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This is the story of a Japanese princess. It is the first autobiography by a member of the Japanese Imperial Family to be published in English.
Her name was Setsuko, Princess Chichibu, who was born in Walton-on-Thames, England, in 1909, was educated at the Peeresses' School for Girls, Tokyo, and the Friends School, Washington, and was then invited to marry Prince Chichibu, younger brother of Emperor Hirohito and therefore next in line to the throne. She accepted, and although from a distinguished noble family in western Japan - the Matsudairas - she was technically a commoner because her father had earlier renounced his title and so she had to be 'adopted' by the Imperial Family. The marriage duly took place in September 1928. She died at the age of 85 in August 1995, the Prince having died prematurely of tuberculosis some forty years earlier.
It is a remarkable 'fairy' story in so many respects, sadly set in the wrong epoch. Much more could have been said; and yet there is much that need not be said. There is certainly a great deal 'between the lines'. Both the Prince (who spent some time studying in London and Oxford) and Princess had especially close links with England and the United States. When Japan entered the Second World War they both had to endure the unendurable: their mother country having declared war on their adopted countries. It was an appalling nightmare for them both.
In the post-war years, the Princess made numerous trips to Europe in an attempt to rebuild old friendships. She was greatly loved and admired. There were no children.
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Dorothy Bouchier was born in Yokohama, Japan, of an English father and American mother. During the Second World War she studied composition with Darius Milhaud at Mills College, California. After three years in London with the BBC Japanese Service, she returned to Tokyo in 1949 to work at the British Embassy and British Council before deciding in 1956 to devote her talents full-time to bridging East and West with both music and words. She translated this book at the special request of Princess Chichibu. Her many books and translations include The Japanese Crane: Bird of Happiness, A Haiku Journey - Basho's 'Narrow Road to a Far Province', Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window, and most recently has edited her husband's (Sir Cecil Bouchier) memoir Spitfires in Japan.From Booklist:
In this first memoir ever published in English by a member of the Japanese imperial family, the wife of Emperor Hirohito's brother tells of her life as an imperial consort during the turbulent twentieth century. She was born Setsuko Matsudaira and spent her early years in Washington, D.C., where her father was Japanese ambassador. In September 1928 she married Prince Chichibu; and she died in August 1995 at the age of 85. Hers is a remarkable story of a happy childhood in Japan and the U.S., of a severely restricted life as a member of the Japanese imperial family, and of a happy marriage despite those restrictions. She also discusses the impact of World War II on the imperial family and her life since her husband's premature death in 1953 from tuberculosis. Although definitely more a personal recollection than a historical, fact-filled account, Princess Chichibu's book is fascinating for its portrayal of ancient Japanese imperial traditions and for her unique insider's perspective of the momentous, historical events that transpired during her life. Kathleen Hughes
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Book Description Global Books Ltd, 1996. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # MB011DB8Z06
Book Description Global Books Ltd, 1996. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P111860340040