Synopses & Reviews
Few institutions are as well suited as the monarchy to provide a window on postwar Japan. The monarchy, which is also a family, has been significant both as a political and as a cultural institution. This comprehensive study analyzes numerous issues, including the role of individual emperors in shaping the institution, the manner in which the emperor's constitutional position as symbol has been interpreted, the emperor's intersection with politics through ministerial briefings, memories of Hirohito's wartime role, nationalistic movements in support of Foundation Day and the reign-name system, and the remaking of the once sacrosanct throne into a "monarchy of the masses" embedded in the postwar culture of democracy. The author stresses the monarchy's "postwarness," rather than its traditionality.
masses embedded in the postwar culture of democracy. The author stresses the monarchy's postwarness, rather than its traditionality.
Few institutions are as well suited as the monarchy to provide a window on postwar Japan. The monarchy, which is also a family, has been significant both as a political and as a cultural institution. Ruoff analyzes numerous issues, stressing the monarchy's "postwarness" rather than its traditionality.
2004 Jiro Osaragi Commentary Prize, Asahi Shimbun
About the Author
Kenneth J. Ruoff is Assistant Professor of Japanese History at Portland State University.
Portland State University
Table of Contents
The Monarchy, "660 B.C."-1945
The making of the modern monarchy
The monarchy after World War I
The emperor system and the Fifteen-Year War, 1931-45
The Constitutional Symbolic Monarchy
The symbolic monarchy as Japanese tradition
Interpreting the emperor's new role
The imperial decoration system
Contesting the symbolic monarchy
The "constitutional symbolic monarchy under popular sovereignty"
Ministerial Briefings and Emperor Hirohito in Politics
Briefings under the new constitution and the Occupation, 1947-52
The post-Occupation period
Imperial War Responsibility and Apologies
Emperor Hirohito's new clothes
Emperor Hirohito and General Charles de Gaulle: referents for sanitized memories of the war in Japan and France
The right's endorsement of the symbolic monarchy
Imperial apologies and the constitution
Nationalistic Movements to Restore Cultural Symbols of the Monarchy
The Foundation Day re-establishment movement
The movement to perpetuate the reign-name system
The "Monarchy of the Masses"
Hirohito, emperor of the people
The emergence of Crown Prince Akihito
An imperial "love match"
Backlash against the monarchy of the masses
The warm, fuzzy Heisei monarchy