Crown Prince Naruhito (2018)

2019 Brings a New Emperor for Japan!

The Emperor of Japan is the traditional head of state of Japan as well as the head of the Imperial Family. He is defined as “the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people”, as stated in the 1947 Japanese Constitution. Japan is said to have the oldest continuous hereditary monarchy in the world. The Chrysanthemum Throne is a term used to embody the Japanese monarchy and the legal authority for the existence of the Japanese government. Japanese legends say that the monarchy of Japan was founded by Emperor Jimmu in 660 BCE.

Emperor Akihito

The title of Emperor was adopted from the Chinese characters and applied to Japanese rulers who reigned before the 7th-8th centuries CE. The Nihon Shoki also tells us that Japan was created by Emperor Jimmu, from whom all Japanese Emperors descended from. Modern historians concur that the Emperors prior to the late 3rd century CE ruler, Emperor Ōjin, are legendary in their own right in the history of Japan. Although it was only during the reign of  the 29th emperor of Japan, Emperor Kinmei (509-571 CE), the first of which modern historiography is able to assign verifiable dates,

Emperor Akihito is currently Japan’s emperor and he just recently announced his abdication. He is the first Japanese monarch to abdicate his post in two centuries. The last Japanese Emperor to abdicate was Emperor Kokaku, in 1817.  In 2016, Emperor Akihito gave a rare televised address, stating that his age and health could pose constraints in carrying out his duties in the future.

Crown Prince Naruhito. |Michel Temer

Following his speech, the Japanese parliament passed into law a historic bill that allows the current emperor to abdicate his throne if he so chooses. Crown Prince Naruhito, who over the years has already assumed some of his father’s duties, will succeed his father on the 1st of May, 2019 becoming the 126th Emperor to ascend to Japan’s Chrysanthemum Throne.