TV & Radio
By JAKE TAPPER - ABC
WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 3, 2006 — - The Concerned Women for America were ... well, concerned. Outraged, even. Was Barbie becoming part of the transgender movement?
On Dec. 30, CWA, a leading Christian conservative group, noted on its Web site that on the Barbie Web site, www.Barbie.com, "there is a poll that asks children their age and sex."
You can see a screen grab of the poll here.
The age choices were 4 to 8 but children "are given three options for their choice of gender": I am a Boy, I am a Girl and I Don't Know.
Bob Knight, director of CWA's Culture and Family Institute, said Barbie manufacturer Mattel was being influenced by the "transgender movement."
To pose "this transgender question at little girls, they've really crossed the line," Knight said, who added that "bisexuality gender confusion" is the Web site's agenda, which is "very dangerous."
The concern comes after a conservative boycott of Mattel's American Girls dolls. The American Family Association and the Pro-Life Action League protested that some American Girls dolls were wearing "I Can" wristbands, which support Girls Inc. Girls Inc. is a national, nonprofit organization that promotes education and self-esteem programs, as well as sex education, and supports abortion rights and the acceptance of gays and lesbians. The Mattel-Girls Inc. partnership ended on Dec. 26.
But Mattel, which also manufactures Barbie, said the Barbie incident is much ado about nothing.
"This was just an innocent oversight," says Lauren Bruksch, a spokeswoman for Mattel. As a rule of thumb, Bruksch said, the questionnaires at barbie.com always try to have a neutral answer or nonresponse option. For gender, this third option should have been "I don't want to say," rather than "I don't know." The Web site has since been fixed.
Knight had said CWA would contact Mattel to investigate the matter, but Bruksch said Mattel first heard of the complaint when ABC News called for comment.
■[ニュース]保守団体、「バービー人形はジェンダーを混乱させる」と抗議 - Anno Job Log 2006/01/05
Sexuality To Be Grounds For Asylum In Spain
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Posted: January 2, 2006 - 9:00 pm ET
(Madrid) Spain is about to join the Netherlands, Canada and a growing number of other countries that grant political asylum to gays and the transgendered.
People fleeing their homelands over persecution over their sexuality would be granted status under the new law proposed by the government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
LGBT applicants in the United Sates are often granted asylum, however some judges continue to deny claims. Last month a gay Zimbabwe man who says he faces persecution at home has had his appeal for asylum rejected by a federal appeals court. (story)
William J. Kimumwe told the court that he fled Zimbabwe and eventually made it to the United States in 2002, settling in Minneapolis where his initial bid for asylum was denied.
In federal court he related to the three judges the the situation in Zimbabwe under strongman Robert Mugabe where gays are routinely arrested and often held for months without trial.
Last April in Britain a gay Iranian man under a deportation order killed himself rather than be returned to a country where homosexuality is punishable by death. (story)
A spokesperson for the Spanish government said it was amending its asylum laws to bring the country into line with other "progressive" countries.
Spain in June became the third country to legalize same-sex marriage. (story)
2006年 01月 4日 水曜日 15:50 JST
［ボストン ３日 ロイター］ 同性愛者の支援弁護士らは３日、同性愛者同士の結婚を認めた判決をくつがえすことを目的とした住民投票を阻止するため、米マサチューセッツ州の司法長官を告訴した。
同性愛者の支援団体、Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders（ＧＬＡＤ）は、昨年９月にマサチューセッツ州のライリー司法長官が、有権者が２００８年の投票により結婚を男女間で行われるものと再定義できると決めたのは間違いだと主張。住民投票で裁判所の決定をくつがえすことは、州憲法違反だとしている。
Massachusetts sued over gay marriage ruling
Tue Jan 3, 2006 04:08 PM ET
By Jason Szep
BOSTON (Reuters) - Gay rights lawyers filed on Tuesday a lawsuit to stop a proposed ballot measure aimed at overturning a court decision that made Massachusetts the first and only U.S. state to legalize gay marriage.
The lawsuit by the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) said the state's attorney general erred when he ruled in September that Massachusetts voters could decide in a 2008 poll to redefine marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
They said the decision by Thomas Reilly, a Democrat who is likely to run for governor this year, was unconstitutional because ballot initiatives cannot reverse judicial decisions under the state's Constitution.
"The attorney general simply got it wrong," Gary Buseck, GLAD's legal director, said in a statement.
Reilly's office said his decision was legally sound, adding that Reilly does not personally favor banning same-sex marriage.
Massachusetts' highest court ruled in 2003 that it was unconstitutional to ban gay marriage, paving the way for America's first same-sex marriages in May the following year.
Since then, about 7,000 gays and lesbians have wed in the state, and gay rights advocates across the country have sought to encourage other states to legalize same-sex marriages.
Those efforts have largely failed, most recently in Texas, which in November became the 19th U.S. state to approve a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
Homosexual couples in at least seven states have filed lawsuits seeking the right to marry, while as many as 10 states could see campaigns this year for amendments to uphold marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
'AN ELECTRIFYING ISSUE'
In Massachusetts, VoteOnMarriage.org -- a coalition of conservative and Christian groups -- proposed the 2008 ballot initiative to amend the state constitution by defining marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman.
Between September 21 and November 23 last year, they gathered more than twice the number of voter signatures needed for state legislators to put the question to the public.
On Tuesday they predicted the lawsuit would be defeated.
"We don't think the suit is credible," said Kristian Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, a backer of the initiative. "I think they were surprised at the magnitude of the number of signatures -- 170,000 -- which tells us what an electrifying issue this is with the people."
Conservatives and some religious groups say the issue is so important that voters should decide it, not the state Supreme Court.
Massachusetts' Republican governor, Mitt Romney, a devout Mormon with White House ambitions, supports their position.
The ballot initiative must be approved by 25 percent of the 200-member state Legislature this year and again in 2007 before it can go to voters.
If passed, it would not seek to annul marriage licenses already issued to same-sex couples.
GLAD said it expects the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County to consider the lawsuit against Reilly in the next few months.
crisscross > japan > commentary
The X versus Y chromosome
January 4, 2006
According to a recent survey of Japanese voters, 73% support the idea of female members of the imperial family ascending to the throne. Perhaps influenced by this support, a government panel recommended that the Imperial Household Law of 1947 be revised, which would allow Princess Aiko, now 4, to ascend to the throne.
Eight other females have reigned as empresses in Japan's history but they did not produce any heirs, so their role was strictly as a caretaker — a temporary solution keeping the throne safely occupied until a male heir with the royal Y chromosome could be enthroned.
This recommendation by the panel should not come as a surprise to anyone who has followed this royal debate. What is a surprise, is the order of succession that the panel is also recommending. They have stated that the firstborn child of the empress, regardless of gender, should follow in succession.
It is interesting to note, that as with everything in life, there are actually laws of succession. This would change Japan's law from "Salic Law," which entirely excludes females from the hereditary succession, to "Cognatic Primogeniture," in which the right of succession passes to the eldest child of the sovereign, regardless of gender. To try and put this into modern perspective, countries such as Italy, Bulgaria and France still adhere to "Salic Law," while only Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden practice "Cognatic Primogeniture."
So the real debate has boiled down to the future line of succession and the preservation of the Y chromosome. Tsuneyasu Takeda, a member of the former imperial family, and Hakubun Shimomura, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, have already started fueling the debate. "The Emperor," Takeda stated, "is not valued because he is intelligent or handsome. It is because he is the inheritor of the blood that has been preserved for 2,000 years."
It can be argued that Takeda may have his own agenda as he probably has this royal Y chromosome. Shimomura has echoed his argument referring to Princess Aiko as a "pinch hitter" which would be alright providing a male with the Y chromosome succeeds her. To make this happen, the 11 branches of the imperial family that were abolished during the American postwar occupation would have to be brought back into the fold or the practice of royal concubines would have to be revived. Prince Tomohito of Mikasa, a cousin of the current emperor, has actually said that he wholeheartedly supports the resurrection of the concubine system, "but I think that the social mood inside and outside the country may make it a little difficult," he stated.
Many historians cite the early writing of Japanese poetry as an argument that the islands of Japan began as a matriarchy, that women ruled here as goddesses or legendary half-goddesses, that the country was first ruled by strong empresses who even conquered other lands. At that time, 700 AD, women were on a more equal footing with men, joining with them in hunting and fighting in border skirmishes. Empress Jitoh (645-702) was the wife of Emperor Temmu and she ascended the throne and ruled for 10 years when he died. An argument can be made that female leaders are part of ancient Japanese history. There have always been female rulers. Some Egyptian queens are believed to have governed from around 3000 BC and one queen, Ku-Baba, ruled the Mesopotamian city-state of Ur around 2500 BC.
Today there are queens in Denmark, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. There are female presidents in the Philippines and Germany. There are female prime ministers in New Zealand, Bangladesh and Mozambique. Women like Indira Gandhi, who was the prime minister of India, former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain have greatly contributed not only to their individual nations but to the world at large.
Although Japan's imperial family is mostly symbolic as opposed to an actual governing force, it is still an important part of Japanese culture. The report of the advisory council has been given to the prime minister and the government will now submit a bill to the Diet next spring. The government may decide to delay this decision and simply allow Aiko to ascend to the throne, hoping for a solution to the succession issue at a later date.
Regardless of the politicians' action or inaction, this is a topic that will not disappear, and sooner or later the Japanese government is going to have to accept the idea that while genealogy is important, the gender of royalty should not be the deciding factor. In other words, better a good queen than a bad king.
Adrienne McPhail is an American journalist based in Yokosuka. She is a frequent contributor to Crisscross News and the Arab News newspaper.
毎日新聞 2006年1月3日 19時58分 （最終更新時間 1月4日 0時12分）
毎日新聞 2006年1月3日 19時58分 （最終更新時間 1月4日 0時12分）
日本の愛子が欠いている物：天皇家のＹ染色体 - NYタイムズ
Liberal emperor?: Akihito continues his quest to overcome the legacies of his father.
(IHT/Asahi: January 4,2006)
By YU YOSHITAKE Staff Writer
This is the third part of a series on issues and topics facing the imperial family.
Part 1: Imperial Family/ Uncharted terrain:Those who do not want females or their descendants to become emperor feel stymied.
Seiichi Oike stood on a beach in front of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, got down on his knees, and then sprawled out on the sand face down.
Oike, 87, one of the few survivors of the Saipan battles during World War II, was "acting out" the ferocious battles he experienced on the island, where many poorly armed Japanese soldiers were totally overpowered by U.S. troops.
The emperor stared in awe. The empress leaned over for a closer look. It was the first time they had publicly seen such a demonstration overseas.
"The emperor's face became very tense when I showed how we tried to cope with the barrage of bullets by lying face down," said Oike, who accompanied the imperial couple.
The trip to Saipan in June, said to have been materialized on the emperor's initiative, paid tribute to the tens of thousands who died on the Pacific island during World War II.
It followed Akihito's years of gestures to heal the victims of World War II and to seek peace around the world. But some of his actions and words have been surprising--and have come under criticism from right-wingers and traditionalists.
For example, on Saipan, the emperor and empress made a detour that was not on the itinerary released to the press.
The imperial couple bowed deeply at a memorial to Koreans who died in the Pacific theater.
The Japanese government had not referred to this surprise stopover in its prior press briefing because it did not want to draw the wrath of those opposed to any apologetic gesture made by the emperor, sources said.
But it seems that any potential backlash would not have changed the emperor's desire to pray for the repose of all victims of the war.
Akira Hashimoto, who has been one of the emperor's close friends since childhood, said, "He is the kind of person who sticks to what he believes is right, no matter what others say."
After the surprise visit at the memorial, some critical views were also expressed in the South Korean media.
Dong-A Ilbo, a major daily, quoted Ryang Sun Im, a leader of the Association for the Pacific War Victims, as saying: "I don't know the state of the emperor's mind when he visited the memorial. ... If he is to sincerely atone (for Japan's past acts), he should take further steps to settle the problem of South Korean war victims."
Nationalistic sentiments in Japan are apparently growing. Students are being forced to stand for the Hinomaru flag and sing the "Kimigayo" national anthem, two perceived symbols of Japan's wartime militarism. Some history textbooks have been criticized as whitewashing Japan's past aggression. And the Liberal Democratic Party, led by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, plans to revise Japan's pacifist Constitution.
But while scant diplomatic progress has been made over "history issues," such as Koizumi's repeated visits to war-related Yasukuni Shrine, sinking Japan's relations with China and South Korea to new depths, Akihito continues to stress the importance of reflecting on the nation's past.
Removing Hirohito's legacy
"The emperor has been trying to remove the negative legacies left from his father, Hirohito, one by one," said Hiroshi Takahashi, an imperial family watcher and professor at the Shizuoka University of Welfare. "What he has been trying to achieve with the empress is addressing the war-responsibility issue that his father could not settle."
The imperial couple have been to Okinawa Prefecture eight times since the 1970s, and visited other war-related places like Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
"Aspiring for peace is the emperor's fundamental philosophy, and that's exactly why he believes his life is inseparable from the pacifist Constitution," Hashimoto said.
The emperor's duties as a symbol of the people are in sharp contrast to those of his father during World War II, when Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa, was the supreme military commander and was looked upon as a living god.
After the end of the war, Hirohito did visit many parts of Japan to develop closer ties with the people, but he never lost his aloofness.
However, in the Heisei Era, it has been a common sight for the imperial couple to voice words of encouragement and sit side by side with victims of natural disasters.
In mid-December, the imperial couple met with a group of widows who lost their husbands in World War II. For the participants, who are members of the Japan War-
Bereaved Families Association (Nippon Izokukai), the gathering in Tokyo was their first chance to talk with the emperor and empress.
One widow was so moved after meeting Akihito that she said, "Now that I have met you, I wouldn't mind if I just died right now."
The emperor warmly replied, "Oh no, I would like you to take care of yourself and live long."
In July, the imperial couple again showed their down-to-earth posture when they accepted a dinner invitation at a commoner's house in Shimoda, Shizuoka Prefecture.
The invitation was extended by Hifumi Watanabe, 39, and her husband, Junichi, 42, who are good friends of the imperial couple's daughter, Sayako.
The emperor and empress enjoyed the homemade dishes of seafood and vegetables, and engaged in lively conversation with nine members of the Watanabe family in a tatami-mat room for more than two hours, the Watanabes said.
Some traditionalists and right-wingers are critical of Akihito's behavior, saying that his affable style with commoners is disappointing and beneath an emperor's dignity.
No other option?
Others view him differently.
"The emperor has no option but to behave this way," said Yasukazu Amano, a leftist critic and a leading member of the Liaison Committee of Movements Against Tenno (the emperor) System.
"The imperial family has managed to survive after the war by making various efforts, including 'traitorous ones' in which a tutor was invited from the United States for then Crown Prince Akihito," Amano said.
"He would never want to find himself in a position where his people go to war because he witnessed the risk of his father being killed."
Whatever the reason, the emperor continues to pursue his quest, and startle many on the way.
On his 68th birthday in 2001, the emperor said he felt "a certain kinship with Korea," given the fact that it is recorded in the "Shoku Nihongi" (Chronicles of Japan, completed in 797), that the mother of Emperor Kanmu (reign 781-806) was of the line of an ancient Korean kingdom.
Akihito visited China in 1992 at Beijing's invitation, but he has never set foot in South Korea despite his desire to settle Japan's past.
The emperor apparently wants to visit South Korea, but a Foreign Ministry source says that trip has yet to make the diplomatic agenda.
Park Joon Sang, a South Korean businessman with a Ph.D. in political science, who studied the Japanese imperial system and Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula at Meiji University, said the emperor's personality remains unknown in South Korea.
Park published his doctoral dissertation in Japanese in 2003, but the book was never translated into Korean. He said he received several offers from South Korean publishers, but they all wanted to use the word Il-wang, a derogatory term for Japan's emperor.
Park rejected the offers for that reason, which he said illustrated his nation's hostility toward the Japanese emperor system.
"Unfortunately, if the emperor visits South Korea now, he will end up facing anti-Japan demonstrations and worsening the bilateral ties."
But Akihito's most recent remarks could help create a more favorable environment for a possible visit to South Korea.
Marking his 72nd birthday in December, the emperor again emphasized the importance of learning from wartime mistakes.
"I believe it is very important for the people of Japan to strive to accurately understand this past history, as well as the times that followed, and this is also important when Japanese people interact with the people of the world," he said at a news conference.
His words were carried by South Korean and Chinese newspapers.
The South Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo said in its Dec. 24 edition: "The fact that the emperor made these rather rare remarks can be interpreted as the expression of his concern toward some right-wing elements that try to glorify or distort the history of Japan's aggression."(IHT/Asahi: January 4,2006)
Princess's plight:Masako's doctors emphasize that a change in her public duties is needed.
(IHT/Asahi: January 3,2006)
By HIROSHI MATSUBARA Staff Writer
Crown Princess Masako waves to well-wishers at the Imperial Palace on Monday during the annual New Year's greetings by the emperor, empress and other imperial family members.
This is the second in a series on issues and topics facing Japan's imperial family.
Bending her knees, Crown Princess Masako lowered herself to eye-level with the underprivileged children and smiled.
One by one, she looked them in the eye and spoke softly. Some of the children displayed a bit of nervousness, unused to such undivided attention from an adult, let alone a real live princess.
This event in November, a festival put on by children living in orphanages in the Tokyo metropolitan area, was Masako's first solo public appearance for an official duty outside her residence in two years.
Soon, the children looked as cheerful as the crown princess.
"Compared to the way she looked at the same event three years ago, she looked more relaxed and confident," said Hiroshi Ohashi, president of the Japan Welfare and Cultural Association, which organized the festival. "My impression was that Princess Aiko's healthy growth has helped her recover."
Masako also appeared in high spirits in mid-October when she and Crown Prince Naruhito welcomed Daniel Pauly, director of the Fisheries Center of the University of British Columbia, at their residence in the Akasaka Estate.
They discussed a variety of topics concerning child-rearing, said Pauly, who was in Japan to receive the International Cosmos Prize for his work on marine resources management.
These accounts offer a rare glimpse into how Masako has been faring in recent months.
Public interest in her health condition has drastically increased since December 2003, when the Imperial Household Agency said Masako would stop making public appearances because of stress and fatigue.
The agency later announced the princess was suffering from an adjustment disorder.
Speculation was rife that the princess was under too much pressure to have a baby boy. Others blamed the schedule and nature of her official duties. And Naruhito publicly cited in 2004 "developments that denied her career ... as well as her personality driven by her career."
Marking her 42nd birthday on Dec. 9, Masako emphasized in a written statement that her health has gradually improved, enabling her to start making public appearances. She also expressed gratitude to other members of the imperial family for their constant support.
After her public appearances last year, the prevailing view was that Masako was indeed recovering, although the Imperial Household Agency had provided very little official information on her condition. Doctors' surprise message
In tandem with her birthday statement, a group of her doctors issued a rare statement that surprised many imperial family watchers for its straightforward content.
The doctors said they believed that Masako's illness was triggered by her many public duties, including official trips to various parts of the country, while she was mentally and physically fatigued because of her miscarriage, the birth of Princess Aiko and the subsequent child-rearing responsibilities.
"Her condition has steadily improved. But on the other hand, her current physical condition still has its ups and downs, and because of this, physical and mental stress can easily affect her condition," the statement said. "Our group of doctors realized anew that the stress that plagued the crown princess was more than we had imagined."
The doctors suggested that arrangements be made for Masako to engage in public duties where she can take advantage of the expertise and experiences she accumulated before her marriage.
Toshiya Matsuzaki, a veteran journalist specializing in the imperial family, said: "It represents a bold message from the crown prince and princess, effectively requesting the Imperial Household Agency to respect Masako's personality and her past career experience as a diplomat to create an alternative form of duties.
"Officials of the agency must have been shocked by the statement."
Psychiatrist Rika Kayama said one of the problems is that the crown princess is a career woman who sees work as an opportunity for self-fulfillment. The princess, Kayama says, is typical of women of her generation who feel obligated to play a meaningful role that can be only played by them.
"But imperial duties are rather passive and symbolic, making it difficult for the princess to feel challenged or rewarded, which may have gradually eroded her self-esteem and identity," Kayama speculated. "While the (doctors') statement seems to hold her environment primarily responsible for her mental state, the nature of imperial duties cannot be changed, and the princess might need to rethink and address her instincts in order to overcome the situation."
Masato Kanda, a government official who went to the University of Tokyo and Oxford University with Masako, said the crown princess was not a career-crazed young diplomat, but she had a natural sense of mission to contribute to Japan's diplomacy and help this country obtain an honorable position in the international community.
One of her former schoolmates said, "She appears to have felt she was not fulfilling what she expected from herself, and thus felt stymied."
Masako's interest in international affairs does not seem to have receded.
On Oct. 24, the crown prince and princess attended a U.N. symposium on peacekeeping activities in developing nations at United Nations University in Tokyo. Although Naruhito stayed for only one hour, the princess remained to hear panel discussions that included two Japanese female workers of U.N.-related organizations involved in peace-building activities.
After the panel discussion ended, Masako walked up to the stage and struck a conversation with the female panelists.
"The two of you work very hard in tough conditions," Masako said.
Mariko Kawabata, one of the panelists who works at the U.N. World Food Program's office in Sudan, said Masako's friendly attitude and strong interest in international humanitarian activities were very encouraging.
Except for Masako's official duties, information on how she is faring has been scant.
The Imperial Household Agency has called for media restraint in their coverage of Masako.
"Crown Princess Masako feels strongly stressed whenever she goes out and becomes a target of media coverage," Hideki Hayashida, grand master of the Crown Prince's Household, said at a Dec. 7 news conference.
Yet such words have done nothing to reduce interest in Masako.
"Articles on the imperial family are widely read because such ordinary problems as child-rearing and delicate relations with in-laws that seem to plague the imperial family make readers feel relieved," said Jin Ito, editor in chief of Shukan Josei, a variety magazine for women.
"The difficult environment facing the crown princess is being viewed as a result of generational conflicts with the traditional way of life at the imperial family," he said. "Women in their 30s and 40s, who are our readership base, naturally relate to the problems facing Masako." Generation gap?
One of those readers is Miki Fuda, a 38-year-old homemaker from Hamura, western Tokyo. Fuda began closely following Masako-related coverage in the media after the crown princess began suffering from stress. She said the princess was likely under tremendous pressure to give birth to a male heir to the Chrysanthemum throne.
"When I became pregnant with my second child, there was the unspoken understanding that I must have a boy," she recalled. "When a test at the advanced stage of my pregnancy suggested that I would have another girl, my mother-in-law looked very disappointed and immediately asked if the test was really reliable.
"I was shocked by her reaction and started to feel that I had no value as a member of the family unless I give birth to a boy," she said.
"The crown princess must have been in a similar situation, but on a much larger scale. I just cannot help feeling sympathetic toward her."
But a 68-year-old woman in Yachiyo, Chiba Prefecture, who visited the Imperial Palace on Emperor Akihito's birthday on Dec. 23, was critical of the princess, even though she says she feels sympathy for Masako in her tough environment. From the perspective of a mother-in-law, the woman says, Masako appears a bit too self-oriented and assertive.
"I put up with a lot of things while living together with my parents-in-law for over 40 years, but I took care of them until they died at 90 and 98," she said. "But my son and daughter-in-law visit our place twice a year at most, although I and my husband desperately want to see our granddaughters."
She said her son and daughter-in-law never really consulted her on big decisions, such as working after giving birth.
"They may say it is a generation thing, but if anybody in a family is too self-oriented and assertive, the relationship among the entire family may go bad. I guess even the imperial family is no exception. I feel kind of relieved because it looks like even they have similar problems that we have."(IHT/Asahi: January 3,2006)
Imperial Family/ Uncharted terrain
女性天皇、配偶者の「名称」明記・政府が３月にも法案 (日本経済 2006/01/04)
内閣府、ジェンダー差別防止へ研修会 (日本経済 2006/01/04)