Japan’s Princess Diana?

The top news in Japan this week is sure to be the flap over a new book about Crown Princess Masako. Australian journalist Ben Hills has written a not-so-flattering tell-all about the princess, who for years has allegedly suffered from severe depression for failing to produce a male heir for the throne, a feat her ...

603890_Masako5.jpg
603890_Masako5.jpg

The top news in Japan this week is sure to be the flap over a new book about Crown Princess Masako. Australian journalist Ben Hills has written a not-so-flattering tell-all about the princess, who for years has allegedly suffered from severe depression for failing to produce a male heir for the throne, a feat her younger sister-in-law achieved last September. 

In his new book, Hills portrays the princess as a prisoner of her royal duties, casting her as Japan's Princess Diana. The imperial household and foreign ministry responded by slamming Hills and his work. Shortly thereafter, Hills's Japanese publisher canceled plans to sell the book in the country. Some are alleging official meddling, but if the royal family hoped to hush rumors, they've only succeeded in creating a bestseller. The English version of Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne is now the best-selling foreign-language book on Amazon Japan. It seems the imperial family forgot that any publicity is good publicity ... for the author.

The top news in Japan this week is sure to be the flap over a new book about Crown Princess Masako. Australian journalist Ben Hills has written a not-so-flattering tell-all about the princess, who for years has allegedly suffered from severe depression for failing to produce a male heir for the throne, a feat her younger sister-in-law achieved last September. 

In his new book, Hills portrays the princess as a prisoner of her royal duties, casting her as Japan’s Princess Diana. The imperial household and foreign ministry responded by slamming Hills and his work. Shortly thereafter, Hills’s Japanese publisher canceled plans to sell the book in the country. Some are alleging official meddling, but if the royal family hoped to hush rumors, they’ve only succeeded in creating a bestseller. The English version of Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne is now the best-selling foreign-language book on Amazon Japan. It seems the imperial family forgot that any publicity is good publicity … for the author.

Carolyn O'Hara is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.