Today the wife of the Emperor’s second son, Princess Kiko, gave birth to the imperial family’s first new male member in more than 40 years. There had been an unusual amount of interest in this pregnancy and speculation about the possible sex of the child because, in spite of there having been queens in Japan’s ancient history, the Chrysanthemum Throne does not now allow a woman to ascend it.
The child hasn’t been named yet. That will happen when he is seven days old. Apparently he and his mother are healthy, and the news was greeted across the nation with jubilation.
The resolution of the gender issue has no doubt been responsible for a lot of the pleasure the nation is feeling, but it would be a mistake to exaggerate this factor. Most, if not all, the Japanese I know and have spoken to don’t care whether it is a boy or a girl and consider the issue fusty and outdated.
PM Koizumi had been considering changing the succession law to allow women to reign, but the birth has taken the necessary driving force out of that. I personally wish that she had given birth to a girl as it would have helped stir things up a bit in this politically and socially inert nation.
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Wednesday, September 06, 2006