Factbox: Key facts about Japan's imperial system

By Linda Sieg TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Emperor Akihito, 85, will abdicate on April 30, the first Japanese monarch to do so in about two centuries. He will be succeeded by Crown Prince Naruhito, 59. Here are some key facts about Japan's monarchy

Reuters April 23, 2019 05:05:38 IST
Factbox: Key facts about Japan's imperial system

Factbox Key facts about Japans imperial system

By Linda Sieg

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Emperor Akihito, 85, will abdicate on April 30, the first Japanese monarch to do so in about two centuries. He will be succeeded by Crown Prince Naruhito, 59.

Here are some key facts about Japan's monarchy.

- Traditionalists believe Japan's imperial institution is the world's oldest hereditary monarchy. Eighth-century chronicles say the sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami bequeathed her grandson a mirror, jewels and a sword, which he gave to the first emperor, Jimmu. The chronicles give Jimmu's reign as 660 B.C.-585 B.C., but there is doubt as to whether he ever existed.

- For most of the imperial institution's history, the emperor lacked direct political power and was primarily a symbolic and religious figure. Under the Meiji constitution, promulgated in 1889, the emperor became a constitutional monarch as well as a divine sovereign who was the focus of loyalty for his subjects.

- Japanese wartime leaders used a state Shinto religious ideology to mobilise the masses to fight World War Two in the name of a divine emperor, but Japan's post-war constitution established the separation of church and state. State Shinto was abolished. The emperor performs about 20 Shinto rituals each year as private acts, separate from his official duties

- Emperor Akihito, born in 1933, has made efforts throughout his reign to reconcile Japan with its former colonies in Asia and to help it project an image as a peace-loving nation. He and Empress Michiko modernised the royal family, bringing it closer to ordinary people.

- Akihito's father, Hirohito, known posthumously as the Emperor Showa, was treated as a god but renounced his divine status after Japan's World War Two defeat in 1945. Under the constitution, drafted by U.S. occupation forces, the emperor became the "symbol of the state and the unity of the people."

- Women may not take the throne, although historically females have acted as place-holders who could not pass the throne to their offspring. Crown Prince Naruhito has a daughter, Princess Aiko. Upon Naruhito's death the throne will pass to his younger brother, Prince Akishino, then to Akishino's son Prince Hisahito. Prince Hitachi, 83, Akihito's younger brother, is next in line.

- Akihito, who has had treatment for prostate cancer and heart surgery, said in 2016 that he feared increasing age would make it hard to carry out his duties. A year later, parliament enacted a law making his abdication possible - the first since Emperor Kokaku stepped down in 1817.

(Reporting and writing by Linda Sieg; Edited by Malcolm Foster and Gerry Doyle)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Airline easyJet's first-half loss widens as COVID-19 hurts travel, seeks cash
Business

Airline easyJet's first-half loss widens as COVID-19 hurts travel, seeks cash

(Reuters) - Budget airline easyJet on Wednesday reported a bigger loss for the first half as it took a 160-million-pound hit ($199 million) from failed fuel hedging as the COVID-19 pandemic brought global air travel to a virtual standstill. The London-listed company reported a pretax loss of 353 million pounds for the six months ended March 31 from a loss of 272 million pounds last year. Revenue rose 1.6%, though easyJet took a hit from strikes in France, and storms Ciara and Dennis.

Bayer settles Roundup cancer lawsuits for up to $10.9 billion
Business

Bayer settles Roundup cancer lawsuits for up to $10.9 billion

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Bayer AG on Wednesday said it agreed to settle U.S.

Sudan to establish trade financing fund in face of forex shortage
Business

Sudan to establish trade financing fund in face of forex shortage

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan will create a trade financing fund with a portfolio of $2 billion to aid the import and export of key commodities such as wheat, the Finance Ministry said, as the supply of foreign currency in circulation dwindles. Sudan's economy is at risk of freefall, hammered by an inflation rate of more than 100% and frequent shortages of bread, fuel and medicine. The country's currency has also fallen to a record low of 150 Sudanese pounds to the dollar on the black market compared with 55 at the official rate