In Support of an Empress

This has been in the works for a while, but apparently the cogs of bureaucracy have started moving:

The panel last week recommended revising Japanese law to give an emperor’s first-born child of either sex the right to head the world’s oldest hereditary monarchy.

The revision, if approved, is expected to make Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako’s only child Aiko — who celebrated her 4th birthday Thursday — second in line to the throne, behind her father.


Support for the change is high. A recent poll by the nationwide newspaper Asahi showed 78 percent of the respondents were in favor of a reigning empress.

78% popular support doesn’t suck. It’s not the prime ministry, but the imperial family is a huge part of Japanese culture and, if nothing else, they serve as the cultural and spiritual leaders of the country. And, there’s something to be said of changing sexist laws, even if only because there doesn’t seem to be any other choice.

Via feminist.

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2 thoughts on “In Support of an Empress

  1. Hopefully, there will never be an Empress of Japan. Instead, maybe before Aiko has the chance to ascend to the throne, the Japanese will wisen up and realized that the only thing more anachronistic in the 21st Century then sexist lines of succession is an hereditary monarchy.

    But barring that development, yeah, this is a good thing.

  2. I’m not sure that you understand the symbolic importance of Japan’s monarchy to its people.

    Since the end of WWII, the imperial family has been officially out of politics, though for several centuries before that they have been figure heads in support of whatever Shogun was in power at the time. But their importance is not so much in the political arena, but in the cultural/spirtual one.

    Monarchs in many countries around the world act much like celebrities (although with a slightly different set of cultural traditions surrounding them). We could spend hours discussing the pros and cons of celebrity culture, but the facts are that a Japanese Empress is no better or worse than, say, Sarah Michelle Gellar. And, like Gellar with her character Buffy, when Aiko becomes Empress it creates an opportunity for her to be an example of a woman in an important leadership position. Indeed, the law itself would ensure that she would be just one of many such examples; the days when there were 200+ years between Empresses would be at an end.

    If the Japanese people get used to seeing a woman in their oldest standing position of authority, then who’s to say that it won’t subtly influence the way they look at women in the political sphere and/or the business one?

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