Wednesday, February 08, 2006


It might not be her, though; it could be her notoriously troublemaking brother the Shinto god Susano-o-no-Mikoto, who is in charge of storms. Although Amaterasu (progenitor of the imperial lineage) was female, that fact somehow got lost over the millennia in the historic power struggle (think Susano-O) for the Chrysanthemum Throne, which now demands male lineage. It's a mistake to look for logic here, though, because traditionally, females haven't been able to pass on much of anything in Japan. Until not too long ago wives were the property of their husbands, and until very a few years ago, could not pass on citizenship to their children (which law Echo and I got around through devious maneuvering – the end result of which was that I had to adopt my own children - which episode I'll detail in a later post on the subject).

Anyway, as sketchily noted in these meager chronicles, Japan has recently been struggling with the stark possibility of having no imperial y-chromosome carriers available, not even one, to become Emperor a generation from now. The entire nation was just on the verge of debating the topic of thinking about maybe considering the possibility that perhaps a woman could conceivably on the off chance, if... but then Amaterasu gave things a teasing tweak, given that she's female; or Susano-O, what with his mythic rep, threw a deific spanner in the works: the wife of the Crown Prince's brother (Crown Prince 2?) just announced that she is 6 weeks pregnant, and now everyone but me and a few people I know is in a dither over the fact that maybe it'll be a boy (parliament burst into applause when news of the pregnancy was announced), and the entire spiritual worth of Japan may not have to be vested in a woman after all, perish the thought.

Now it seems to me that such an attitude would yank Amaterasu's chain bigtime, so maybe she's just causing this princess pregnancy thing as a tease to get even for all the sexist dithering that's been going on for a couple thousand years now. On the other hand, though, given the historically macho tradition here, which is straight out of Susano's bag of tricks (Imperial Heir Storm at Palace-- I can see the Heavenly Gazette headlines now), this is his last-ditch effort to maintain the status quo. So the way I figure it, if this is Susano-O’s fiddle, the child will be a boy; if it's Amaterasu's doing, it will be a girl. A girl who will have the unique misfortune of being born as a historically grave disappointment to an entire nation, but cousin to the Empress.

The whole thing is Amaterasu's fault anyway, for starting all this when she stirred up Japan out of nothingness, way back when the choices were still infinite...

No comments: