And, It's a Boy!
Japanese Princess Kiko has given birth to a bouncing baby boy, producing a male heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne - and most likely squashing all calls for heredity change in one of the most socially conservative countries in the world.
Despite 8 previous individual Empresses of Japan (Empress Kogyoko and Empress Kouken both ruled twice, their second reigns being dubbed Empress Saimei and Empress Shoutoko respectively) - European meddling in the late 18th century restored chauvanistic notions that only males should be allowed to reign, like King Victoria of the United Kingdom. Modern Europe (and its cousins, North America and to some extent European Oceana), is very critical of "primitive" nations of Asia, Africa and Islands for being mysoginist in appointment to places of power, totally ignoring European (and Christian!) influence supporting, encouraging and introducing it.
Like the issue of a new national flag for Australia, female succession in Japan has a majority of public support over there - yet conservatives that control the law-making baulk at the very thought of the idea. Even those with a few liberal bones in their body, like Junichiro Koizumi (PM) backed right back down as soon as Princess Kiko was announced pregnant. (Some suggested an interesting coincidental period of time since the idea of female succession was brought to the fore).
The leading argument against female succession is the fear of diluting the imperial line by "marrying a blue-eyed foreigner". Traditionally the Japanese Imperial line is descended from the gods of Shinto, however post WWII, the Emperor has been forced to publicly deny his godhood, but it is still probably accepted by various factions of hardcore nationalists.
The problem with the argument of "dilution" is that a male heir might decide to go after some foreign boobies (trust me, he's Japanese, it would be for the boobies) as well. Also it makes the racist assumption that foreign dilution is bad. Nobody really wants completely inbred royal families these days, at least they've laxed up on the idea of marrying commoners, why not gaijin as well?
Anyway still congratulations for Princess Kiko, and nature enthusiast, Prince Akishino, for their new arrival. And がんばって (good luck) to cute little Princess Aiko, she might make Empress yet.
A bloke at the zoo also had a new baby boy this week, so congratulaions to little Ty Irwin's parents and other family.