"The most imporant thing at this point is to put priority on Masako's recovery," said the crown prince
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"It is clear Masako has the backing of her family, with the empress apparently one of the beleaguered princess’ strongest supporters as she searches for her place in the royal household. In 2002, referring to the question of the future role of women in the imperial family, Her Imperial Highness said: "I think we should not try to force a stereotype image on any of them, as each person has her own individual character. I hope that each one keeps her own personality."
Two years ago, Masako admitted, "I am still searching for my own personality and what it should be. I will need some more time… While doing so, I would also like to think about what my own life's work should be." Perhaps her current respite from the spotlight will allow her to reflect on her past and present, and move forward positively into the future.
At the time of their union, Yoshimi Ishikawa, author of several books on Japan, remarked that perhaps, in the end, the strength of Masako and Naruhito's marriage would help them conquer all. "The prince loves her so much," he says, "that if she wants change, he may help… Maybe we can create a new era of Japanese history".