Japanese Monarchy: Overview
The Yamato Dynasty is the current Imperial House of Japan – it ranks amongst the world as the oldest continuous Monarchy in existence in the world today. Though much of its importance in Japanese society has diminished since the end of the Second World War, the Emperor today is still held in high regard by many.
Constitutionally, the Emperor and the Imperial Family hold no official role within Japanese society, and is only accredited with it being ‘the symbol of the State and unity of the people’ by the current constitution of Japan.
Through the year, members of the Japanese Imperial Family carry out engagements across Japan, and act as representatives for the Monarchy and Japan abroad.
The Imperial Monarchy can trace its roots to 660 BC from the reign of Emperor Jimmu.
Before and during the Second World War, the Japanese Emperor enjoyed the power of an Absolute Monarch, along with high-ranking generals. After the war, the Allies proposed several changes to the inner workings of Japan, and a new constitution was approved. The new document limited the power of the Emperor to a completely ceremonial role.
The current Emperor, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Akihito came to the throne in January 1989 upon the death of his father Emperor Hirohito – the Emperor was enthroned a year later.
The Imperial Family supports the Emperor and Empress in their public duties and are often seen promoting charitable causes in Japan. The Imperial Family is composed of:
- T.I.M. The Emperor & The Empress
- T.I.H. The Crown Prince & Crown Princess
- H.I.H. Princess Toshi
- T.I.H. The Prince Akishino & The Princess Akishino
- H.I.H. Princess Mako
- H.I.H. Princess Kako
- H.I.H. Prince Hisahito
In Japan, the succession to the throne is governed by laws which prohibit women altogether from succeeding to the throne. Currently, no women can ascend to the throne.
In an effort to control the size of the imperial family, laws stipulate that only legitimate male descendants can be dynasts; as in hold style and titles in the Japanese Monarchy, this meant female members of the family who marry lose their status as members of the imperial family.