|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Guess who's not coming to dinner. . . 2006,01,21
Shukan Bunshun 1/19 By Masuo Kamiyama
Last Dec. 23 was Emperor Akihito's 72nd birthday, and Japan's Constitutional monarch was occupied with a flurry of activities at the Imperial Palace,such as a traditional birthday ceremony known as the "Tenchosai."
From 5:00 pm,the Emperor greeted some 30 illustrious guests at a tea party, including author Hiroyuki Agawa and former ambassador to the U.S. Nobuo Matsunaga.
The guests having paid their respects and departed, reports Shukan Bunshun (1/19), at around 6:00 pm the Emperor's three granddaughters, Princess Mako, Princess Kako and Princess Aiko were ushered into a private audience at which to wish His Majesty a happy birthday.
Then from 6:30, the Imperial Family prepared to sit down for a special celebratory dinner, known as an "Oiwai Gozen."
"The Oiwai Gozen is only held on the birthdays of the Emperor and Empress and on New Year's day," explains a source responsible for food services in the palace.
"The kitchen plans a special meal of seasonal dishes divided into two servings.
The second includes a grilled sea bream (a fish served on festive occasions).
"Compared with the royals' regular daily fare, which usually consists of a soup and three dishes, the Oiwai Gozen requires lots of extra work to prepare and serve."
In addition to Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako,Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko and the Emperor's daughter, former Princess Nori (who is now referred to as Sayoko Kuroda) and her commoner husband, Yoshiki Kuroda, were to attend.
As the meal is taken in the VIP dining room and conducted in more formal surroundings, small children generally are not expected to take part.
But 4-year old Princess Aiko became cranky, whining that since her mother would attend the meal, she wanted to as well.
And when a female palace attendant tried to take her home, she began throwing a tantrum, according to the weekly.
Meanwhile the dinner was starting to run late.
To quiet Princess Aiko down, her mother, Crown Princess Masako, departed the palace at 6:55 for her residence in nearby Togu Palace.
Crown Prince Naruhito remained behind in the dining room with the rest of the family, awaiting his wife's return.
"Princess Masako was expected to return to the palace as soon as Princess Aiko calmed down," a palace source relates. "But a miscommunication occurred."
Expecting Crown Princess Masako to be back at any moment, the family delayed the start of the meal.
But with the timing of the formal dinner thrown askew, the chefs and servants at the palace were thrown into a tizzy.
"Based on when the family is seated at the table, they have to precisely time when to start heating the dishes and steaming the rice.
The dishes can't be pre-cooked and re-heated --- that's never done in the palace," a source in the food service section relates.
By the time Crown Princess Masako was finally whisked back to the dining room it was already 9:42, i.e., two hours and 47 minutes since she had departed the palace with Princess Aiko, Shukan Bunshun says.
"It seems Crown Princess Masako ate supper together with Princess Aiko and then put her to bed before returning to the palace," a source within Togu Palace divulges.
"Whatever else you say, it was the Emperor's birthday," says a palace source, woefully slumping his shoulders.
"Even if treated as just a private gathering, the Emperor, Empress and Crown Prince were present and since the whole Family was assembled to congratulate his majesty, to have kept him waiting like this is absolutely unacceptable.
"Likewise the presence of Mr. Kuroda (the Emperor's new son-in-law) made this a special occasion.
So it turned out to be a bitter birthday indeed."
Shukan Bunshun adds that as legislators are mulling revision of the Imperial Succession Law to enable a female to sit on the Chrysanthemum Throne, this incident raises further concerns over Princess Aiko's nurturing.
The Imperial Household Agency's spokesperson did not deny the incident, but blamed it on "futegiwa" (bungling) by Crown Princess Masako's personal attendants for the miscommunication with the palace.
"As someone who'd covered the Imperial Family for 30 years, I feel this is really regrettable," remarks Shizuoka Welfare University professor Hiroshi Takahashi, a former palace journalist.
"I wonder how His and Her Majesties feel about the importance of Crown Princess Masako's presence."
The next day, Christmas Eve, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess were reported to have taken a drive to view the colorful holiday illuminations in the Marunouchi district.
But on Dec. 25, Crown Princess Masako did not appear at a ceremony commemorating the anniversary of Emperor Taisho's ascendance to the throne,Shukan Bunshun says.
On New Year's Day, when the next Oiwai Gozen meal was served, Crown Princess Masako once again failed to make an appearance --- the reason being that Princess Aiko was running a 37-degree fever.
The Crown Prince,the weekly says, attended the dinner by himself. (By Masuo Kamiyama, WaiWai People's Pick Writer)
January 21, 2006