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Ethiomonarchist

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Her Imperial Highness Princess Mako of Japan will become engaged to be married to Mr. Kei Komuro, a former fellow student at the International Christian University of Tokyo. Princess Mako is the eldest granddaughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, neice of Crown Prince Naruhito, and daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko.  

Under current rules, the Princess will relinquish her Imperial titles and status, and leave the Imperial family upon her marriage.  The Imperial family continues to shrink, and the fear is that once all the women leave the family when they marry, and the males die off, Japan could be left with just one member of its Imperial family, Princess Mako's younger brother Prince Hisahito, who is third in line to the Imperial throne after his uncle and father.  14 of Japan's 19 Imperial family members are women.  There is much discussion about how to fix the problem of a shrinking Imperial family, including allowing women to keep their titles upon marriage, restoring it to those who have already relinquished it, and reviving the status of cadet lines of the Imperial dynasty.  Famale succession is still occasionally brought up, but continues to be strongly resisted by traditionalists.


http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/17/asia/japan-princess-mako-getting-married/

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/17/world/asia/japan-princess-mako-marry.html

Image result for Japanese Princess to marry

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Admiral_Horthy

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The simplest solution would be to allow Imperial Princesses to retain their titles and have any sons they may have be placed in the line of succession.
Peter

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The first part would be simple, the second part mired in complications. You can't just brush aside a tradition dating as far back as Japanese recorded history goes. Emperors do not have to be male, except under Japan's modern constitution, which can be changed. They do have to be in male line from Jimmu, and no one who is not can ever fulfil the religious functions of the role, however much Imperial blood they have from their mother's side. That can't be changed at all.
Elizabelo_II

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A good way to do this would be to restore courtesy nobility titles to grant to the suitors before marriage to then circumvent the problem and making them not a commoner anymore.
Peter

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It is the Imperial House Law of 1947 that governs these matters. The relevant article:
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Article 12. In case a female of the Imperial Family marries a person other than the Emperor or the members of the Imperial Family, she shall lose the status of the Imperial Family member.

So you will see that unless the law was changed (perfectly possible, it is just ordinary legislation passed by the Diet) your proposed solution would not work. Making a commoner an Imperial Family member would not be possible without another change in the law, under the same legislation's article 15 it is expressly prohibited for any person to join the Imperial Family other than by being born into it, with the sole exception of females that marry an existing male member of the Imperial House.
Elizabelo_II

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Originally Posted by Peter
It is the Imperial House Law of 1947 that governs these matters. The relevant article:
So you will see that unless the law was changed (perfectly possible, it is just ordinary legislation passed by the Diet) your proposed solution would not work. Making a commoner an Imperial Family member would not be possible without another change in the law, under the same legislation's article 15 it is expressly prohibited for any person to join the Imperial Family other than by being born into it, with the sole exception of females that marry an existing male member of the Imperial House.


I assumed as much, but what was the law before ? We all know this was pushed on Japan by the US.
Peter

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The law before was the Imperial Household* Law of 1889, which was actually the first ever Japanese formal, written law governing the succession. The relevant provision is strikingly similar, so I think the US can be cleared of blame here.
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Article XLIV. A female member of the Imperial Family, who is married to a subject, shall be excluded from membership in the Imperial Family. However, she may be allowed, by special grace of the Emperor to retain her title of naishinn├┤ or nyo├┤, as the case may be.

There is not so far as I can see any provision equivalent to article 15 of the 1947 legislation, but the adoption ban appears in article XLII, so that again was not US-imposed. Reading around the topic, I was interested to see that one of the ideas discussed before the birth of Prince Hisohito allowed the matter to be shelved was to legislate to permit a male from one of the excluded cadet lines to be adopted into the Imperial House and so become eligible for the succession. That would have been a far more Japanese solution than either absolute or male-preference primogeniture, with no religious issues.

*It should have been Household not House for the 1947 law too, my error.
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