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Encyclopedia > Japanese imperial succession controversy

The Japanese Imperial succession controversy refers to the question of whether Japan's laws of succession under the The Imperial Household Law of 1947 should be changed from male-only primogeniture to equal primogeniture. This would again permit unmarried or widowed female descendants in the male line of the Imperial House to inherit the Chrysanthemum Throne, but also allow something unprecedented: making it possible for married princesses and princesses' children whose fathers are not descendants in the male line of the Imperial House to ascend the throne. This might mean that princesses' husbands born in the common class would be regarded as members of the Imperial House. Succession is the act or process of following in order or sequence. ... The Imperial Household Law of 1947 was passed during the Showa era on January 16, 1947. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Breast Star of the Order of the Chrysanthemum The Chrysanthemum Throne (菊花紋章; kikukamonshō, or kikkamonshō) is the common name given to the Imperial throne of Japan. ...

Contents

Historical background

There are references in Chinese sources about early Japan, to (predominantly) female tribal leaders (the predecessors of the later "emperors") that ruled over the people before the earliest Japanese records (see Himiko). Himiko (jp: 卑弥呼; c. ...


Ruling Empresses in Japanese history

Seven women have served as tenno, i.e. reigning Empresses, during the approximately 1,500-year recorded history of Japan on nine occasions. Two of those empresses have, after abdicating, reascended the throne under different names. The last time Japan had a reigning Empress was in 1771, when Empress Go-Sakuramachi abdicated in favor of her nephew, Emperor Go-Momozono. Emperor is also a Norwegian black metal band; see Emperor (band). ... Empress Go-Sakuramachi (後桜町天皇) (September 23, 1740 - December 24, 1813) was the 117th imperial ruler of Japan. ... Emperor Go-Momozono (後桃園天皇) (August 5, 1758 - December 16, 1779) was the 118th imperial ruler of Japan. ...


The ruling empresses have been:

  • Empress Suiko (推古天皇 Suiko Tennō) was the 33rd emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession, and the first known woman to hold this position from 593 until 628.
  • Empress Jito (持統天皇 Jitō Tennō) was the 41st imperial ruler of Japan, and ruled from 686 until 697.
  • Empress Gemmei (also Empress Genmyō; 元明天皇 Genmei Tennō) was the 43rd imperial ruler of Japan ruling from 661 – December 7, 721.
  • Empress Koken (孝謙天皇 Kōken Tennō) also Empress Shōtoku (称徳天皇 Shōtoku Tennō) was both the 46th and 48th imperial ruler of Japan from 749 to 758. She reascended in 764 and ruled until 770. Her posthumous name for her second reign (764-770) was Empress Shotoku.
  • Empress Go-Sakuramachi (後桜町天皇 Go-Sakuramachi Tennō) was the 117th imperial ruler of Japan, and ruled from September 15, 1762 to January 9, 1771.

Empress Suiko (推古天皇 Suiko Tennō) (554-April 15, 628[1]) was the 33rd emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession, and the first known woman to hold this position. ... Events Empress Suiko ascends to the throne of Japan. ... Events Khusro II of Persia overthrown Pippin of Landen becomes Mayor of the Palace Brahmagupta writes the Brahmasphutasiddhanta Births Deaths Empress Suiko of Japan Theodelinda, queen of the Lombards Categories: 628 ... Empress Kōgyoku (皇極天皇 Kōgyoku Tennō), also Empress Saimei (斉明天皇 Saimei Tennō) (594–August 24, 661[1]) was the 35th and 37th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. ... February 18 is the 49th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... Events August 5 - In the Battle of Maserfield, Penda king of Mercia defeats and kills Oswald, king of Bernicia. ... July 12 is the 193rd day (194th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 172 days remaining. ... Events End of the reign of Empress Kogyoku of Japan Emperor Kotoku ascends to the throne of Japan Byzantines recapture Alexandria from the Arabs Births Empress Jito of Japan Categories: 645 ... Empress Kōgyoku (皇極天皇) or Saimei (斉明天皇) (594–661) was the 35th imperial ruler of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. ... February 14 is the 45th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Events November 15 - Northumbrian king Oswiu defeats the pagan Mercian king Penda in the Battle of Winwaed Empress Saimei ascends to the throne of Japan. ... August 24 is the 236th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (237th in leap years), with 129 days remaining. ... Events Caliph Ali Ben Abu Talib is assassinated. ... Empress Jito (From Ogura Hyakunin Isshu) Tomb of Emperor Temmu and Empress Jitō Empress Jitō (持統天皇 Jitō Tennō) (645 – December 22, 702[1]) was the 41st imperial ruler of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. ... Events October 21 - Conon becomes Pope, succeeding Pope John V. Empress Jito ascends to the throne of Japan Kingdom of Kent attacked and conquered by West Saxons under Caedwalla Births August 23 - Charles Martel, winner of the Battle of Tours Deaths Emperor Temmu of Japan Korean Buddhist monk Weonhyo See... Events End of the reign of Empress Jito of Japan Emperor Mommu ascends to the throne of Japan Approximate date of the Council of Birr, when the northern part of Ireland accepted the Roman calculations for celebrating Easter. ... Empress Gemmei (also Empress Genmyō; 元明天皇 Genmei Tennō) (661 – December 7, 721) was the 43rd imperial ruler of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession, and the fourth woman to hold such a position. ... Events Caliph Ali Ben Abu Talib is assassinated. ... Former Byzantine emperor Anastasius II leads a revolt against emperor Leo III Theuderic IV succeeds Chilperic II Battle of Toulouse - Al-Samh ibn Malik al-Khawlani, the governor Muslim Spain (al-Andalus) is defeated by Duke Odo of Aquitaine preventing an Arab invasion of Gaul. ... Empress Kōken (孝謙天皇 Kōken Tennō) also Empress Shōtoku (称徳天皇 Shōtoku Tennō) (718 – August 28, 770[1]) was both the 46th and 48th imperial ruler of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. ... Events June - Aistulf succeeds his brother Ratchis as king of the Lombards End of the reign of Emperor Shomu of Japan Empress Koken ascends to the throne of Japan Abu al-Abbas as-Saffah becomes caliph Births Deaths Saint John of Damascus (or Damascene), theologian Ratchis, king of the Lombards... Events End of the reign of Empress Koken of Japan; she is succeeded by Emperor Junnin. ... Events Empress Shotoku succeeds Emperor Junnin on the throne of Japan. ... Events Emperor Konin ascends to the throne of Japan, succeeding Empress Shotoku. ... Empress Kōken (孝謙天皇 Kōken Tennō) also Empress Shōtoku (称徳天皇 Shōtoku Tennō) (718 – August 4, 7701) was both the 46th and 48th imperial ruler of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. ... Empress Meishō (明正天皇 Meishō Tennō) (January 9, 1624 - December 4, 1696) was the 109th imperial ruler of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from December 22, 1629 to November 14, 1643. ... December 22 is the 356th day of the year (357th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... Events March 4 - Massachusetts Bay Colony is granted a Royal charter. ... November 14 is the 318th day of the year (319th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 47 days remaining until the end of the year. ... // Events January 21 - Abel Tasman discovers Tonga February 6 - Abel Tasman discovers the Fiji islands. ... Empress Go-Sakuramachi (後桜町天皇) (September 23, 1740 - December 24, 1813) was the 117th imperial ruler of Japan. ... September 15 is the 258th day of the year (259th in leap years). ... 1762 was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... January 9 is the 9th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1771 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ...

Post Meiji-era laws

(See Emperor of Japan: Succession) His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Akihito. ...


Women were barred from the throne for the first time in 1889 by a Prussian-influenced Constitution during the 19th century Meiji Restoration, and this prohibition was continued by the Imperial Household Law of 1947, enacted under Japan's post-World War II constitution during the American occupation. The 1947 law further restricts the succession to legitimate male descendants in the male line of Meiji only (excluding other male lines of imperial dynasty, such as Fushimi, Higashikuni, Kitashirakawa, etc.), and specifically bars the emperor and other members of the imperial family from adopting children. The Meiji Restoration ), also known as the Meiji Ishin, Revolution, or Renewal, was a chain of events that led to a change in Japans political and social structure. ... The Imperial Household Law of 1947 was passed during the Showa era on January 16, 1947. ... Combatants Major Allied powers: United Kingdom Soviet Union United States Republic of China and others Major Axis powers: Nazi Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Harry Truman Chiang Kai-Shek Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tojo Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead...


The current situation

Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako have one child, HIH Princess Aiko (her official appellation is Toshi no Miya, or Princess Toshi), born on December 1, 2001. The child's birth, which occurred more than eight years after her parents' marriage and after the Crown Princess had considerable (and widely noted) difficulty in conceiving a child, has sparked a lively debate in Japan about Imperial succession. To add to this dearth of male heirs, Crown Prince Naruhito's brother, Prince Akishino, had two daughters, and the two other collateral members of the Imperial Family, Prince Tomohito of Mikasa and the late Prince Takamado, also had daughters. No male heir had been born into the Imperial Family in nearly 41 years (see Current order of succession). Prince Akishino's wife, Princess Kiko, gave birth to a baby boy in September 2006. The child, Prince Hisahito, is now third in line to the Imperial Throne. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Masako is a japanese name, used for females. ... His/Her Imperial Highness (abbreviation HIH) is a title used by members of an Imperial family to denote Imperial - as opposed to royal - status to show that the holder in question is descended from an Emperor rather than a King (compare His/Her Royal Highness). ... Princess Aiko Princess Aiko, The Princess Toshi (敬宮愛子内親王殿下 Toshi no miya Aiko naishinnō denka), born December 1, 2001, is the first child of Their Imperial Highnesses Crown Prince Naruhito, heir apparent to the Japanese throne, and Crown Princess Masako. ... December 1 is the 335th (in leap years the 336th) day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2001: A Space Odyssey. ... Prince Akishino (Fumihito) of Japan (秋篠宮文仁親王殿下 Akishino-no-miya Fumihito shinnō denka) also known as Prince Fumihito (文仁親王 Fumihito shinnō) (born 30 November 1965) is a member of the Japanese imperial family. ... Prince Tomohito of Mikasa (三笠宮寬仁 Mikasa-no-miya Tomohito shinnō), eldest son of the current HIH Prince Mikasa and HIH Princess Mikasa (Yuriko). ... His Imperial Highness Prince Takamado (Norihito) of Japan (jp: Takamado no miya Norihito shinnō), (b. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Princess Akishino ), formerly Kiko Kawashima , born 11 September 1966) is the wife of Prince Akishino, who is the second son of the Emperor Akihito and the Empress Michiko of Japan. ... His Imperial Highness Prince Hisahito of Akishino , 6 September 2006-) is the third child of Prince and Princess Akishino, and their first son. ...


Some, as in The Japan Times editorial on February 12, 2006[1], expressed their hope that Princess Kiko's child would be a daughter, so that Princess Aiko could become reigning empress. They believe that it is necessary to have an empress regnant to act as a symbol for social reform over womens' issues in Japan. The Asahi Shimbun published an editorial on May 5, 2006[2] suggesting that the current system was unsustainable. Although it did not expressly call for revising the succession law to allow women to sit on the throne, it said that the birth of a male child to Princess Kiko could not provide a long-term solution to the issue of the imperial succession, and that flexibility was needed for the continuation of the imperial family. Following the birth of Prince Hisahito, the controversy surrounding the succession issue has abated. However, it is not certain that the new Prince will sire male heirs of his own, thus the debate over succession of female heirs may still be prevalent. The Japan Times is one of the few independent English newspapers published in Japan: it mainly competes with English editions of the major dailies, such as the Daily Yomiuri and the Mainichi Daily News, as well as the International Herald Tribune. ... February 12 is the 43rd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Asahi-OSAKA office Asahi is a common name in Japan, for other uses see Asahi. ... May 5 is the 125th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (126th in leap years). ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Timeline of recent events

  • On January 24, 2005, the Japanese government announced that it would consider allowing the Crown Prince and Princess to adopt a male child, in order to avoid a possible "heir crisis." Adoption is an age-old imperial Japanese tradition, for dynastic purposes prohibited only in modern times by Western influence. The child would presumably be adopted from one of the former imperial branches which lost imperial status after World War II. However, a government-appointed panel of experts submitted a report on October 25, 2005, recommending that the Imperial succession law be amended to permit equal primogeniture.
  • In November, 2005, it was reported [3] that Emperor Akihito's cousin Prince Tomohito of Mikasa had objected to the reversal of the male-only succession, in a column of the magazine of the welfare association which he serves as president. Prince Tomohito had suggested four options to continue the male-only line succession there; the fourth was permitting the Emperor or Crown Prince to take a concubine, which was allowed by the former law of imperial succession.
  • On January 20, 2006, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi used part of his annual keynote speech to address the controversy when he pledged to submit a bill to the Japanese Diet letting women ascend to the throne so that imperial succession may be continued into the future in a stable manner. Koizumi did not announce any particular timing for the legislation to be introduced, nor did he provide details about its content, but said that it would be in line with the conclusions of the 2005 government panel.[4]
  • On February 1, 2006, former trade minister Takeo Hiranuma caused a controversy by arguing against the proposed reform bill because Princess Aiko might marry a foreigner in the future [5]. A precedent, Empress Koken's relationship with a foreign man, had however not then been an obstacle for her to reascend the throne as Empress Shotoku. A similar fear has not been expressed to hinder succession of males, though they also may marry foreigners - having just not yet done so. A foreign marriage is hardly any more likely for Aiko than for any of her male relatives.
  • On September 6, 2006, Princess Kiko delivered a baby boy, later named Prince Hisahito. According to the current succession law, he is third in line to the throne, but Princess Aiko, who now holds no right to succession, would have precedence over him as well as over her uncle if the law is changed. [6] It is expected that subsequent discussion of the law will be held off until the new Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has time to assess Japanese public opinion; it is widely believed that Abe opposes any change to the current succession law. Upcoming elections in 2007 may also divert public attention away from the issue.

January 24 is the 24th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Adoption is the legal act of permanently placing a child with a parent or parents other than the birth parents. ... Combatants Major Allied powers: United Kingdom Soviet Union United States Republic of China and others Major Axis powers: Nazi Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Harry Truman Chiang Kai-Shek Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tojo Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead... October 25 is the 298th day of the year (299th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Akihito () (born December 23, 1933) is the current Emperor ) of Japan, the 125th person to hold that title, according to the traditional order of succession. ... Prince Tomohito of Mikasa (三笠宮寬仁 Mikasa-no-miya Tomohito shinnō), eldest son of the current HIH Prince Mikasa and HIH Princess Mikasa (Yuriko). ... A swampy marsh area ... January 20 is the 20th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A prime minister is the most senior minister of a cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. ... Junichiro Koizumi , born January 8, 1942) is a Japanese politician who served as Prime Minister of Japan from 2001 to 2006. ... The National Diet of Japan (国会; Kokkai) is Japans legislature. ... February 1 is the 32nd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Takeo Hiranuma (平沼 赳夫 Hiranuma Takao) (born 3 August 1939 in Shinjuku, Tokyo) is a Japanese politician. ... Empress Kōken (孝謙天皇 Kōken Tennō) also Empress Shōtoku (称徳天皇 Shōtoku Tennō) (718 – August 28, 770[1]) was both the 46th and 48th imperial ruler of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. ... Empress Kōken (孝謙天皇 Kōken Tennō) also Empress Shōtoku (称徳天皇 Shōtoku Tennō) (718 – August 4, 7701) was both the 46th and 48th imperial ruler of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. ... February 6 is the 37th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Prince Akishino (Fumihito) of Japan (秋篠宮文仁親王殿下 Akishino-no-miya Fumihito shinnō denka) also known as Prince Fumihito (文仁親王 Fumihito shinnō) (born 30 November 1965) is a member of the Japanese imperial family. ... HIH Princess Kiko Her Imperial Highness Princess Akishino (秋篠宮紀子親王妃 akishino no miya kiko shinnōhi), née Kawashima Kiko (川島紀子), (born 11 September 1966), is the wife of Prince Akishino (Fumihito), the second son of the Emperor Akihito and the Empress Michiko, and a member of the Japanese imperial family through marriage. ... September 6 is the 249th day of the year (250th in leap years). ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... HIH Princess Kiko Her Imperial Highness Princess Akishino (秋篠宮紀子親王妃 akishino no miya kiko shinnōhi), née Kawashima Kiko (川島紀子), (born 11 September 1966), is the wife of Prince Akishino (Fumihito), the second son of the Emperor Akihito and the Empress Michiko, and a member of the Japanese imperial family through marriage. ... His Imperial Highness Prince Hisahito of Akishino , 6 September 2006-) is the third child of Prince and Princess Akishino, and their first son. ... {{nihongo|Shinzo Abe|安倍 晋三|Abe Shinzō|extra=pronounced [abe É•inzoː], born (September 21, 1954 – April 15, 2007) is the current Prime Minister of Japan, elected by a special session of the National Diet on September 26, 2006. ...

External links

  • http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/09/05/japan.princess/index.html
  • http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1531895,00.html?cnn=yes
  • http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/5320224.stm

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