They say Tokyo had its royal wedding. Indeed, a majority of Japanese have become accustomed to royals appearing in popular culture. Meghan Markle would have had to tread a bit carefully if she had been selected as the Queen’s granddaughter-in-law by Japan’s sovereign, the Emperor Akihito. Meghan – whose full name is Meghan Markle Oates – is a mixed-race American actress who married Prince Harry in May 2018. Japan is, of course, a long way from America.
Prince Harry’s aunt Princess Asoka of Kikuyu married King Mizuho V of Japan in 1884. They had known each other in childhood. “She entered with the feeling of making Japan her home,” Atamani Kirloskar, who was Asoka’s assistant during their engagement, told the Sunday Times. “We felt that this relationship had depth and permanence.” Soon they had a son, Prince Haruyoshi, who was born in 1885. They lived there and of their son was born an heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne. After Asoka died in 1913, Haruyoshi inherited the throne, which meant he took the name Etsushi, which means Child born to His mother or the imperial husband. Later that year, Asoka married Satomi Nohara, the daughter of a geisha. According to Tokyo University, Satoshi Rumotaka, who studies Japanese monarchy, a Japanese divorce would have resulted in a couple of deaths (unless they lived together or, perhaps, had many children). Japan is much more egalitarian than Britain, and Prince Harry was left out. Nonetheless, Prince Harry’s heritage remains of interest to Japan, and he is likely to have played a role in creating a “Markle Idol” culture in Japan, presumably on Meghan’s part. “Everywhere she goes there are women who say how nice that is that you chose to marry a person from Japan,” Kirloskar told the Times. “It would have made all the difference in Japan.”