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Case Title:

The Chrysanthemum Throne: Is Japan Ready for an Empress

Publication Year : 2007

Authors: Amy Sonpal, Joel Sarosh Thadamalla

Industry: General Business

Region:Japan

Case Code: SUP0013A

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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Abstract:

The Chrysanthemum Throne of the Japanese Imperial family had a legendary past of its rulers, conspicuously of male heirs. But by 2006, it was facing a threat of no male successor in line to rule the throne as no male heir was born in the last 40 years.

The scenario had divided the mass in two groups; one being the ‘traditionally’ conservative, believing the situation to be disastrous. The second, considering it not as a problem, but an opportunity for the Imperial family, the society at large and for the female gender. The Imperial family’s Crown Prince had the first child as a girl child, Princess Akio, considered an obvious successor to the throne.

In the era where women had equal rights and strived for their righteous place in the society, many activists felt that it was time that the age old tradition of male successors was abolished and the Imperial Law of 1947 revised. In November 2005, Prime Minister of Japan, Junichiro Koizumi's advisory panel worked out a proposal to enable female imperial members to ascend the throne. It was not an easy decision for one of the oldest constitutional monarchies, Japan. The politicians were very skeptical of their supporters and vote banks; the Royal family was also in a dilemma.

In November 2005, Prime Minister of Japan, Junichiro Koizumi's advisory panel worked out a proposal to enable female imperial members to ascend the throne. It was not an easy decision for one of the oldest constitutional monarchies, Japan. The politicians were very skeptical of their supporters and vote banks; the Royal family was also in a dilemma.

On February 6, 2006, Imperial Household Agency announced that Princess Kiko, wife of Prince Akishino, the second in succession line to the throne, was pregnant raising possibility of an arrival of the next generation male successor. She gave birth to a baby boy on September 6, 2006. Named Hisahito, he would be third in line to the throne, behind his father and his uncle. Prince Hisahito is the only male and heir of his generation, and he could eventually become the only member of the Japanese Royal Family.

The case targeted towards the public policy institutions or students undertaking the relevant courses in public policy and political equality. The case raises a debate on the role of women in 21st century and in the politically dense environment of monarchies and royal successions.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand the emerging role of women in the globalised era
  • The concept of political equality and empowerment for women.

Keywords : Succession Planning Case Study; Empowerment of women; Political Equality; Chrysanthemum Throne; Emperor of Japan; Imperial system of Japan; Imperial Law of Japan; Constitutional monarchies; policy making; politics; succession planning

Contents:

  • Background Note
    • Japanese Culture
    • Government, Political and Legal
    • The Emperor and the Imperial Family
    • Imperial Succession System
  • The Succession Crisis
  • Succession Dilemma

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