Now that there is a baby boy in the Japanese royal family of little girls, the movement to allow a girl become queen will end.

It’s a good time to tell the story of Crown Princess Masako, wife of the Crown Prince Naruhito, who struggled unsuccessfully to have this male heir. (Her sister-in-law delivered the baby boy today.)

Masako is Harvard educated and had a successful career as a diplomat before marrying the man-who-would-be-king. She thought she’d buck tradition and continue to be involved in aspects of her career even after she got married. However strict government oversight of Japan’s royal family made that impossible.

Masako capitulated: Abandoned her career, had a daughter, and then a nervous breakdown. She is a reminder that while women struggle with the wide range of choices we have, without the opportunity to craft our own lives, most of us also would have nervous breakdowns.

Every time I read something about the Japanese royal family I get sad about Masako. In an attempt to find something to do with her intellect that would be acceptable to the powerful organization that manages the royal family, Masako translated Japanese poetry for children into English. Here is one of the poems:


In a cage
Of his
Own making