Doctors Update on Crown Princess Masako’s Condition
Doctors treating Japan’s Crown Princess Masako released a statement about her current condition Friday, saying she is prone to fatigue. The Crown Princess has been suffering from a stress induced condition for about ten years and has mostly withdrawn from public life.
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48 year old Masako is “in a situation where her health condition can easily worsen due to accumulated fatigue,” said the statement disclosed Friday by grand master Kyoji Komachi.
But Komachi also said, ”It does not mean that the Crown Princess’ conditions are getting worse. I would like people to warmly watch the Crown Princess.”
The medical team said it recommends that the Crown Princess take sufficient rest before slowly expanding her royal activities.
Masako was a career diplomat before marrying Crown Prince Naruhito in 1993. Once she entered the imperial family, she was placed under enormous pressure to give birth to a male heir. That pressure weighed heavily on her and increased when she delivered a girl, Princess Aiko in 2001.
Starting in 2003, Masako withdrew from public life and rarely does any royal duties.
Sources: House of Japan, Japan Times
Crown Princess Masako Talks About Disaster Victims, Illness
The wife of the heir to the Japanese throne marks her 48th birthday today. Crown Princess Masako has been seen little over the years due to a stress induced mental illness.
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But this year, she often accompanied husband Crown Prince Naruhito to the areas hit hard by the March earthquake-tsunami and also meet with evacuees. Many wondered if this was the rebirth of Masako.
Yes, says the medical team helping her with her recovery, but not so much.
The doctors said it was “ill-minded” for the media to say the Crown Princess had completely healed.
“We cannot expect a quick recovery as far as the situation is not improved,” they said.
For nearly nine years, Masako has nearly dropped out of public life altogether because of her problems. She has been taking medication and speaks to counselors.
As part of her birthday, she released a statement where she talked about the March disaster.
“I shall deeply bear in my mind feelings of people in the disaster-hit areas and continue to watch over the path to their recovery,” the Crown Princess said, adding that the disaster was “too shocking to put into words”.
Masako also talked about her only child, Princess Aiko, who turned 10 last week. “The issue of Aiko’s school life has taken up a large part of my daily life this year.”
Since last year, Aiko has been accompanied by her mother to Gakushuin school, where she experienced anxiety caused by rowdy schoolboys. But things are getting better for her. “[T]hings seem to be moving in a positive direction,” her mother said.
Japanese Crown Princely Couple Tour Tsunami Site
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During the weekend, Japan’s Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako went to Iwanuma in Miyagi prefecture to see close-up the damage done as a result of March’s tsunami after the 9.0 earthquake that struck the country.
Since the devastation, the couple have been visiting evacuees from the area at evacuation sites in Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture. This was the first time they have gone to the places where many lost their lives or their homes.
They met with Iwanuma mayor Tsneaki Iguchi who informed the royals about the damage. At one point, Naruhito and Masako bowed during their tour, as if they had prayed for those who lost their lives.
There was some concern whether the Crown Princess would accompany the heir to Iwanuma because she has been attending school with the couple’s daughter, Princess Aiko. Aiko has been experiencing anxiety due to bullying last year and Masako has been going to her daughter’s classes since then.
Apparently, Masako was able to go to Iwanuma because Aiko was off from school.
Source: Reuters, TV-Asahi
Naruhito & Masako Encourage Evacuees
Like the Emperor and Empress last week, Japan’s Crown Princely couple met with the evacuees of last month’s earthquake and tsunami at a Ajinomoto stadium-turned-shelter in western Tokyo.
Both Naruhito and Masako – in a rare public appearance – sat with about 130 evacuees on the floor, listened to their stories and gave words of encouragement.
One evacuee thanked them for their sympathy, according to the NHK. Another woman said appreciates attempts by the Imperial family, including the Emperor and Empress, to curb their power consumption to support quake survivors.
Most of the evacuees Naruhito and Masako met with were from Iwaki City and other municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture.
Sources: Reuters, Business Standard
Who’s Going – And Not Going – to William & Catherine’s Wedding
As the wedding of the year draws closer, more information is coming out about the nuptials between Prince William and Catherine Middleton. Most especially, information about who is invited is being revealed with some surprising news.
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First off, Denmark’s Crown Princely couple are not invited. Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary will be staying at home April 29th while Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik will go. This may be because the Queen is good friends with Queen Elizabeth II, William’s grandmother.
“There will be two Danish representatives, but the English monarchy has always been a bit special when it comes to who gets invited and who is not invited,” Danish royal expert Lars Sorensen said.
Also receiving invitations are neighbors from Catherine’s hometown of Bucklebury. Indian-born Chan Shingadia and wife Hash, who run the convenience store in which Catherine would stop by whenever she was in town. Also going to her wedding is Ms. Middleton’s family’s local butcher Martin Fidler and the village postman Ryan Naylor.
Additionally, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her partner Tim Mathison have been invited. This may be a surprise because Gillard has said she would like to see the monarchy be done away in Australia once Queen Elizabeth passes away.
Another surprise possibility is who might be representing Japan for the wedding. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko are invited, but it is widely rumored that Crown Prince Naruhito will go, along with wife Crown Princess Masako. Masako has not traveled abroad in many years due to her stress-induced illness. In fact, the last royal wedding she attended was Belgian Crown Prince Philippe’s 1999 wedding. If Masako does go, it would be an excitement for royal fans everywhere.
Sources: Herald Sun, Huffington Post
Emperor Akihito Expresses New Year’s Hopes
On Sunday, the Japanese Imperial family gathered on the balcony of the palace to wave to well-wishers waiting to hear Emperor Akihito’s New Year’s speech.
“At the start of this year, I wish for peace and tranquility of the world and happiness of the people,” Akihito said into the microphone as he stood behind a bullet-proof glass covering the balcony. “I wish that this year will be a good year, even slightly, for each of you.”
One day before, on New Year’s Day, the Imperial Household Agency released a statement from the Emperor, where he looked back in 2010 and looked to 2011.
“It is my hope that the New Year will be a good year for the people of Japan and the people of the world,” he said.
The Emperor expressed sympathy for those who suffered from the summer heat and the continuous economic troubles.
“I hope that people will cherish their families and community ties and support one another to overcome these challenges they are facing. I also hope that they will work together with the people of the world and do their utmost in pursuit of peace and stability.”
The Imperial Household Agency also released a few “waka” poems written by both Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. The poems talked about the Emperor climbing Mount Sekison with Prince Akishino and his family, and seeing the Daigoku-den, the former Imperial Audience Hall, when he attended a Commemorative Ceremony for the 1,300th anniversary of the capital relocation to Nara Heijo-kyo in October.
Sources: AFP, Zee News