The Unique Features of the Japanese Emperor

Behind the Scene |日本の天皇 その特異性

The Unique Features of the Japanese Emperor

Said to be the descendent of the sun goddess, the Japanese Emperor is the latest successor of a bloodline that has been unbroken for more than 1,500 years. As Japan’s head of state, the Emperor lived in modest quarters, and governed the country peacefully. Conversely, the shogun – whose duty, in principal, was to guard the Emperor – lived in a huge well-fortified castle, and, trading on the Imperial prestige, became the actual ruler. However, the Imperial family could never be totally wiped out, as those in positions of power still paid homage to them. Forces opposed to the shogun’s regime started up the “Meji Restoration” in 1868 and the Emperor was restored to power. Japan set its sights on becoming a modern nation, however, the army became more influential and before long, the country began marching towards a future as a militaristic nation. As a result, Japan started a war with China, and then took part in the Second World War. Japan was defeated in the war and the late Emperor Showa (commonly known in the west as Hirohito) – grandfather of the present Emperor – ended the war on August 15, 1945. The Emperor, who was regarded as a “living god,” declared that he was a human being on January 1, the following year. After that the Tokyo Trials were held, which focused on deciding whether the Emperor was a war criminal. It is said that the trial was greatly swayed by the Emperor’s personality and by the following words, delivered on meeting with Douglas MacARTHUR, the supreme commander of the allied powers: As a person who bears full responsibility, I will leave the judgment up to the powers you represent.” In consideration of the special feelings Japanese had for their Emperor, in the end, prosecutor Joseph KEENAN found him not guilty. It is generally thought that the Emperor was neither a militarist, nor a puppet, rather, he struggled to avoid a war and to maintain peace. On the day preceding his radio broadcast to announce the end of the war, he expressed his decision to the Imperial Court as follows: “If the war continues, the structure of the nation and its future will be demolished, but conversely if there is an immediate ceasefire, the roots of future development will remain.” As he predicted, postwar Japan achieved an astonishing economic recovery. After the war the Japanese constitution was revised and the Emperor became a symbol for the Japanese people, no longer taking part in politics. The Emperor also has a symbolic role in the Shinto religion, but surprisingly a Christmas event was held by the royal family in the Emperor Showa’s reign. Japan uses both the Christian calendar and a unique calendar that resets to its first year to when a new Emperor is crowned. Emperors do not have surnames, instead they are typically addressed by the name of their era, such as the “Emperor Showa” or the “Emperor Meiji.” The Emperor has become a more familiar figure to his citizens these days, however, it is still taboo for the media to criticize him and in print or broadcasts it is customary to show respect by using special language to refer to him.

太陽たいよう女神めがみ
taiyou no megami
the sun goddess
no
of
子孫しそん
shison
(the) descendent
とし、
to shi,
said to be
日本にほん天皇てんのう
nihon no Tennnou ha
(the) Japanese Emperor
1500せんごひゃくねん
sen gohyaku nen
fifteen hundred years
以上いじょう
ijou
more than
にわたり
ni watari
for
ひとつの家系かけい
hitotsu no kakei
a bloodline (that has been unbroken)
de
of
継承けいしょうされてきました。
keishou sarete kimashita.
is the (latest) successor
天皇てんのうは、
tennnou ha,
(the) Emperor
日本にほん
nihon no
Japan’s
元首げんしゅ
genshu
head of state
としては
toshite ha
as
質素しっそ
shissona
modest
やかた
yakata
quarters
ni
in
み、
sumi,
lived and
平和的へいわてき
heiwatekini
peacefully
まつりごとをおこなってきました。
matsurigoto wo okonatte kimashita.
governed (the) country
ぎゃくに、
gyakuni,
conversely
本来ほんらい
honrai
in principal
天皇てんのう
tennnou no
(the) Emperor
護衛ごえいをすべき
goei wo subeki
to guard
任務にんむ
ninmu ni
(whose) duty
あった
atta
was
将軍しょうぐんは、
shougun ha,
(the) shogun
巨大きょだい
kyodai de
huge
強固きょうこ
kyoukona
well-fortified
しろ
shiro
(a) castle
ni
in
み、
sumi,
lived and
皇室こうしつ
koushitsu no
Imperial
威厳いげん
igen wo
(the) prestige
利用りようしつつ
riyou shitsutsu
trading on
実質的じっしつてき
jisshitsutekina
actual
支配者しはいしゃ
shihaisha to
(the) ruler
なっていました。
natte i mashita.
became
しかしながら
shikashi nagara
however
権力けんりょく
kenryoku
power
no
of
za
positions
ni
in
あったもの
atta mono ha
those
それでも
soredemo
still
天皇家てんのうけ
tennnou’ke
them <the Imperial family>
には
niha
to
敬意けいいはらった
keii wo haratta
paid homage
ため、
tame,
as
天皇家てんのうけ
tennnou’ke ga
(the) Imperial family
完全かんぜん
kanzennni
totally
消滅しょうめつさせられることは
shoumetsu saserareru koto ha
wiped out
けっしてありませんでした。
kesshite arimasen deshita.
could never be
1868年ねん
sen happyaku rokujuu hachi nenn,
(in) eighteen sixty-eight [year]
幕府ばくふ
bakufu
(the) shogun’s regime
ni
to
反抗はんこうする
hannkou suru
opposed
勢力せいりょく
seiryoku ha
forces
明治めいじ維新いしん」を
“meiji ishin” wo
the Meji Restoration
こし、
okoshi,
started up and
天皇てんのう
tennnou ha
(the) Emperor
統治者とうちしゃ
touchisha
power
ni
to
かえきます。
kaerizaki masu.
was restored
日本にほん
nihon ha
Japan
近代きんだい国家こっか
kindai’kokka wo
(a) modern nation
目指めざします
mezashi masu
set (its) sights on becoming
が、
ga,
however
軍部ぐんぶ
gunnbu ga
(the) army
台頭たいとうして
taitou shite
became more influential and
やがて
yagate
before long
軍事ぐんじ国家こっか
gunji’kokka no
(as a) militaristic nation
みち
michi wo
towards (a) future <road>
あゆはじめました。
ayumi hajime mashita.
(the country) began marching
そして
soshite
as a result
日本にほん
nihon ha
Japan
中国ちゅうごく
chuugoku
China
to
with
戦争せんそう
sensou wo
(a) war
はじめ、
hajime,
started and
さらに
sarani
then
だい世界せかい大戦たいせん
dai’niji sekai’taisenn
the Second World War
ni
in
参戦さんせんします。
sannsenn shimasu.
took part
日本にほん
nihon ha
Japan
大戦たいせん
taisenn
(the) war
ni
in
やぶれ、
yabure,
was defeated and
現天皇げんてんのう陛下へいか
gen tennnou’heika
(the) present Emperor
no
of
祖父そふ
sofu,
grandfather
昭和しょうわ天皇てんのう
shouwa Tennnou
the (late) Emperor Showa
西洋せいよう
(seiou
the west
では
deha
in
裕仁ひろひと
hirohito
Hirohito
として
to shite
as
られている)は
shirarete iru) ha
commonly known
1945年せんきゅうひゃくよんじゅうごねん
sen kyuuhyaku yonjuu go nen
nineteen forty-five [year]
8月15日はちがつじゅうごにち
hachi gatsu juu go nichi
August fifteenth
ni
on
戦争せんそう
sensou wo
(the) war
わらせました。
owarase mashita.
ended
現神様あらがみさま
“ara’gamisama”
(a) living god
とされた
to sareta
(who) was regarded as
天皇てんのうは、
tennnou ha,
(the) Emperor
翌年よくねん
yokutoshi no
(the) following year
1月1日いちがつついたち
ichi gatsu tsuitachi
January first
ni
on
人間にんげん宣言せんげんをします。
ningen’sengen wo shi masu.
declared that (he) was (a) human being
その
sono go,
after that
東京とうきょう裁判さいばん
toukyou saiban ga
(the) Tokyo Trials
おこなわれ、
okonaware,
were held (which)
天皇てんのう
tennnou ni
(the) Emperor
戦争せんそう責任せきにんがある
sensou’sekinin ga aru
was (a) war criminal
かが
ka ga
whether
裁判さいばん
saiban no
deciding
焦点しょうてんになりました。
shouten ni nari mashita.
focused on
天皇てんのう人柄ひとがら
tennnou no hitogara
(the) Emperor’s personality
と、
to,
and
ダグラス・マッカーサーだぐらす・まっかーさー
dagurasu makka-sa
Douglas MacArthur
連合国れんごうこくぐん最高さいこう司令官しれいかん
rengoukoku’gunn saikou’shireikann
(the) supreme commander of (the) allied powers
との
to no
with
会見かいけん
kaikenn
meeting
de
on
かたったとされた
katatta to sareta
delivered
つぎ言葉ことば
tsugino kotoba
(the) following words
ga
by
裁判さいばん
saibann ni
(the) trial
おおきな影響えいきょうあたえた
ookina eikyou wo ataeta
was greatly swayed
to
that
いわれています。
iwarete i masu.
it is said
全責任ぜんせきにん
“zen’sekinin wo
full responsibility
もの
ou mono
(a) person who bears
として、
to shite,
as
わたし自身じしん
watashi jishin wo
I [myself ]
あなたの
anata no
you
代表だいひょうする
daihyou suru
represent
諸国しょこく
shokoku no
the powers
採決さいけつにゆだねる」。
saiketsu ni yudaneru.”
will leave (the) judgment up to
日本人にほんじん
nihonjin ga
Japanese
天皇てんのう
tennnou
(their) Emperor
ni
for
いだ
idaku
had
特別とくべつ感情かんじょう
tokubetsuna kanjou wo
(the) special feelings
考慮こうりょし、
kouryo shi,
in consideration of
結局けっきょく
kekkyoku,
in the end
ジョセフ・キーナンじょせふ・きーなん検事けんじ
josefu ki-nann kenji ha
Joseph Keenan prosecutor
無罪むざいとします。
muzai to shimasu.
found (him) not guilty
天皇てんのう
tennnou ha
(the) Emperor
軍国ぐんこく主義者しゅぎしゃでもなく
gunkoku’shugisha demo naku
was neither (a) militarist
あやつ人形にんぎょう
ayatsuri’ningyou
(a) puppet
でもなく、
demo naku,
nor rather
戦争せんそう回避かいひ
sensou’kaihi
to avoid (a) war
ya
and
和平わへい
wahei wo
to maintain peace
にかけていた
ki ni kakete ita
(he) struggled
to
that
一般的いっぱんてき
ippantekini
generally
られています。
mirarete i masu.
(it) is thought
終戦しゅうせん
shuusen wo
(the) end of (the) war
げる
tsugeru
to announce
ラジオらじお放送ほうそう
rajio housou no
(his) radio broadcast
前日ぜんじつ
zenjitsu,
(on) the day preceding
下記かきのように
kaki no youni
as follows
その決意けつい
sono ketsui wo
his <its> decision
御前ごぜん会議かいぎ
gozen’kaigi
(the) Imperial Court
de
to
べました。
nobe mashita.
(he) expressed
戦争せんそう
“sensou wo
(the) war
継続けいぞくすれば
keizoku sureba
continues if
国体こくたい
kokutai
(the) structure of (the) nation
mo
and
国家こっか
kokka no
its <nation’s>
将来しょうらい
shourai
future
mo
[also]
なくなる
nakunaru
will be demolished
が、
ga,
but
これにはんし、
koreni hanshi,
conversely
即時そくじ停戦ていせん
sokuji teisen
(an) immediate ceasefire
すれば、
sure ba,
there is if
将来しょうらい発展はってん
shourai hatten
future development
no
of
根基こんき
konnki ha
(the) roots
のこる」
nokoru”
will remain
と。
to.
[that]
その言葉ことばどおり、
sono kotoba doori
as he <it> predicted
戦後せんご
sengo no
postwar
日本にほん
nihon ha
Japan
驚異的きょういてき
kyouitekina
astonishing
経済けいざい復興ふっこう
keizai’fukkou wo
(an) economic recovery
げました。
nashitoge mashita.
achieved
戦後せんご
senngo,
after (the) war
日本国にほんこく憲法けんぽう
nihonkoku’kenpou ha
(the) Japanese constitution
改訂かいていされ、
kaitei sare,
was revised and
天皇てんのう
tennnou ha
(the) Emperor
日本国民にほんこくみん
nihonn’kokuminn
(the) Japanese people
no
for
象徴しょうちょう
shouchou
(a) symbol
となり、
to nari,
became [and]
もはや
mohaya
no longer
政治せいじ
seiji
politics
には
niha
in
関与かんよしていません。
kanyo shite imasenn.
[not] taking part
天皇てんのう
Tennnou wa/ha
(the) Emperor
神道しんとう
Shintou
(the) Shinto religion
no
in
象徴的しょうちょうてき存在そんざい
shouchouteki’sonzai
(a) symbolic role <existence>
でも
demo
also
あります
ari masu
has
が、
ga,
but
意外いがいにも
igai nimo
surprisingly
昭和しょうわ天皇てんのう時代じだい
Shouwa Tennnou no jidai
the Emperor Showa’s reign <era>
ni
in
クリスマスくりすます行事ぎょうじ
Kurisumasu no gyouji ga
(a ) Christmas event
皇室こうしつ
koushitsu
(the) royal family
でも
demo
by
おこなわれていました。
okonawarete imashita.
was held
日本にほん
nihon ha
Japan
西暦せいれき
seireki
(the) Christian calendar
と、
to,
and
あたらしい天皇てんのう
atarashii tennnou ga
(a) new Emperor
就任しゅうにんした
shuunin shita
when ~ is crowned
とし元年がんねんとする
toshi wo gannnen to suru
(that) resets to its first year to
独自どくじ年号ねんごう
dokuji no nengou wo
(a) unique calendar <name of era>
併用へいようして
heiyou shite
both
使つかっています。
tsukatte imasu.
uses
天皇てんのうには
tennnou niha
Emperors
苗字みょうじ
myouji ga
surnames
なく、
naku,
do not have
一般的いっぱんてきには
ippanteki niha
(instead ) typically
元号げんごう
gengou wo
(the) name of (their) era
もちいて
mochiite
by
昭和しょうわ天皇てんのう
“shouwa tennnou”
the Emperor Showa
明治めいじ天皇てんのう
“meiji tennnou”
(or) the Emperor Meiji
のように
no youni
such as
ばれます。
yobare masu.
(they) are addressed
今日こんにちでは
konnnichi deha
these days
天皇てんのう
tennnou ha
(the) Emperor
国民こくみん
kokumin
(his) citizens
ni
to
したしまれる
shitashimareru
more familiar
存在そんざい
sonzai ni
(a) figure
なりました
nari mashita
has become
が、
ga,
however
メディアめでぃあ
medhia
(the) media
ga
for
天皇てんのう
tennnou wo
him <Emperor>
批判ひはんすることは
hihann suru koto ha
to criticize
タブーたぶーで、
tabu- de,
(it) is (still) taboo and
いたり
kaitari
print or
放送ほうそうしたりする
housou shitari suru
broadcasts
ときは
toki ha
in <when>
特別とくべつ用語ようご
tokubetsuna yougo wo
special language (to refer to him)
使つかって
tsukatte
by using
敬意けいい
keii wo
respect
あらわすことが
arawasu koto ga
to show
慣例かんれいです。
kanrei desu.
(it) is customary

More from Hiragana Times

00:00 / 00:00