Condition of the Crown Princess

The June 11 Kyodo story “Crown Prince marks two decades of marriage, happy wife is on the mend” continues the parade of euphemisms about the Crown Princess and the Imperial Household Agency.

In the past we have read the words “mental illness” in relation to the princess’s health, but the wishy-washy sounding “adjustment disorder due to stress” is more common these days. Maybe its use is a face-saving decision because the phantom of “mental illness” is too treacherous for journalists to provoke.

But the fact is that Masako Owada went into the Imperial family a healthy vivacious woman, and the goblins of the Imperial Household Agency drove her mad or at least mentally ill. I regret that she will be “on the mend” for the rest of her earthly life. So is the Imperial Household Agency a threat to, not a protector of, the health and safety of the Imperial Family? It is fitting that it be subject to independent external review.

And I don’t think I would describe the princess as a “happy wife.” That’s the naive and wishful thinking of a domestic fantasy while the evidence of the last decade suggests the opposite.

I don’t understand why The Japan Times continually highlights that the Crown Princess, like Empress Michiko before her, was “a commoner before marriage.” Of course she was! How could she not be, considering that the ranks of the aristocracy in this country are so thin? The aristocracy in Japan is so small compared to elsewhere that the threats of inbreeding demand that every royal spouse in Japan be netted from the general population all the time.

Reminders that they were once commoners are not inspiring, so why keep mentioning it? I know, it’s an ingredient in the princess story program. Her mental condition is also part of the program, and the culture does not allow for a change of channel — at least not under current conditions.

grant piper

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

  • zer0_0zor0

    It is very significant that they were commoners.

    For approximately 1,000 years the emperor was permitted to take wives only from among the five regent houses (derived from the northern branch of the Fujiwara) or collateral families of the imperial family.

    The history is too involved to go into here, but it is there for those interested in studying about Japan.