The Japanese government announced on Thursday imperial family women will be barred from attending a key succession rite to mark Crown Prince Naruhito’s ascension to the throne on 1 May in order to fulfil traditional female rituals in the kitchen.
The government will, however, allow female cabinet ministers to participate in the rite if they have finished preparing post-rite appetizers.
Satsuki Katayama, who is in charge of regional revitalization, is the one and only female cabinet minister making it unlikely she can complete her culinary duties to feed over 50 men before the conclusion of the rite.
Female imperial family members are prohibited from participating in the succession rite even if they have finished cooking the royal feast, which includes a choice of duck or fish for the main course.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was asked if he will choose the same main meal as Crown Prince Naruhito, who has reportedly chosen fish.
“Yeah, me too,” Abe told reporters.
Japan has received some criticism for its double standards towards female imperial family members, but experts say it is simply a centuries-old tradition and Japan shouldn’t be judged by today’s values.
“We shouldn’t judge things happening in today’s society on today’s values because that thing happening today actually started centuries earlier during a time when they had sexist values,” says one expert.
Unfortunately, today is today.
Some secondary citizens in Japan in the form of male foreigners say they “don’t want to see Japan change” because they also want to take advantage of Japan’s sexism.
The UN released a statement on Friday saying “told you so” after receiving some backlash last week for adding sexism in Japan to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.