Wednesday, June 06, 2012

A Life Unspent

Tomohito, the alcoholic prince, has died at the age of 66 (E). Given that his body was riddled with cancer, one hopes the doctors had enough sense to make his last days and hours as pain-free as possible.

Infamous for being most conservative and retrograde of the Imperial Family in terms of the succession crisis, he was paradoxically extremely open about his alcoholism, a disease that few in this blessed land are willing to talk about openly and fewer still are willing to recognize in themselves.

Rather than leverage his status and his confession of an addiction to ethanol into a national debate on the role of alcohol in Japanese social life and the lack of treatment options for alcoholics, the Prince merely acknowledged that he was addict and left the issue as his private problem and nobody else's.

His problems with his private life were not restricted to addiction. His marriage to Princess Nobuko, the sister of former prime minister Aso Taro, was rumored to be utterly broken -- which made suggestion of a revival of concubinage the subject of considerable tittering.

Given what he could have contributed to the national discussion of disfunction, Tomohito goes into the long dark tunnel we must all enter with too much left undone.

Later - Lest I give a false, completely negative impression of a complex man, Prince Tomohito was active in promoting the building of facilities and the creation of sports opportunities for the handicapped.

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