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The Komuro Affair: Nikkei's take


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
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A would-be prince kissed to a frog by the media with the help of the Imperial Household Agency: an opinion piece on Japan's imperial wedding drama.


Kei Komuro and Princess Mako in 2017

Japan's imperial wedding drama a clash between old and new​

Westerners inculcated with modern democratic values will wonder what the fuss is about. Soon after the princess and Komuro announced their engagement in 2017, Japanese gossip magazines began to report "financial problems" between Komuro's widowed mother and an unnamed Mr. A described as her "former fiance." Mr. A, it was reported, had "loaned" Komuro's mother 4 million yen ($36,000) back in 2010 before their engagement was terminated. Mr. A told the magazines that the "debt" had not been repaid. Modern-minded Westerners will be surprised, and indeed offended, that a dispute over a relatively small sum between Komuro's mother and ex-boyfriend should have any bearing on her son or his wedding plans. After all, modern democratic values emphatically reject the ancient belief in collective tribal guilt, that the son is responsible for the father's sins. So, too, we have moved on from the related pre-modern notion that one must not marry outside of one's tribe, or below or above one's station. Ah, but there's the rub. Monarchy itself is anti-democratic. It is a status handed down from father to son based on blood, not individual merit. Outside Japan, that one's intended marriage partner's parents declared personal bankruptcy or divorced is no longer an insurmountable barrier. In Japan, "good family backgrounds" still matter, especially for the older sister of a future Emperor.

And the conclusion:

The messy drama shows that it is naive to expect that modern democratic values and the ancient codes embedded in a hereditary monarchy can be easily reconciled. If Komuro and Princess Mako plow ahead with an official wedding and the associated benefits and privileges, public opinion will strongly disapprove. Fair or not, the Imperial institution will be diminished in the public eye. The only dignified path forward for Komuro and Princess Mako is to renounce all Imperial benefits and privileges and live their lives as ordinary Japanese citizens.

Source: Japan's imperial wedding drama a clash between old and new

Love or the filthy lucre, what will it be?


Sailing away...
3 Aug 2007
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The media will win, either way it sells copy! :(

This is also why some traditions / traditional thinking should just die off.
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