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Re: Question re Imperial Princesses marrying
Im not sure how the Japanese would view a marriage of one of their Princesses to a foreign royal. It is my understanding that in order to remain a member of the Japanese Imperial family after marriage a princess has to marry within the family.
The problem with a reigning empress is that she cannot perform all the Shinto rituals an emperor performs and that without male line heirs of a line that is supposed to exist for 2600 years she would have no successors.
I find the comparison with the Papacy a practical one. A pope is always a man (excluding the legend of Popess Joan) and that has gone on so for 2000 years. The Japanese imperial succession is 6 centuries older and will like the papacy not easily change it rules.
the Japanese Imperial family used to have a lot of side branches descending from an earlier emperor in the male line. Only the main line was kept as the Imperial family in 1947.
One of the solutions suggested before the birth of Mako's brother Hisahito was to re-elevate some of those branches back to Imperial status so they would provide male heirs as well as potential husbands for the Imperial princesses. Had Mako married a man belonging to the Imperial family she would have remained HIH and a Princess.
The birth of Hisahito has stopped all of that. If he and his future wife will not produce male offspring adopting a son from a collateral branch might be another solution to continue the line (it happened before).
Even the Empresses that did reign in their own right were male line descendants of a previous emperor and were succeeded by other male line descendants. Making it a vital part of Japanese succession.
Thank you, Johan, for your reply! Do I understand you correct, that - with the current situation - the imperial princesses lose their titles and their place in the JIF whomever they marry, because there are no equal men to marry? Or could an imperial princess keep their titles and membership to the JIF, if she'd marry a foreign nobleman of "appropriate" (royal) rank?
The fact, that there were Empresses in earlier times made me always wonder what the true problem was that Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako 'only' had a daughter, Princess Aiko.