Japan’s little prince could be last emperor on unreformed Chrysanthemum Throne



When Prince Hisahito was born in 2006, ending a 41-year drought in imperial male heirs, Japan’s government gladly dropped proposals that women might head the world’s oldest monarchy, but a decade later the little prince remains the last hope for an unreformed Chrysanthemum Throne.

The issue is back in focus after Emperor Akihito, 82, hinted two months ago at abdication, with only five heirs in the line of succession, including Hisahito, his sole grandson.

The four older heirs are Akihito’s centenarian uncle, an 80-year-old brother, and two middle-aged sons whose wives are in their early 50s.

In a rare televised address, Akihito said in August he worried age might make it hard to fulfil his duties. The remarks were interpreted as a desire to abdicate, a step unprecedented in modern Japan and not possible under current law.

The succession quandary has long weighed on Akihito’s mind, Japanese media and royal watchers say.

“As the head of the imperial family, the emperor has a great sense of crisis that the royals will disappear,” said a veteran Japanese journalist and long-time royal watcher, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.

In a country where the population is rapidly aging and projected to shrink about 30 percent by 2060, the dwindling royal family exemplifies a much larger trend that is also hitting succession planning at Japanese family firms.

This week a panel appointed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will start considering the topic of abdication. Domestic media and academics say the government appears to be leaning towards one-off legislation that would let Akihito step down in favor of eldest son Crown Prince Naruhito, Hisahito’s uncle.

Hidehiko Kasahara, an expert in imperial law at Keio University, does not expect Abe’s panel to broach the topic of male-only succession, which conservatives see as central to an imperial tradition stretching back 2,600 years.

“The government’s stance is to avoid tackling issues like female succession that divide the public,” he said.

Though surveys have shown a majority of Japanese favor letting women take the throne and pass it on to their children, conservatives are key to Abe’s political support.

Historically, Japan’s imperial line was preserved by a combination of concubines and cadet royal families called “miyake”, who could supply a male heir in a pinch.

Very occasionally, female place-holders might rule until a male heir was found, but such empresses were either widows or unmarried and did not pass the throne to any children.

But times have changed; Emperor Meiji, who died in 1912, was the last to have concubines, and cadet families were stripped of royal status by the Allied Occupation after Japan’s World War Two defeat.

A 1947 law limits succession to male descendants of an emperor.

In 2005, as hopes faded that Naruhito or his younger brother Prince Akishino and their wives would produce a boy, then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi prepared to challenge that tradition.

A panel of experts recommended the first-born child of an emperor or empress should succeed regardless of gender, and Koizumi promised to submit legislation.

Hisahito’s birth to Akishino and Princess Kiko torpedoed the plan, but the problem has just been kicked down the road.

With Hisahito’s two sisters in their twenties and Naruhito’s daughter and only child Aiko turning 15 this year, the young prince may end up not only the last imperial heir but also the only member of the royal family, as its women become commoners upon marriage under current law.

“At some point, major surgery will be needed,” said Kanto Gakuin University professor Naotaka Kimizuka. “We have reached the point where this cannot be fixed with a band-aid.”

Conservatives favor restoring miyake families to royal status as a solution.

“We consider the tradition handed down by our ancestors to have great weight,” said Akira Momochi, a professor at Nihon University, referring to the male-only succession practice.

But restoring miyake could prove a hard sell for Abe, who has otherwise made a policy of promoting female participation in society. His No. 2 in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Toshihiro Nikai, has also suggested the imperial succession rules look dated.

“In an age of female empowerment, it is strange the emperor is an exception,” Nikai said in August.

Nikai’s counterpart in the main opposition Democratic Party, former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, also told the Nikkei business daily recently that parliament should discuss the problem of the shrinking number of royals as well as abdication.

“Abe is a realist,” the veteran journalist said. “It is clear if nothing is done, the imperial family will die out, so it’s hard to think he will do nothing.”

“It is certainly possible to apply Shariah in the North American society”



Taha Ghayyur, a Toronto Muslim activist and a board member of DawaNet, believes that the Islamic Law can be gradually implemented in North America.

Ghayyur introduces himself as follows:

“I am a writer, public speaker, community organizer, and marketing consultant. I work as Development Manager with Sound Vision and volunteer my time with DawaNet projects in various capacities. I got involved with MuslimFest in its early years.”

Dawanet is a grass roots organization striving among other things:

  • to create effective networks of communication and media to keep the Muslim community informed and connected”
  • to share and relate the message of Islam with beauty, wisdom, and respect using both traditional and modern means of communication”
  • to offer courses, workshops, and study circles on Islamic sciences and disciplines in the light of Islamic sources (text) and our environment (context), to develop a healthy Muslim identity and citizenship
  • to influence public opinion about social justice issues through artistic expression and media participation”

DawaNet has applied for registered charity status and our application is still being processed. Some of DawaNet’s other community projects include:

  • TorontoMuslims.com: A web portal for the GTA’s Muslims.
  • Sharing Islam: Regular booths at major malls across GTA, such as SquareOne.
  • Understanding Islam Academy: Originating in 2012, Understanding Islam Academy (UIA), a flagship project of DawaNet, is dedicated to making Islamic education accessible, affordable and relevant.
  • Canada Zakat The welfare arm of DawaNet
  • MYSpirit – Muslim Youth (MY) Spirit is a movement to engage, educate, and empower young Muslims of Canada through education, art, media, recreation, and civic engagement.
  • MuslimFest – Launched in 2004, MuslimFest is a joint initiative of DawaNet, Young Muslims Canada, and Sound Vision, which organizes in Mississauga, Ont. an annual festival to celebrates Muslim arts, education, entrepreneurship and entertainment.

Sound Vision Canada presents itself as “a pioneer in quality Islamic education and entertainment products and programs for North American Muslims.”

Young Muslims (YM) presents itself as “an organization dedicated to addressing the vital roles the Muslim youth should play in North America” and counteracting the modern “temptations” by “challenging the youth to take the best of all paths in both this world and in the Hereafter” and encouraging Muslim youths to feel “comfortable with their Islamic identity, spirituality, and heritage.”

In an article originally published by Young Muslims website and entitled “Understanding Punishment in Shariah [Islamic Law], Taha Ghayyur explained the rationale behind the harsh punishments in Islam (execution, stoning, cutting off thieves’ hands etc.) and argued that the Islamic Law (Shariah) can be implemented in North America.

The following are excerpts from Ghayyur’s article:

Abdur-Rahman Doi, in his encyclopedic work Shari’ah: The Islamic Law, suggests that only a total of seven scenarios exist in which Hud [fixed] penalties are awarded in the Islamic law; among the Hud crimes are intentional murder, theft, adultery, and highway robbery.

Not surprisingly, it is this portion of the Islamic law that often makes headlines in the media.

According to the Muslim jurists, the purpose of Hud [fixed] punishments is educative, preventive, and, mainly deterrent.

Punishments are thus designed to keep the sense of justice alive in the community by a public repudiation of the acts violating the limits set by God.

They are expected to build up in the society a deep feeling of abhorrence for transgression against fellow human beings, and therefore against God – a transgression which, according to the Quran, is the root cause of all disorders and corruption in human life…

“The Hud [fixed] punishment prescribed by the Quran for a theft is to cut off the thief’s hand [under certain and strict conditions]…

“Moreover, one wonders if Shariah can be practically implemented in our contemporary North American context…

“The principles of Shariah are universal and are not bound by the limitations of time and culture.

“It is certainly possible to apply Shariah in the North American society only if three conditions are fulfilled:

  • One, when an environment is developed, provisioned with preventative measures, that is conductive to a just and productive lifestyle, which is often not compatible with a consumer lifestyle.

  • Two, if the Shariah laws are implemented gradually, accompanied by continuous public education and training on the importance of justice, freedom, and one’s purpose on this earth, the way it was revealed and practiced, as a strategy of pre-crime social reform, over a period of twenty three years at the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the first generation of Muslims.

  • Three, if the punishments in the Shariah are given their due place, only to be used as a last resort, and not to be practiced in isolation from the other major objectives of the Shariah.

“If a comprehensive approach to Shariah is not adopted then one may expect to witness horrific images of extremist, selective, and literal application of the Islamic text, the likes of which we have witnessed in recent times.

Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, sent a video message greeting the organizers of the MuslimFest in Mississauga in summer 2016, including DawaNet, Sound Vision and Young Muslims:

Hello everyone. Welcome to the MuslimFest 2016.

Thank you to DawaNet, Young Muslim Canada, Festive Currents and Sound Vision who put in so much effort to organize this weekend’s festival.

Today and tomorrow we celebrate the best in Muslim art and culture with artists from Canada and around the world. We celebrate Muslim comedians who make us laugh, musicians who make us move and artists who inspire us all. Enjoy the delicious food and lively entertainment and have a wonderful Muslim fest. Thank you.”

Anti-Gamergate and Male Feminist Matt Hickey Arrested on Rape Charges


Tech journalist and anti-#GamerGate critic, Matt Hickey — who also happens to espouse feminist ideology — has been formally charged on three counts of rape by King County in Washington state, based on allegations from a total of five victims.

According to The Stranger, the charges that were levied against Hickey are not light. Rape in the second degree is stated as being sexual intercourse with an individual who is mentally or physically incapable of consenting under the circumstances of intercourse. They’re asking $200,000 for Hickey’s bail because they see him as a flight risk, and the prosecuting attorney has stated in the court documents that…

“The defendant has committed multiple rapes, going back as far as 2001, in which he has had sexual intercourse with women who were either too incapacitated by alcohol to know what is going on, to stop what is going on, to provide consent, or to express a lack of consent. The defendant has raped both acquaintances and women he has just met. His pattern is always the same. He provides alcohol to them, waits until they are drunk to the point they are having difficult knowing what is going on or remembering what is going on, and then has sex with them.”


“If the victim later confronts the defendant and accuses him of rape, he denies raping them and tells them they initiated it or were “into it” and that he would never rape a woman.”

According to a separate article on The Stranger published back on July 20th, 2016, Hickey had denied the accusations made by some of his victims, one of which claimed he had raped her multiple times while she was blacked out. She explained to The Stranger…

“I asked him if he had used condoms, and he said, ‘Yes, until I ran out.’ So I asked him how many times, and he said, ‘I had three condoms and then it was two or three times after that.’ So he raped me at least five times in one night while I was too drunk to stand up or walk home to my house, which was five blocks away,”

Hickey responded by saying…

“I don’t know what she’s talking about in regards to the multiple condoms and stuff—even back then in my 20s I sadly didn’t have that kind of stamina.”

Some of the women reported waking up after having blacked out, naked and feeling violated. One of Hickey’s alleged victims tried committing suicide after she discovered what he had done to her.

One of his victims told The Stranger…

“I was really ashamed and disgusted, and didn’t know how to deal with that.”

Almost all of the women have the same story about Hickey; and charges of second degree rape are being pushed forward by the prosecutor. Hickey has denied the claims of rape, however.

Originally, Hickey would lure women in under the prospect of being a pornographic star using a fake Facebook account of a woman named Deja Stwalley, who was based on a high-school crush he had. He claimed to run a porn recruitment agency. He would get them drunk and claim that in order to get into the business they would have to have sex with him. He would proceed to have sex with the women after he got them drunk enough, and in some cases, after they had passed out.

Matt Hickey used to write for the Stranger and was a contributor for Forbes. Hickey had attacked Microsoft for having gogo dancers at an after-party at the Game Developers Conference earlier this year, and also was critical of #GamerGate, attacking the consumer revolt that has been aimed at improving ethics in journalism. In the piece published on Forbes on March 18th, 2016, he wrote critically of Microsoft and gaming industry, stating…

“[…] many women are turned off by the prevalent sexism and thus don’t game. There’s money to be made by not putting off would-be gamers, and most of the industry seems to have figured that out.”

Following Hickey’s attack on Microsoft and #GamerGate, the news surfaced in June that certain women had come forward to claim that Hickey had raped them. Hickey isn’t the only male feminist to have accusations of sexual assault disrupting his social justice activism, Devin Faraci, another journalist, also came under fire for alledgedly sexually assaulting a woman recently, forcing him to resign from his position as editor-in-chief at Birth.Movies.Death.

[Update 10/15/2016:] Matt Hickey has been arrested in Las Vegas, Nevada where he was attempting to further his career as a pin-up and fetish photographer, according to The Stranger. Hickey will be arraigned in Seattle, Washington. An image of his FetLife profile can be viewed below.