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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Stubborn or not a good idea

Japan at the moment faces a sucession crisis, because of the lack of male heirs to the Chrysanthemum Throne. Current rules don't allow women to rule in the Asian country, in spite of the entirely ceremonial role the Emperor or Emperess

Prince Tomohito, fifth in line to the throne has a suggestion and it isn't a novel one. Concubines. I almost gave this Prince today's knucklehead award. You wonder if the Prince's support is based on his having a concubine himself.

It's time for Japan's monarchy to move into the 21st century and allow women to rule. Why not? Many of the world's remaining monarchies allow the same plus the Japanese public is sympathetic to the change. Its the stubborn ruling class that doesn't want the change.

TOKYO - With Emperor Akihito's youngest child ready to get married and move out of the Imperial Palace next week, Japan's royal family can be forgiven for having a touch of the empty nest syndrome. Problem is, it's becoming more of an empty nest crisis.

One prince's proposed solution: concubines.

With just one generation of eligible heirs left to fill the ancient Chrysanthemum Throne, the world's oldest hereditary monarchy is scrambling to replenish a rapidly dwindling line of succession, which has been strictly limited to men for well over 200 years.

But the prince's proposal — written to counter growing support for the more obvious answer, opening the throne to women — has been getting a lot of attention.

"The question is whether it is the right thing to change our unique tradition and history so easily," Akihito's cousin, Prince Tomohito, wrote in a recent essay distributed to palace officials. "Using concubines, like we used to, is one option. I'm all for it, but this might be a little difficult considering the social climate in and outside the country."

Akihito's two married sons, including Crown Prince Naruhito, have three daughters between them, and a high-powered government commission has already written a report that backs opening the throne to women. After more than a year of emotional debate, bills allowing women to reign could be sent to Parliament for approval as early as spring.

But that step, Tomohito argued, should only be considered as a last resort. The prince, who is fifth in line to the throne, also suggested emperors be allowed to adopt sons and the aristocracy be revived to create a larger pool of marriage partners and potential heirs.

In Japan, empowered empresses went out long before concubines did.

Though the late Emperor Hirohito resisted pressure to take one himself, both his father, Emperor Taisho, and his grandfather, Emperor Meiji, were the sons of concubines. Akihito, the current emperor, is Hirohito's only son.

In the 1,500 or so years that Japan's royal family has reigned, only eight empresses have ruled. The most recent was Gosakuramachi, who ascended the throne in 1763. The practice over the centuries has always been to use men whenever possible, and a 1947 law codified the tradition.

Japan's royal family is largely ceremonial and is prohibited from interfering in politics under the Constitution. But there is a lot of support for the monarchy in Japan and a genuine concern about how to resolve the succession problem.

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