What does the emperor represent to the Japanese ? 外国人にも説明したい日本史と天皇の関係


Dears, Good day
Now Japanese era is change HEISEI 平成 to REIWA 令和.REIWA era is from 1st May 2019.Then I explain


relationship between Japanese history & emperor.

Japan’s constitution states that the emperor is a symbolic figure that bringa Japan together as a nation.
The emperor is reffered to as tenno天皇、which directly means emperor from heaven.
Out of respect,people say tenno heika 天皇陛下、or simply heika which means ‘your majesty’ The palace where the emperor lives is  named kokyo 皇居,which is the site of EDO(TOKYO) Castle,home to the office of the shogun during feudal times.

江戸城(EDO CASTLE past until 1868)

edo castle

皇居(KOUKYO current)


Just as with the British monarcky , the Japanese emperor is not a political power all of the country ‘s administrative and executive actions are carried out by a cabinet formed by the majority political party in a parliament elected by the Japanese people.

Whle many Japanese show respect to their emperor and his family,for many Japanese, the emperor is somewhat akin to air something necessary but not related to one’s daily activities.And some consider the emperor and royal sphere as something that people should let slip into the past.And for some,the emperor and his family are seen as social figures not like celebrities

The Japan monarchy can be traced back to the 2nd and 3rd centiries AD. The emperor had been  a politically poweful figure up until the year 1192 (KAMAKURA鎌倉 in KANAGAWA pre era) when the emperor ‘s general,called SHOGUN govenment continued until 1868,when the feudal social structure met its end.

enoshima electric railway


Since those times,the Japanese emperor was often believed to be divined and thus the top individual in the country above military and govenment.This status,however,changed again under the new consitution drafted after Second World War.

For a long time the emperor was even considered to be a god,and Japan military govenment used this idea to manipulate the Japanese in its Justification for war against  China & allied nations.Because of this,

after the war came to an end,the allied nations demanded that the emperor declare himself to be human.

These days,the emperor’s duties include playing the role of host to important visitrs from abroad as well as giving speeches when the Japanese clebrate important national events.

Another interesting fact is that Japanese law states the emperor must be a male figure.This regulation is controversial to many,particularly now because the current prince’s family has two daughter.People claim that there have been many empress (ten people in history maybe) throughout Japan’s ancient times,and many criticize this Japanese law and its keeping with  such feudal,old-fashoned ideas.In fact, the emperor’s family is in some respects a living national treasure ,representing nearly two thousand years of ritual and tradition based on SHINTO, the religion of Japan.Because of this,some aspects of the Japanese imperial system are thought to be antiquated and flexible.