Recently, our emperor Akihito, announced that he is wishing to abdicate sometime soon. Maybe you might wonder why this is so huge in Japan. This issue is more complicated than you think. It is pretty much related to our unique history, our current Law.
Emperor Akihito, is who we call “今上天皇” (Kinzyou tennou).
Kinzyou, 今上 means “Our current”, Tennou, 天皇 means emperor. I have thought that “今上” is emperor’s name but, which basically “current”, so whoever becomes emperor, when they take after the emperor’s position, everyone gets called this way while they are on their duty. Now Akihito is 今上天皇。
Our emperor’s system has started back in back in BC 711, our first emperor is called “神武天皇”(Zinmu tennou). However, remember that to be sure exactly when we consider Japan was born, there are some stories exist, hence why about this emperor there are so many that are unknown. Japan is really a spiritual country where the stories about him are only in our old mythology. But lets say he was the first here. 神武 Zinmu, is such a respected term which means God. So literally we had thought “emperors are god” until 1941 when Emperor in shouwa period announced that he is a human on the radio. Since then until now, our emperors have taken after.. Akihito is 125th. so, how we could manage to keep preserving this system? So here is my idea.
Our emperors’s system has the unique system that is so rare in this world. Maybe you might find it hard, but I believe that this has helped how Japan it is, without getting possessed by any other countries. Basically their direct descendants who are male from family can be the one, however only on the male side. Now we are discussing women from the male side possibly could be the one but its still a different story.
Why not on the female side? well, people in the past seemed to think that it can bring our country in a danger over fights, however, even though I haven’t learned enough yet, this system is well made so we could keep having the authentic imperial family.
Emperor’s duty is significant in our law. The major law about imperial family is called 皇室典範 Koushitu tempan which is made back in 1889 (Meiji period). Also our ex constitution (大日本帝国憲法） enacted a huge role for emperors, where they had a right to administrate, make a law, and even for justice, which was extraordinary for a country. This has changed back in after World War 2, when GHQ made our current Constitution. Imperial power got extremely low. Emperors position was decided to be called 象徴 (syouchou) where its an abstract idea but my understanding is Japanese citizen’s representative. So emperors lost all the power in the ex Constitution that they had. (which i believe that America was scared of emperors’ huge power where they could govern citizens easily, and become even a stronger country.) But yet the 皇室典範 remains as it is, here creates the contradiction.
Emperors’ current position doesn’t allow them to involve in the politics, however, Akihito saying that he wants to abdicate is pretty relevant to politics, because its beyond his power being against our current Constitution. For us to make it happen, the only solutions are ; to revise the Constitution or, make a special law for Akihito. We are facing the difficult issues on it.
Our emperor’s system attracts a lot of foreign countries because of how smart it is, but im afraid it cannot match current Constitution. I think Japan has to keep it for future as it is, just like our great ancestors did. I hope I made things cleat. Thanks for reading!