Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne

Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne

Ben Hills / May 25, 2020

Princess Masako Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne It s the fantasy of many young women marry a handsome prince move into a luxurious palace and live happily ever after But that s not how it turned out for Masako Owada Ben Hills s fascinating portra

  • Title: Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne
  • Author: Ben Hills
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 451
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • It s the fantasy of many young women marry a handsome prince, move into a luxurious palace, and live happily ever after But that s not how it turned out for Masako Owada Ben Hills s fascinating portrait of Princess Masako and the Chrysanthemum Throne draws on research in Tokyo and rural Japan, at Oxford and Harvard, and from than sixty interviews with Japanese, AmeIt s the fantasy of many young women marry a handsome prince, move into a luxurious palace, and live happily ever after But that s not how it turned out for Masako Owada Ben Hills s fascinating portrait of Princess Masako and the Chrysanthemum Throne draws on research in Tokyo and rural Japan, at Oxford and Harvard, and from than sixty interviews with Japanese, American, British, and Australian sources many of whom have never spoken publicly before shedding light on the royal family s darkest secrets, secrets that can never be openly discussed in Japan because of the reverence in which the emperor and his family are held But most of all, this is a story about a love affair that went tragically wrong.

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      Published :2020-02-02T03:31:11+00:00

    About "Ben Hills"

      • Ben Hills

        Ben Hills is a Walkley Award winning Australian investigative journalist and author.


    1. Interesting, especially if you don't know much about Japan's imperial family. Certainly, Masako has a sad story that is generally kept hush-hush. But I had a lot of problems with it. First, the author presents a lot of his own assumptions as fact, saying things like, "We can surely assume he was thinking xxx"I also noted many factual inaccuracies and misrepresentations. The author talks about the Harvard campus as if it is some sort of lawless crazy town (with ALCOHOL!), when really it's pretty [...]

    2. While the title and focus is Princess Masako, the book is really an introduction to and an analysis of the Japanese royal family. Author Ben Hills, describes its position in Japan and how it compares and contrasts with the remaining reigning monarchies in the world. The author has done a lot of homework and has produced a highly readable book.Perhaps the closest comparison to Masako's situation would be Princess Diana, but as Hills points out, this is not even close. Diana was able to choose her [...]

    3. Fascinating subject matter but rather boring in its execution. Part of the problem is that the author doesn't get a good handle of Masako's character. I never get the sense of her as a real person in Hill's writing. She is simply portrayed as a highly educated but aloof individual who may or may not have been in love when she married her prince. I say this because the author repeatedly points out how much he was in love with her and made her all of these promises (e.g. shielding her from the med [...]

    4. This is not a great book by any imagination--and it was full of the author's imagination with little fact to back it up. It's true that no one can get close enough to the Japanese royalty to get any real facts and his guesses seemed reasonable, it still bothered me that the author esteemed his own opinion so highly. A LOT of speculation and conjecture. His writing is erratic and the timelines hard to follow. I did enjoy reading about some of the royalty history and about Masako's youth and life [...]

    5. To begin, I must admit that I have spent a great deal of my time soaking up Japanese culture which has little to do with my heritage. I have read countless articles about the subject of Crown Princess Masako and the of the struggle to find the next in line for the throne. That being said, I was looking forward to reading this book. My hope was to gain more insight on the life of Princess Masako and life in the palace. If that is what you're looking for, but have studied enough Japanese history a [...]

    6. I rate this book 2 stars for content, 3 stars for interest. The book is about Crown Princess Masako, married to Crown Prince Naruhito. Much of the information in this book was acquired second hand and at times has a somewhat loose tabloid feel to it. This is understandable since it’s virtually impossible to obtain info on the secretive life of the Japanese royalty. The thing that bothers me about this book is the author’s blatant prejudice against the life and culture of the Japanese royalty [...]

    7. Buku ini saya baca karena penulisnya, Ben Hills, ialah jurnalis investigasi jempolan di Australia. Dia juga yang dianugerahi Perkim Award 2007. Dan kerja kerasnya untuk penulisan Masako betul-betul bikin saya mikir: Buset dah, siyal banget jadi Masako. Buat saya, enggak masuk akal ketika diplomat brilian lulusan tiga universitas canggih itu: Harvard, Oxford, Tokyo Univ akhirnya masuk istana dan kehilangan eksistensinya. -well, birokrasi dan protokeler Istana menempatkan istri putra mahkota sebag [...]

    8. And you thought Princess Diana had it bad. Hills cobbles together a picture of both Masako Owada and Prince Naruhito before their courtship and marriage using interviews with as many people as he can get access to - mostly academics and and a handful of childhood acquaintances. The revelation that 74 out of 100 young Japanese women interviewed said they would never entertain the notion of marrying Naruhito or another royal flies in the face of so many Western girls who want to grow up to be a pr [...]

    9. This story is an excellent justification for abolishing the whole idiotic notion of royalty. The Japanese imperial system took in an intelligent, well-educated, ambitious woman and then crushed her. Masako has had to endure an even more soul-sucking experience than Princess Diana did. She can't even go to lunch with friends until her elderly gatekeepers vet the invitees and set the date. All she has been permitted (and expected) to do is reproduce. It's no surprise that she has been miserable. T [...]

    10. This is a fascinating account of Japanese royalty and the extreme to which one woman and her family were forced to sacrifice to maintain the hereditary line. Unquestioned acceptance and a unbending bureaucracy maintain a costly Japanese tradition. That being said I felt that the author was determined to make such a case and perceived Japan from his own cultural lens too strongly. I sensed, perhaps incorrectly, that a love story may be hidden in Princess Masako's portrayal.

    11. An interesting read but ultimately too polite in its investigation of how the Princess is perceived by longtime staff members of the royal household. I wonder if reading a biography about Masako's brother-in-law may present more insight. I would also be interested in reading any addendum's now that Masako is starting to go out in public more frequently.

    12. Originally banned in Japan, this is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the modern Imperial house of Japan

    13. 作者的主觀意識太強烈而且充滿了西方的優越感對日本文化不了解,也沒有想要了解的意思甚至對西方歷史也掌握不佳對皇室禮節都用獵奇的筆法描述猶如帝國主義時代的東方風土誌一般對歷代天皇事跡不管歷史因素,一徑以今非古用西方的當代道德準則,責難百餘年前的天皇作者讓我覺得他不只討厭宮內廳和皇室,還很討厭日本人對歐陸王室也沒有太多好感感覺就是在君主 [...]

    14. If Cinderella happily ever after since married a prince, the opposite happened with Princess Masako, suffering for ever. Reading this book, I could feel the sadness and depression of being wife of Crown Prince, the burden as a wife of Japanese Imperial Palace in the modern era. Masako is intelligent woman, skilled 6 languages, athletic, play some musical instruments, live in many countries since childhood, school at Harvard and then had a brilliant career. With her foreign insight and expertise [...]

    15. Difficult to write a book about people when they as primary source of info are so far off limits, and their access is even forbidden Could Masako ever read it ? I thought Ben Hills did quite a good job, in these circumstances. He interviewed a lot of people who knew the couple before their fate was sealed with this marriage, and even some who are still in touch with them. Under heavy constraints, and one can guess probably not without retaliation in some cases, he enables the reader to picture b [...]

    16. the book is was written in a style suited for 'foreigners' who are interested in the last reigning imperial family of Japan. The society of Japan is extremely different: very rigid, conservative, encroaching even on one's personal freedom; so I chose to read this book with a very open minde story is centered on Masako Owada, the Princess Di of Japan. She is fluent in 6 languages, lived abroad for almost half her life and studied in prestigious schools like Harvard and Oxford. Out of her great 's [...]

    17. The life of this Janpanese princess makes that of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, sound like a picnic and not torture at all. Masako, a brilliantly educated and studious woman finally agreed to marry the Crown Prince, who loved her for years before she finally relented and accepted his proposal. The palace life of this person who should be the next Empress of Japan has been controlled by those who shape the Japanese royal family and has been so stifling that her falling into deep depression i [...]

    18. This is a book that I've looked at countless times at airport bookstores, but have never actually bought. (Hurrah for libraries!) I'm glad I've read it, but also (I think) glad I didn't buy it. Some of the other reviews on Good Reads talk about the padding in this book, but I actually found the digressions and background information very interesting. Hills is decidedly not writing for a Japanese audience, and is most decidedly writing for an Australian audience (I don't know if this book has fou [...]

    19. Many parts of this book read like a tabloid. Yes, Masako doesn't have a very easy life. She had already rejected a marriage proposal from Haruhito, but later on she capitulated, and as such, had to give up the free life she led as a diplomat. It's hard to not feel bad for her when you think about her former lifestyle and the kind of life she leads now, especially with her breakdowns. I do wish that the Diet would change the rules of succession so that primogeniture would be equal, rather than ma [...]

    20. ** Books 157 - 2014 **buku ini terlarang untuk beredar di jepang karena isinya mengungkap kehidupan putri mahkota mahkota dan orang sekitarnya buku ini menceritakan kisah perjalanan hidup seorang wanita karir yg cerdas, ambisius, lulusan 3 universitas top (harvard, oxford dan todai) yang merupakan anak diplomat dan sempat bekerja di kementerian luar negeri jepang hingga akhirnya setelah perjalanan panjang memutuskan menikah dengan pangeran Naruhitosangkar dalam emas itulah yg bisa katakan dari k [...]

    21. Princess Masako's story is an inherently interesting one. She speaks multiple languages fluently, has lived all around the world, was educated at Harvard, Oxford, and Tokyo Universities, and had an extremely prestigious career before she gave it all up and married Naruhito, the crown prince of Japan. Now she is rarely, if ever, seen, and anything we hear about her seems to suggest that she has become a little more than a prisoner of ancient, patriarchal customs within the palace walls.So how the [...]

    22. I skim read most of this book after the first 100 pages. There were several things that I had issues with: > there are a lot of speculations and some of the sources for the facts are questionable - this is understandable due to the secretive nature of the royal family. But I would recommend that you only report what you know rather than speculate. it reads more like a gossip mag than a non fiction book.> the chapters are not chronological - jumping back and forth in no logical order makes [...]

    23. An interesting look inside the Japanese Royal Palace & the Japanese Crown Princess Masako who married into the family 16 years ago. The Japanese Royals lives are lived very secretively not only from the media, but also from the people of Japan. They don't live lives anything like the ones lived by European royals nor does the media have access to them as they do in Europe. Prior to Masako's marriage she was a very career driven, hard-working diplomat with an under-grad degree from Harvard &a [...]

    24. Not knowing a lot of the royal family in Japan, this book introduced Pricess Masako and her sad daily life. The term sad is loosly used as she lives in a palace with financial stability! However, for a Harvard education international diplomat to become trapped in the confines of a secluded palace without personal choice, freedom, and pressure to produce a male heir it isn't surprising to learn she has suffered in severe depression without any support from her family and public. The book wasn't t [...]

    25. When Princess Masako finally decided to accept Prince Hironomiya's proposal back in early 90's, we (I mean, all of my feminist friends and I) were in shock. She was a successful, beautiful, intelligent Japanese woman who was on her career track to make significant contributions to the Japanese society. I was devastated to think that this bright woman getting ruined and destroyed by the old-school-to-the-core Royal Family and the sorrounding system. While hoping that she would be the strong new f [...]

    26. So I finally read the nonfiction account of Japan's royal family, as I've been meaning to for years. The only thing saving this book (and the fictional book I've read about the royal family) is that royalty is interesting. And that's it. The writing is meh. The research done is meh. I don't blame Ben Hills exactly for that, as the family and the entire institution built around them is very hush-hush. But can somebody please blow the lid off of everything? Or can somebody (one of those royal watc [...]

    27. This is the auto-biography of Japan's current Princess. It is a sad story of women's place in Japanese culture. I learned a great deal about women's roles in Japan and I find the bi-polar personality of this country and culture to be fascinating. On the one hand, there is so much to admire in Japanese culturee strive for perfection, the progressiveness in technology and at the same time the close maintenance of ancient traditions. On the other hand, this country has not moved out of the ancient [...]

    28. I picked this up from the library for a school report (it looked to be the most interesting of my limited choices). I don't read biographies often. That said, i found it completely gripping. It was every bit as tragic as the cover claimed, and it's painful to know that this isn't a bygone fairytale-gone-awry, either - the people, namely Masako, inside are still living and the story continues in full swing. It's the real world. the reader can't simply feel sorry and then move on as if it were a f [...]

    29. Enlightening book – I wasn’t sure about the validity of this book until I discussed it with my Japanese neighbor. She felt that the information was well researched. The book explains why Princess Masako, an intelligent, well educated women, is suffering from clinical depression after marrying the Japanese Prince. It was surprising to hear how many young women would not want to marry a Son of the Emperor, because of the confines involved with being a part of the Royal Family. There are string [...]

    30. Such a sad story. Every little girl wants to be a princess, and sometimes wishes come true and then you wish they hadn't. According to this biography, Masako Oweda gave up everything to marry the Crown Prince of Japan and now lives her life in a gilded cage. She can't go out shopping, or travel or do much of anything by herself, and the stress of that has caused her to sink into a deep depression. Unfortunately, depression is a taboo thing in Japan so acknowledging her disease and getting her th [...]

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