The Imperial House of Japan

May 17, 2017


History of the Imperial House of Japan

The Imperial House of Japan also referred to as the Imperial Family and the Yamato Dynasty, is the oldest continuous monarchy in the world. Under the present Constitution of Japan, the Emperor is “the symbol of the state and the unity of the people.” How does Imperial House of Japan start? The myth states that Japan’s first Emperor Jimmu was a descendant of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu and enthroned in the year 660 BC. It is commonly accepted that emperors have reigned over Japan for more than 1500 years, and that they have all descended from the same family.

 

In 1868, the Meiji during Meiji Restoration, the overthrown of the Tokugawa shogunate, and Emperor Meiji became the head of state. Under the new Meiji constitution, the Emperor held sovereign power, and he abandoned political and military power. Although the effective power of the emperors was limited or purely symbolic throughout most of Japan’s history, all rulers, from the Fujiwara and Hojo regents to the Minamoto and Tokugawa shoguns respected the emperor and were keen in having the imperial legitimization for their position as rulers. Later, The postwar constitution of 1946 states that the emperor has only a symbolic function.Therefore like in Britain and other Scandinavian countries, the Japanese monarch does not have a political function. The emperor is not able to make the decision by itself. Therefore, in all his state functions, the Emperor must have the advice and approval of the cabinet. Based on cabinet decisions, he convenes the National Diet and dissolves the House of Representatives. Without powers relating to government. Therefore, The Emperor is limited to symbolic roles, such as performing “acts in matters of state” as stipulated in the Constitution.

The Imperial House of Japan now mainly participates at ceremonies and diplomatic meetings but has no effective political power. Although the Emperor has no powers related to government, members of the Imperial family receive state guests from other countries and make overseas visits. Through these and other activities, they fulfill an important role in promoting international friendship. In 1989, Emperor Akihito became Japan’s 125th emperor. He is married to Empress Michiko, the first empress who did not come from the nobility

Based on the Diet’s designation, he appoints the prime minister. His duty also includes the promulgation of laws and treaties enacted and approved by the Diet and reception of credentials of foreign ambassadors.

Members of the Imperial Family also maintain wide contact with Japanese citizens through their attendance at various events across the nation and visits to facilities including those for the handicapped and the aged. They are widely respected by Japanese people.

The reigning Emperor, Akihito, assumed the throne in 1989. The Emperor and Empress have two sons, Crown Prince Naruhito and Prince Akishino. Their daughter was married in 2005, after which she left the Imperial Family. They also have three granddaughters and a grandson.

Who are the members?

 

Who are the members? Members of the Imperial Family receive state guests from other countries and make overseas visits. Through these and other activities, they fulfill an important role in promoting international friendship.

Members of the Imperial Family also maintain wide contact with the citizens of Japan through their attendance at various events across the nation and visits to facilities for the handicapped and aged.

Article 5 of the Imperial household law defines the imperial family as:

1.Empress

2.the Grand empress dowager

3. the Empress Dowager

4.the emperor’s legitimate son and legitimate grandson in the legitimate male line nad their consorts

5. emperor’s unmarried legitimate daughters and unmarried legitimate granddaughters in the third and later generations in the legitimate male line. And their consort

6.emperor’s other unmarried legitimate female descendants in the third and later generations in the legitimate male line

After the removal of 11 collateral branches from the imperial house in October 1947, the official membership of the imperial family has effectively been limited to the male line descendants of the Emperor Taisho, including females who married outside the imperial family and their descendants.

Under the terms of the 1947 Imperial Household Law, Nishino(imperial princesses) and Joo(princesses) lose their titles and membership in the imperial family upon marriage, unless they marry the emperor or another member of the imperial family.

Currently, the news reported that Princess Mako the elder daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko engaged to a classmate at her university and is expected to marry next year. Therefore under the terms of the 1947 Imperial Household Law, Princess Mako will lose her title and membership in the imperial family upon marriage, unless they marry the emperor or another member of the imperial family.

 

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