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Old 05-10-2019, 10:44 AM
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Marriage and Japanese royalty and commoners


Inspired by this post. Apparently marriage of a Japanese royal to a commoner is morganatic, removing them from the line of succession. But who in Japan is a commoner? Or rather, who in Japan is sufficiently noble to not make marriage morganatic? Would marriage to foreign royalty or nobility be morganatic? I note Tonga, for example, has a prince who is single, Prince Ata.
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Old 05-10-2019, 11:25 AM
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It's my understanding that only Japanese royalty count. Note the males can marry commoners, and retain their status, but females cannot. The current Emperor and the recently retired Emperor married commoners, as well as the Crown Prince. Actually, now Japan now longer has aristocracy outside of the Imperial Family.

At the end of WWII, United States was concerned that an outsider could marry into the Imperial Family and gain power, so they pushed the Japanese to reduce the line of succession to the descendants of Emperor Taisho, father of Emperor Hirohito (Emperor Showa). There had been a rather large system of various princes, counts, barons, and such, and this was eliminated as well. Many had been involved in the war, including some generals, as well as a prime minister shortly before the war.

The decision was made to allow the emperor to retain the throne, but to strip him of all political power, and to eliminate the aristocracy, another source of potential power.

Last edited by TokyoBayer; 05-10-2019 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 05-11-2019, 12:16 AM
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At the end of WWII, United States was concerned that an outsider could marry into the Imperial Family and gain power, so they pushed the Japanese to reduce the line of succession to the descendants of Emperor Taisho, father of Emperor Hirohito (Emperor Showa).
I never understood why they thought that an "outsider" would be more of a concern. Why would they assume that the grandson of the emperor inheriting the throne wouldn't be a problem, but the grandson of his cousin was likely to be one?
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Old 05-11-2019, 02:23 AM
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According to my left elbow, they were actually thinking "not-American foreigner" rather than what actually ended up being implemented. "Suspicion that the royal policies might be influenced by the nationality of origin of the royal spouse" is quite a recurring theme in history.

Last edited by Nava; 05-11-2019 at 02:26 AM.
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Old 05-11-2019, 03:58 AM
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Has the royal family ever married non-japanese?
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Old 05-11-2019, 04:53 AM
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I'm no expert but I think there were Korean/Japanese marriages.
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Old 05-11-2019, 09:45 AM
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I never understood why they thought that an "outsider" would be more of a concern. Why would they assume that the grandson of the emperor inheriting the throne wouldn't be a problem, but the grandson of his cousin was likely to be one?
i’m not sure why this has its own thread, but in the other thread I talked about how the Emperor and his family live in gilded cages. Obviously the more control there is over a family, the less likely that someone would act out.

Emperor Taisho was the only son of Emperor Meiji to survive to adulthood. He had sisters who had children but they would not have contributed to the line of succession as it’s strictly through male linage.

It’s actually worse than that. You have to go back to the 1600s to find any emperor who fathered more than one son who survived until adulthood.

So it wasn’t a first cousin that they were worried about but a ninth (or so).

There were several cadet branches which went back many hundreds of years and which were removed.

This can’t really looked at from the modern perspective of a quiet and peaceful Japan but has to be examined from the historical circumstances.

There were many, many people among the Allies who wanted to eliminate the position of Emperor. Placing strict controls one method of reassuring these people that Japan wouldn’t repeat the same history.
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According to my left elbow, they were actually thinking “not-American foreigner” rather than what actually ended up being implemented. "Suspicion that the royal policies might be influenced by the nationality of origin of the royal spouse" is quite a recurring theme in history.
No. You need to stop listening to your left elbow. It flunked history. ;-)

Japan has not had the same history of foreigners interfering with the imperial family. Europe swapped royals around but the Japanese have only had Japanese.


Except that they’re Koreans. The Imperial family started with the Yamato family in the sixth century. They were descendants of Koreans from the Paekche Kingdom. People don’t like to talk about that, though.
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Old 05-11-2019, 11:17 AM
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No. You need to stop listening to your left elbow. It flunked history. ;-)

Japan has not had the same history of foreigners interfering with the imperial family. Europe swapped royals around but the Japanese have only had Japanese.
It wasn't the Japanese who were afraid of outside interference, it was the Americans. You of all people should be conscious that those two happen to be different countries and of Americans' bias regarding world history (every country has its biases, of course, but the American bias is certainly a lot more UK-centric than Japan-centric).
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Last edited by Nava; 05-11-2019 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 05-11-2019, 11:51 AM
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It wasn't the Japanese who were afraid of outside interference, it was the Americans. You of all people should be conscious that those two happen to be different countries and of Americans' bias regarding world history (every country has its biases, of course, but the American bias is certainly a lot more UK-centric than Japan-centric).
No. The Americans were not concerned at that at all. The Americans knew that the Japanese Imperial Family would never accept foreigners into the family.

The Americans had just fought the bloodiest war in history and was in no mood to repeat it.

There was never a concern by the Americans or the Japanese about foreign influence on the Imperial Family.

Period.
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Old 05-13-2019, 08:05 AM
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Emperor Taisho was the only son of Emperor Meiji to survive to adulthood. He had sisters who had children but they would not have contributed to the line of succession as itís strictly through male linage. .
Isn't it also anyone's guess who fathered Taisho's son? Hint, it probably wasn't Taisho...
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Old 05-13-2019, 08:59 AM
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So it wasnít a first cousin that they were worried about but a ninth (or so).

There were several cadet branches which went back many hundreds of years and which were removed.
I still don't get it. Why would the ninth cousin, or the member of a cadet branch, more likely to be a problem than the son or grandson?
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Old 05-13-2019, 09:13 AM
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It's about genetic purity.
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Old 05-13-2019, 10:27 AM
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So, let's say a Japanese prince married Princess Charlotte, would that be morganatic? How about a Saudi princess?
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Old 05-13-2019, 10:47 AM
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I still don't get it. Why would the ninth cousin, or the member of a cadet branch, more likely to be a problem than the son or grandson?
Because the son and grandson are raised in guilded cages so they have been indoctrinated from childhood. They have been educated within the Imperial System. They go to elite schools, but they are raised with the expectations of some day becoming the emperor or a member of the Imperial Family so the are constantly being molded into the expected person.

Offspring from cadet branches are outside of the control of the Imperial Household.

As was shown the other thread, the Imperial Household Agency actually controls a lot and harassed the retired emperor’s wife, especially when she newly married to the Crown Prince.

The current Empress was harassed as well in the past, and the then Crown Prince made a public complaint. An outsider would have likely been much more vocal or taken other steps. All conjuncture on my part, of course.

Now in 2019, after almost 75 years of peaceful existence we are used to quiet Japanese royalty, but at the end of WWII, it would not have been as easy to see that.
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Old 05-13-2019, 11:11 AM
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So, let's say a Japanese prince married Princess Charlotte, would that be morganatic? How about a Saudi princess?
Did you read the thread?
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Old 05-13-2019, 11:16 AM
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From a broad historic perspective, offspring from cadet branches offers a competing quasi-legitimate focus for dissenting groups to rally around. Think birthers: you decide that the current emperor isn't legitimate for whatever reason, which means this other guy is, and you use that claim to legitimize a rebellion/coup. It doesn't matter if the actual descendant is the instigator: he may be almost a prisoner of the actual agents. All that matter is that as long as he exists, he provides a potential competing narrative.

This is why Ottoman emperors had all their brothers killed, down to toddlers; they were tools, even before they could talk.
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Old 05-13-2019, 12:39 PM
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Did you read the thread?
Yes I have; I've obviously missed the answer.
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Old 05-13-2019, 05:34 PM
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Marriage and Japanese royalty and commoners


nm

Last edited by TokyoBayer; 05-13-2019 at 05:38 PM.
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Old 05-13-2019, 06:00 PM
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Yes I have; I've obviously missed the answer.
Post 2, the first answer to your OP. It directly answers your question.
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Old 05-13-2019, 07:34 PM
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It's about genetic purity.
It's not, because the cadet families have the same genetic purity. They are also from the same male linage, just from lower ranked sons.

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From a broad historic perspective, offspring from cadet branches offers a competing quasi-legitimate focus for dissenting groups to rally around. Think birthers: you decide that the current emperor isn't legitimate for whatever reason, which means this other guy is, and you use that claim to legitimize a rebellion/coup. It doesn't matter if the actual descendant is the instigator: he may be almost a prisoner of the actual agents. All that matter is that as long as he exists, he provides a potential competing narrative.
This is directly connected to Japan and drama at the end of WWII. For a quick summary, by late spring of 1945, Japan had been almost completely destroyed, with the US having completed the invasion of Okinawa and almost all of her large and even medium cities having been burn down in the great fire bombings. However, the home island themselves had yet to be invaded. (Okinawa was part of Japan, but not on the same status.)

Japan was trying to find a way to surrender with terms, while the Allies were insisting on an unconditional surrender. It all came to a head in August when both the atomic bombs were dropped and the Soviet Union joined the war against Japan.

The Emperor is said to have tempered his responses to the situation out of fear that the Army would do exactly that, depose the Emperor and find a replacement more aligned with their hardcore attitude. There actually was an attempted, but failed coup after the Emperor had announced the surrender.

That all said, I havenít read anything going into the details of the decision-making process or the reasoning for it. They simply do not discuss this much.
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Old 05-14-2019, 01:57 AM
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Post 2, the first answer to your OP. It directly answers your question.
Actually it doesn't. I'm now aware of the male heirs marrying Japanese commoners and Japanese princesses being out of the line of succession anyway (so morganatic marriages are irrelevant) but notice that in my OP I asked

Quote:
Would marriage to foreign royalty or nobility be morganatic?
And it is that on which I seek an answer.
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Old 05-14-2019, 02:24 AM
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Your problem, I think, is that "morganatic" isn't a concept that has any relevant in the Japanese tradition. In a morganatic marriage a man (usually) marries a wife of lower rank, on terms that the wife will not acquire, and any children of the marriage will not inherit, the property/titles/status of the man. But in the Japanese system, a male member of the Imperial family can marry a wife of any rank, and the wife's children's rights will not be limited in this way. And a female member of the Imperial family can't inherit the throne regardless of who she marries. A female who marries a "commoner" ceases to have the status of a member of the Imperial family, but that's not a morganatic marriage; in a morganatic marriage she would retain her status, but her husband/chlidren would not acquire it.

I think your question possibly is: If a Japanese princess marries (say) a foreign prince, does she forfeit her membership of the Imperial family? The answer is "yes". The Imperial family includes the Emperor's unmarried legitimate daughters and legitimate male-line grandaughters. That basis for membership disappears when a daughter/granddaughter marries anyone at all. The only way they can marry, and still be members of the Imperial family, is by marrying other members of the Imperial family, in which case they have membership on a new basis; as the spouses of male members.
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Old 05-14-2019, 02:32 AM
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But in the Japanese system, a male member of the Imperial family can marry a wife of any rank,
But can they marry a foreigner?

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Originally Posted by Quartz
So, let's say a Japanese prince married Princess Charlotte, would that be morganatic? How about a Saudi princess?
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Old 05-14-2019, 03:46 AM
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But can they marry a foreigner?
SFAIK, if a male member of the Japanese Imperial family were to marry a foreigner, his wife would acquire the status of a member of the Imperial family by virtue of the marriage.

Others have suggested that this has happened in the past. I'm not aware of any legal prohibition on it happening today. It may, however, be the case that there would be strong social/cultural/family pressures militating against it. It may also be the case - I don't know - that members of the Imperial family require the consent of the Emperor, or some other consent, to marry.
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Old 05-14-2019, 05:16 AM
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Because the son and grandson are raised in guilded cages so they have been indoctrinated from childhood. They have been educated within the Imperial System.
So, the Americans were counting on the Imperial court to mold properly the future sovereigns? I'm not sure I would have counted on that. I could see some unwelcome ideas gaining credence among the imperial court officials, who must be, on the average, rather conservative or even reactionary.
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Old 05-14-2019, 05:17 AM
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SFAIK, if a male member of the Japanese Imperial family were to marry a foreigner, his wife would acquire the status of a member of the Imperial family by virtue of the marriage.

Others have suggested that this has happened in the past. I'm not aware of any legal prohibition on it happening today. It may, however, be the case that there would be strong social/cultural/family pressures militating against it. It may also be the case - I don't know - that members of the Imperial family require the consent of the Emperor, or some other consent, to marry.
Wouldn't they have a problem with a potential heir who isn't of 100% Japanese ancestry?
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:15 AM
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But can they marry a foreigner?
I'm answering the legal question, which is that there is nothing in the law which deals with foreign royaltiy so they would be considered commoners under Japanese law. Males can marry commoners and retain their Imperial Family status, and females cannot.

Will they ever marry foreigners? Of course not. Don't be silly. Every couple of months a new threat pops up in GQ asking what would happen if the British monarch were to assume various powers and the Commonwealth posters explain again and again that even though there isnít a written constitution, it still wonít happen.

It wonít happen. Period.
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Others have suggested that this has happened in the past. I'm not aware of any legal prohibition on it happening today. It may, however, be the case that there would be strong social/cultural/family pressures militating against it. It may also be the case - I don't know - that members of the Imperial family require the consent of the Emperor, or some other consent, to marry.
The ancestors of the Yamato were Koreans. Emperor Heisei (the retired emperor) admitted that the mother of Emperor Kammu (reign c.781 to 806) had Korean ancestry. However, she would not have been treated as a Korean. I donít believe that any ďforeignersĒ have ever married into the Imperial Family.
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So, the Americans were counting on the Imperial court to mold properly the future sovereigns? I'm not sure I would have counted on that. I could see some unwelcome ideas gaining credence among the imperial court officials, who must be, on the average, rather conservative or even reactionary.
I did speculate on one reason and Manda JO speculated on other reason in a general case. Have you read anything about the Imperial Japanese Family or the American Occupation of Japan to form the basis of your conclusions?
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:22 AM
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Will they ever marry foreigners? Of course not. Don't be silly. Every couple of months a new threat pops up in GQ asking what would happen if the British monarch were to assume various powers and the Commonwealth posters explain again and again that even though there isn’t a written constitution, it still won’t happen.

It won’t happen. Period.
You know way more than I do about this stuff. Do you think its possible that a foreigner who legally takes up Japanese nationality could be the wife of a royal family member?

Last edited by Isamu; 05-14-2019 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:37 AM
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I think your question possibly is: If a Japanese princess marries (say) a foreign prince, does she forfeit her membership of the Imperial family? The answer is "yes". The Imperial family includes the Emperor's unmarried legitimate daughters and legitimate male-line grandaughters. That basis for membership disappears when a daughter/granddaughter marries anyone at all. The only way they can marry, and still be members of the Imperial family, is by marrying other members of the Imperial family, in which case they have membership on a new basis; as the spouses of male members.
I believe that Japanese daughters can marry and retain status as members of the Imperial Family if they marry other Japanese royals.

The problem is that with the Imperial Household Law of 1947, everyone outside the descendants of Emperor Taisho were disenfranchised so there are no other royals to marry.

And any daughters would never be in the line of succession under the current law.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:41 AM
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I'm answering the legal question, which is that there is nothing in the law which deals with foreign royaltiy so they would be considered commoners under Japanese law. Males can marry commoners and retain their Imperial Family status, and females cannot.
Thanks.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:43 AM
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You know way more than I do about this stuff. Do you think its possible that a foreigner who legally takes up Japanese nationality could be the wife of a royal family member?
Fuck no. It may be difficult, as they say.

Again, the problem is that the people who really care about this are very conservative and I just donít see how they would be happy about it. It doesn't really matter for male line, but Iíd give a snowball a better chance of surviving in hell.
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Old 05-14-2019, 09:13 AM
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Fuck no. It may be difficult, as they say.

Again, the problem is that the people who really care about this are very conservative and I just donít see how they would be happy about it. It doesn't really matter for male line, but Iíd give a snowball a better chance of surviving in hell.
That was my first thought as well. Ain't gonna happen. A percentage of the public might be in favor of it, but the clandestine powers that pull the strings would never allow it.
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Old 05-14-2019, 09:17 AM
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I believe that Japanese daughters can marry and retain status as members of the Imperial Family if they marry other Japanese royals.

The problem is that with the Imperial Household Law of 1947, everyone outside the descendants of Emperor Taisho were disenfranchised so there are no other royals to marry.
Thinking about it, 'm not absolutely certain if a daughter can retain status on their own if they marry a royal.

In many ways, there was a lot of flexibility in the previous rules. There was a period of time where the emperor alternated between two branches of the family. Prior to the law of 1947, adoption into the Imperial Family from one of the cadet lines was allowed and historically occurred. The adopted son became the emperor.

Not a lot of children, males or females, of emperors actually survived until adulthood for the last several hundred years. I've spend a bit of time looking at this tonight and don't see an immediate answer.
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