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Current Japanese Emperor
The Emperor of Japan is the head of the Imperial Family and is the ceremonial head of the state of Japan's system of constitutional monarchy. According to the 1947 constitution, he is "the symbol of the State and the unity of the people."
Historically, he is also the highest authority of the Shinto religion as he and his family are said to be the direct descendants of the sun-goddess Amaterasu. His importance also lies in dealing with heavenly affairs, including Shinto rituals and national rites.
In Japanese, the Emperor is called Tennō (天皇), which means "heavenly sovereign". In English, the term Mikado (帝) for the Emperor was once daily but is now considered obsolete.
Currently, the Emperor of Japan is the only remaining monarch in the world reigning under the title of "Emperor". The Imperial House of Japan is the oldest continuing hereditary monarchy in the world.
In Kojiki or Nihon Shoki, a book of Japanese history finished in the eighth century; it is said that Japan was founded in 660 BC by Emperor Jimmu. The current Emperor is Akihito, who has been on the Chrysanthemum Throne since he was crowned after his father, Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito), died in 1989.
The role of the Emperor of Japan has historically alternated between a largely ceremonial symbolic role and that of an actual imperial ruler. Since the establishment of the first shogunate in 1192, the Emperors of Japan have rarely taken on the role of supreme battlefield commander, unlike many Western monarchs. External political forces have nearly always controlled Japanese Emperors to varying degrees.
In fact, from 1192 to 1867, the shoguns, or their shikken regents in Kamakura (1203–1333), were the de facto rulers of Japan, although they were nominally appointed by the Emperor. After the Meiji restoration in 1867, the Emperor embodied all sovereign power in the realm, as enshrined in the Meiji Constitution of 1889. His current status as a figurehead dates from the 1947 Constitution.
Since the mid-nineteenth century, the Imperial Palace has been called Kyūjō (宮城), then Kōkyo (皇居), and is located on the former site of Edo Castle in the heart of Tokyo. Earlier, Emperors resided in Kyoto for nearly eleven centuries.
Unlike most constitutional monarchies, the Emperor is not even the nominal Chief Executive and possesses only certain necessary ceremonial powers. The Constitution states that the Emperor "shall perform only such acts in matters of state as are provided for in the Constitution, and he shall not have powers related to government" (article 4).
It also stipulates that "the advice and approval of the Cabinet shall be required for all acts of the Emperor in matters of state" (article 3). Article 4 also states that the Emperor can delegate these duties as provided by law. Article 65 explicitly vests executive power in the Cabinet, of which the Prime Minister is the leader. The Emperor is also not the (ceremonial) commander-in-chief of the Japan Self-Defense Forces. The Japan Self-Defense Forces Act of 1954 also explicitly vests this role with the Prime Minister.
While the Emperor formally appoints the Prime Minister to office, article 6 of the constitution requires him to appoint the candidate "as designated by the Diet" without any right to decline the appointment.
Article 6 of the Constitution delegates the Emperor the following ceremonial roles:
- Appointment of the Prime Minister as designated by the Diet.
- Appointment of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as designated by the Cabinet.
The Emperor's other duties are laid down in Article 7 of the Constitution, where it is stated that the "Emperor, with the advice and approval of the Cabinet, shall perform the following acts in matters of state on behalf of the people":
- Promulgation of amendments to the constitution, laws, cabinet orders, and treaties.
- Conference of the Diet.
- Dissolution of the House of Representatives.
- Proclamation of general election of members of the Diet.
- Attestation of the appointment and dismissal of Ministers of State and other officials as provided for by law and of full powers and credentials of Ambassadors and Ministers.
- Attestation of general and special amnesty, commutation of punishment, reprieve, and restoration of rights.
- Awarding of honours.
- Attestation of instruments of ratification and other diplomatic documents as provided by law.
- They are receiving foreign ambassadors and ministers.
- Performance of ceremonial functions.
Regular ceremonies of the Emperor with a constitutional basis are the Imperial Investitures in the Imperial Palace and the Speech from the Throne ceremony in the House of Councillors in the National Diet Building. The latter ceremony opens ordinary and extra sessions of the Diet. Ordinary sessions are opened this way each January and after new elections to the House of Representatives. Extra sessions usually convene in the autumn and are open then.
List of Japanese Emperors
|EMPEROR #||REIGN||POSTHUMOUS NAME|
|Emperors recorded in Japanese Mythology|
|1||660 BC to 585 BC||Emperor Jimmu|
|2||581 BC to 549 BC||Emperor Suizei|
|3||549 BC to 511 BC||Emperor Annei|
|4||510 BC to 476 BC||Emperor Itoku|
|5||475 BC to 393 BC||Emperor Kosho|
|6||392 BC to 291 BC||Emperor Koan|
|7||290 BC to 215 BC||Emperor Korei|
|8||214 BC to 158 BC||Emperor Kogen|
|9||157 BC to 98 BC||Emperor Kaika|
|10||97 BC to 30 BC||Emperor Sujin|
|11||29 BC to 70||Emperor Suinin|
|12||71 to 130||Emperor Keiko|
|13||131 to 191||Emperor Seimu|
|14||192 to 200||Emperor Chuai|
|(Not Officially Recognized)||201 to 269||Empress Jingu|
|Yamato Period ( Kofun Period)|
|15||270 to 310||Emperor ojin|
|16||313 to 399||Emperor Nintoku|
|17||400 to 405||Emperor Richu|
|18||406 to 410||Emperor Hanzei|
|19||411 to 453||Emperor Ingyo|
|20||453 to 456||Emperor Anko|
|21||456 to 479||Emperor Yuryaku|
|22||480 to 484||Emperor Seinei|
|23||485 to 487||Emperor Kenzo|
|24||488 to 498||Emperor Ninken|
|25||498 to 506||Emperor Buretsu|
|26||507 to 531||Emperor Keitai|
|27||531 to 535||Emperor Ankan|
|28||535 to 539||Emperor Senka|
|Asuka period (592-710)|
|29||539 to 571||Emperor Kimmei|
|30||572 to 585||Emperor Bidatsu|
|31||585 to 587||Emperor Yomei|
|32||587 to 592||Emperor Sushun|
|33||592 to 628||Empress Suiko|
|34||629 to 641||Emperor Jomei|
|35||642 to 645||Empress Kogyoku|
|36||645 to 654||Emperor Kotoku|
|37||655 to 661||Empress Saimei|
|38||661 to 672||Emperor Tenji|
|40||672 to 686||Emperor Temmu|
|41||686 to 697||Empress Jito|
|42||697 to 707||Emperor Mommu|
|43||707 to 715||Empress Gemmei|
|Nara Period (710-794)|
|44||715 to 724||Empress Gensho|
|45||724 to 749||Emperor Shomu|
|46||749 to 758||Empress Koken|
|47||758 to 764||Emperor Junnin|
|48||764 to 770||Empress Shotoku|
|49||770 to 781||Emperor Konin|
|Heian Period (794-1192)|
|50||781 to 806||Emperor Kammu|
|51||806 to 809||Emperor Heizei|
|52||809 to 823||Emperor Saga|
|53||823 to 833||Emperor Junna|
|54||833 to 850||Emperor Ninmyo|
|55||850 to 858||Emperor Montoku|
|56||858 to 876||Emperor Seiwa|
|57||876 to 884||Emperor Yozei|
|58||884 to 887||Emperor Koko|
|59||887 to 897||Emperor Uda|
|60||897 to 930||Emperor Daigo|
|61||930 to 946||Emperor Suzaku|
|62||946 to 967||Emperor Murakami|
|63||967 to 969||Emperor Reizei|
|64||969 to 984||Emperor En'yu|
|65||984 to 986||Emperor Kazan|
|66||986 to 1011||Emperor Ichijo|
|67||1011 to 1016||Emperor Sanjo|
|68||1016 to 1036||Emperor Go-Ichijo|
|69||1036 to 1045||Emperor Go-Suzaku|
|70||1045 to 1068||Emperor Go-Reizei|
|71||1068 to 1073||Emperor Go-Sanjo|
|72||1073 to 1086||Emperor Shirakawa|
|73||1087 to 1107||Emperor Horikawa|
|74||1107 to 1123||Emperor Toba|
|75||1123 to 1142||Emperor Sutoku|
|76||1142 to 1155||Emperor Konoe|
|77||1155 to 1158||Emperor Go-Shirakawa|
|78||1158 to 1165||Emperor Nijo|
|79||1165 to 1168||Emperor Rokujo|
|80||1168 to 1180||Emperor Takakura|
|81||1180 to 1185||Emperor Antoku|
|82||1183 to 1198||Emperor Go-Toba|
|Kamakura Period (1192-1333)|
|83||1198 to 1210||Emperor Tsuchimikado|
|84||1210 to 1221||Emperor Juntoku|
|86||1221 to 1232||Emperor Go-Horikawa|
|87||1232 to 1242||Emperor Shijo|
|88||1242 to 1246||Emperor Go-Saga|
|89||1246 to 1260||Emperor Go-Fukakusa|
|90||1260 to 1274||Emperor Kameyama|
|91||1274 to 1287||Emperor Go-Uda|
|92||1287 to 1298||Emperor Fushimi|
|93||1298 to 1301||Emperor Go-Fushimi|
|94||1301 to 1308||Emperor Go-Nijo|
|95||1308 to 1318||Emperor Hanazono|
|96||1318 to 1339||Emperor Go-Daigo|
|1331 to 1333||Emperor Kogon|
|1336 to 1348||Emperor Komyo|
|1348 to 1351||Emperor Suko|
|1351 to 1352||Interregnum|
|1352 to 1371||Emperor Go-Kogon|
|1371 to 1382||Emperor Go-En'yu|
|1382 to 1392||Emperor Go-Komatsu|
|Muromachi Period (1392-1573)|
|97||1339 to 1368||Emperor Go-Murakami|
|98||1368 to 1383||Emperor Chokei|
|99||1383 to 1392||Emperor Go-Kameyama|
|100||1392 to 1412||Emperor Go-Komatsu|
|101||1412 to 1428||Emperor Shoko|
|102||1428 to 1464||Emperor Go-Hanazono|
|103||1464 to 1500||Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado|
|104||1500 to 1526||Emperor Go-Kashiwabara|
|105||1526 to 1557||Emperor Go-Nara|
|106||1557 to 1586||Emperor Ogimachi|
|107||1586 to 1611||Emperor Go-Yozei|
|Edo Period (1603-1867)|
|108||1611 to 1629||Emperor Go-Mizunoo|
|109||1629 to 1643||Empress Meisho|
|110||1643 to 1654||Emperor Go-Komyo|
|111||1655 to 1663||Emperor Go-Sai|
|112||1663 to 1687||Emperor Reigen|
|113||1687 to 1709||Emperor Higashiyama|
|114||1709 to 1735||Emperor Nakamikado|
|115||1735 to 1747||Emperor Sakuramachi|
|116||1747 to 1762||Emperor Momozono|
|117||1762 to 1771||Empress Go-Sakuramachi|
|118||1771 to 1779||Emperor Go-Momozono|
|119||1780 to 1817||Emperor Kokaku|
|120||1817 to 1846||Emperor Ninko|
|121||1846 to 1867||Emperor Komei|
|Modern Japan (1868-present)|
|122||1867 to 1912||Emperor Meiji|
|123||1912 to 1926||Emperor Taisho|
|124||1926 to 1989||Emperor Showa|
|125||1989 to 2019||Emperor Akihito|
|126||2019 to Present||Emperor Naruhito|