Thursday, February 02, 2006

Female on throne could marry foreigner, Hiranuma warns

I shouldn't be too hard on the Japanese for this, because of course every country has its share of reactionary bigots:
"'If Aiko becomes the reigning empress and gets involved with a blue-eyed foreigner while studying abroad and marries him, their child may be the emperor,' Hiranuma told about 40 lawmakers, academics and supporters at a Tokyo hall. 'We should never let that happen.'"
This is nothing more than misogyny dressed up in the apparently more aceptable clothes of racism. It's always been the case that a male Emperor could marry a foreigner, so there seems no obvious reason why this should afect the female Empress question (in fact the current Crown Prince met his wife while "studying abroad" at Oxford). It's doubly bizarre because not only does the Japanese royal family already have Korean blood in it, but there have also been a couple of female Empresses too. Of course all this was back in feudal times, and to some people such ideas are clearly inappropriate in the 21st century...

4 comments:

Steve Bloom said...

Blue eyes, eh? Being green-eyed myself I suppose I have to take umbrage, but actually this puts me in mind of your recent post about Japanese discrimination against African-appearing people. I wonder if the blue-eyed bit was consciously or unconsciously intended to define the range of miscegenation that can be contemplated in polite society?

James Annan said...

Oh yes. The possibility of the Empress choosing a (relatively civilised) western foreigner is unacceptable: to suggest that she would even contemplate a black man would probably be treasonable. There is no question that such a choice would generate widespread outrage.

The sad thing is, I'm not joking. In fact popular opinion is in favour of the female Empress (largely becase there is no alternative), which is why this reactonary bigot is playing the race card to scare people.

I'm sure that similar opinions would be held in some sections of the UK (and when do you think the USA will elect a black president, or a female one?) but at least such people are much more at the margins of the political process rather than its very heart.

EliRabett said...

You are surprised? How charming:)

Roderick said...

The Japanese emperor marrying foreigner ie. Korean is not the same as marrying a Caucasian. A Korean is still Asian, and all of Japanese excepting the Ainu have Korean blood. So this does not count. When a Hakujin or non Asian blood is mixed in the royal family, this could cause upheaval. I think that racism in Japan could be lessened with the Emperor being partly caucasian. And while the Japanese Emperor is allowed to practice exogamy, this is with other women of Asian descent. Marrying an Caucaisn woman would be seen as an afront to many Japanese. (I think however, being a Canadian citizen, that it would be a good idea for the Japanese emperor to be half caucasian but that is my own Canadian perspective.