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The Emperor (天皇明仁) and modern attitudes...

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The Emperor (天皇明仁) and modern attitudes...

Postby b4d0m3n » Tue 02.21.2006 9:11 pm

My question relates to how the Japanese view the Emperor in modern times. Are there those among the populace who are monarchists and believe the Emperor represents some kind of traditional/spiritual link? Or are the otherwise traditional Japanese more inclined to current democratic ideas? Explain to me the relationship between the tennō and the common man.
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RE: The Emperor (天皇明仁) and modern attitudes...

Postby S-san » Tue 02.21.2006 11:37 pm

Well the people of Japan basically loook to the emperor as they did it Japan's history. He may not be quite as famous and well respected as in the past but he is the emperor. To the Shinto believers, the emperor is the direct decendant of the sun goddess and is the spiritual leader of Japan for over a 1000 years until the Bakumatsu when the Shogunate was abolished and the emperor was all-powerful again. I do not live in Japan so I can't say if everyone respects the emperor as thye once did. That's someone elses call. I hopw that is what you wanted.
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RE: The Emperor (天皇明仁) and modern attitudes...

Postby Harisenbon » Wed 02.22.2006 12:23 am

Well the people of Japan basically loook to the emperor as they did it Japan's history.


Huh? People view the Emperor as the sole determiner of Japan's future, and as a living god on Earth? I think you're a tad mistaken in this. ;)

I'm not qualified enough to give a full account of what people feel/think about the emperor, so I'll leave it to more knowledgeable folks like Tony and Coco.

I will say that in everyday life, the Emperor seems to have a similar possition to that of the royal family in England -- lots of fame, but little actual power.
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RE: The Emperor (天皇明仁) and modern attitudes...

Postby keatonatron » Wed 02.22.2006 10:13 am

That's right. During the occupation and "reworking" of Japan after World War 2, the Emperor's power was reduced to pretty much nill. However, the Americans (smart as they were) recognized the immense importance the emperor had, and let him remain as emperor (they thought about abolishing the "position" of emperor). It is very much like the King/Queen of England: very little power, but a very important icon.

During WW2 the emperor was extremely important. He WAS Japan. Every Japanese soldier's only reason for fighting was to fight for (and die for) the Emperor. Needless to say, those strong feelings of loyalty didn't just disappear at the end of the war. By now people have grown accustomed to not following the Emperor, but he is still just as much an icon of Japan as pre-WW2 (except no one dies for him).
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RE: The Emperor (天皇明仁) and modern attitudes...

Postby coco » Wed 02.22.2006 12:10 pm

but a very important icon.

失礼ですが、icon は 日本語にすると何になりますか?
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RE: The Emperor (天皇明仁) and modern attitudes...

Postby AJBryant » Wed 02.22.2006 12:47 pm

失礼ですが、icon は 日本語にすると何になりますか?


Like the original concept: 東方教のイコン. It's something that (visually) represents the real thing.



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RE: The Emperor (天皇明仁) and modern attitudes...

Postby alex_2096 » Wed 02.22.2006 3:25 pm

so no more seppuku...
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RE: The Emperor (天皇明仁) and modern attitudes...

Postby S-san » Wed 02.22.2006 9:30 pm

The history of the emperor is correct but alot of the moddern day things are a little fuzzy. I'm familiar with the things that happened after WW2, but past that I'm of little help.
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RE: The Emperor (天皇明仁) and modern attitudes...

Postby Mukade » Wed 02.22.2006 10:49 pm

I think Harisenbon is right in saying that the emperor kind of holds a role similar to the monarchy in England. The royal family is a source of (very limited) national pride and meat for gossip columns, but not much else.

They have no political power, although they do play the role of diplomat quite often, representing Japan at various (mostly cultural) functions around the world.

I think any ideas that the emperor was a god died during Japan's defeat in the war. The U.S. military forced Hirohito to speak on the radio to all Japanese people and tell them of Japan's defeat. The common Japanese had never heard the emperor speak before that, and there are many accounts by people who said they were very surprised at how average he sounded. Some people went as far as saying he sounded nerdy.

Following that were several press photos of the emperor (who was short, even by Japanese standards) standing next to MacArthur (who was tall, even by Western standards). Many were shocked by how diminutive the emperor appeared next to the far more imposing general.

These two incidents went a long way towards making the average Japanese feel the emperor was just another guy. Most youths nowadays, if they ever even think of the emperor at all, likely do not consider him a godhead.

Very little attention is payed to the royal family these days. Some people like reading the gossip columns written about them. And every now and then some big story comes out that will get people talking about them for a little while (like the whole succession crisis right now). But otherwise they've faded into the background.

Rightwing groups often tout the importance of the imperial family, but I think what's truly important to them is the maintenance of the traditional status quo, not whether or not the emperor rules (for example, most rightwing groups want to keep imperial succession restricted to men, but none but the most extreme talk about reinstalling the emperor as the head of state).
Last edited by Mukade on Wed 02.22.2006 10:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: The Emperor (天皇明仁) and modern attitudes...

Postby coco » Thu 02.23.2006 2:46 am

b4d0m3n wrote:
My question relates to how the Japanese view the Emperor in modern times.
Have you ever read "the Imperial Household Agency Homepage"?
http://www.kunaicho.go.jp/eindex.html
Today (23th) is His Imperial Highness Crown Prince's birthday.
The press conference was held by "the Imperial Household Agency",they delivered Crown Prince's image(movie).
http://www.kunaicho.go.jp/koutaishi/den ... n-h18.html (written in Japanese )
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20060223a4.html(digest of press conference in English)

http://www.japanfocus.org/article.asp?id=475might be easy to understand ,I guess. In the above-mentioned "polls of NHK" meant "polls of The NHK Brodcasting Culture Research Insritute", they survey it every 5years. In a recent opinion poll(2003) of the NHK BCRI was
20% of respondents answered "have a esteem" for 天皇.
41% "likable"
36% "indifferent"
03% "antipathy" or elese feelings
respondents: 5400 people (over 16years old, male and female, 450 area of Japan * 12 people),
RR:61.5% (face-to-face interviewing.)

Anyway, when I meet friends, I avoid talking about the Royal family. It's easy to become troubles(fighting) rather than argument. Indeed, I watched it many times, though sometimes joined it.
Explain to me the relationship between the tennō and the common man

Every common man has own political policy.

Now our concerning is a Princess Kiko's pregnant.
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2697

Like the original concept: 東方教のイコン. It's something that (visually) represents the real thing.

ご説明ありがとうございます。
肖像、偶像の方かと思いましたが、皇室関係は阜サが難しいですよね。
Last edited by coco on Thu 02.23.2006 9:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: The Emperor (天皇明仁) and modern attitudes...

Postby Shibakoen » Thu 02.23.2006 1:55 pm

It's Fuji-san day, to boot!
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