, it makes no difference whether Princess Masako fulfills her “duties” or not. It’s sad that the public seems mean enough to begrudge her any fleeting glimpse of happiness.

Princess Masako made a mistake marrying into such a stifling, unforgiving environment. People, even highly intelligent people like her, make mistakes. The least that people lucky enough to live outside the oppression of the palace walls can do is to offer her some degree of humanity.

david blecken