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<nettime> FW: Japanese Royal Family Escapes from Habitat, Search Continu
Bruce Sterling on Sat, 26 Jan 2002 05:49:57 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> FW: Japanese Royal Family Escapes from Habitat, Search Continues


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From: "futurefeedforward" <fff {AT} futurefeedforward.com>
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2002 11:36:14 -0800
To: <bruces {AT} well.com>
Subject: Japanese Royal Family Escapes from Habitat, Search Continues



July 4, 2058

Japanese Royal Family Escapes from Habitat, Search Continues

TOKYO--Officials from the Walt Disney Company confirmed early this morning
that several members of the Japanese Royal family, including the reigning
Empress, have fled the specially-maintained habitat in which they live.
Though their current whereabouts are unknown, they are believed to still be
in the Tokyo area.  "We are very concerned for their health and safety,"
noted a solemn Disney representative.  "[Disney] enjoy[s] a very close
relationship to the family, and we've taken on a commitment to preserving
Imperial culture and practices.  We feel responsible and are doing
everything within our power to bring them home."

    The Imperial habitat, a multi-billion dollar park, including a replica
of the Imperial Palace and the surrounding, attraction-filled grounds, has
served as the Imperial residence since construction was completed twelve
years ago.  "No expense was spared in replication of detail," notes Tokyo
University Professor of Architecture Watanabe Jiro.  "The chief alterations
were in scale.  The replica, I believe, is almost three times larger than
the original.  This was in order to accommodate walkways and observation
posts for park visitors, and to allow space for tunnels for park staff."

    The park, known as 'Imperial World,' has become a key local attraction,
drawing millions of visitors each year.  Designed to offer visitors a
glimpse into the sheltered and venerable life of the royal family, the park
includes more than 800 discrete vantage points, or 'blinds.'  "The goal was
to permit people to view the royal family with as little disruption as
possible," explains Professor Watanabe.  "And so it was key that the vantage
points be as hidden as possible from the point of view of the family.
Drawing on a number of traditions, including the English ha-ha, and through
judicious placement of one-way glass and oblique transoms, they've put
together a remarkably seamless habitat that still gives visitors a chance to
really experience the royals up close."

    There had been few signs of trouble at the Disney-managed park, say
officials, though a long-term project to encourage reproduction among the
royals has recently stalled.  "It's a difficult situation for them as you
can imagine," explains park genealogist Herbert Shimbun.  "They were shy and
retiring in their old environment, but the move has just made them even less
outgoing.  We've made a number of efforts to introduce potential matches
into the environment, but without any luck."

    The escaped members of the family, including the Empress, two of her
children and three of their cousins, apparently slipped through a concealed
door used by park staff when it was inadvertently left ajar after the park
closed for the night.  "We can confirm that they left through a maintenance
door in the kyudo hall," reports a park security official.  "Doors are
typically secured to keep visitors from encroaching on the habitat, but,
after closing, we tend to let our guards down a bit.  You can be sure a
lapse like this won't happen again."

    Though heated discussion about the controversial assignment of the
Imperial World concession to Disney, a foreign company, had only recently
died down, members of the Japanese public are hesitant to blame the company.
"We're not worried about who to blame," explains a man waiting in a ticket
line outside the Imperial World gates.  "We just want them back safe."

    Disney officials expressed similar sentiments.  "There's nothing like
being able to bring a people this close to their heritage," notes a Disney
spokesman.  "I've seen the look on children's faces when the Crown Prince is
just on the other side of some glass, just inches away.  It's priceless."

    Members of the public are advised to report sightings of any members of
the family to their local police substation.  The public is also cautioned
not to feed the royals, as they require a traditionally prepared diet, and
not to allow them to watch TV or come in contact with synthetic fabrics.

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