Cover: Japan’s Imperial House in the Postwar Era, 1945–2019, from Harvard University PressCover: Japan’s Imperial House in the Postwar Era, 1945–2019 in HARDCOVER

Harvard East Asian Monographs 432

Japan’s Imperial House in the Postwar Era, 1945–2019

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Product Details


$65.00 • £52.95 • €58.50

ISBN 9780674244474

Publication Date: 02/04/2020


440 pages

6 x 9 inches

24 photos, 5 illus., 6 color illus,

Harvard University Asia Center > Harvard East Asian Monographs


  • List of Figures*
  • Acknowledgments
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • 1. The Monarchy, “660 BCE”–1945
    • The Making of the Modern Monarchy
    • The Monarchy after World War I
    • The Emperor System and the Fifteen-Year War, 1931–45
  • 2. The Constitutional Symbolic Monarchy
    • The Symbolic Monarchy as Japanese Tradition
    • Interpreting the Emperor’s New Role
    • The Imperial Decoration System
    • Contesting the Symbolic Monarchy
    • Official Legitimization
    • The “Constitutional Symbolic Monarchy under Popular Sovereignty”
  • 3. Ministerial Briefings and Emperor Hirohito in Politics
    • Briefings under the New Constitution and the Occupation, 1947–52
    • The Post-Occupation Period
  • 4. 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
  • 5. Nationalistic Movements to Restore Cultural Symbols of the Monarchy
    • The Foundation Day Reestablishment Movement
    • The Movement to Perpetuate the Reign-Name System
    • 2019 Addendum
  • 6. 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
  • 7. From the Heisei Era to the Reiwa Era
    • The Heisei Agenda
    • Mixed Messages and Absences
    • The Reiwa Era
  • 8. The Abdication of Emperor Akihito and the Fragility of the Imperial Line
    • The Abdication in Historical Context
    • The Fragility of the Imperial Line
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Works Cited
  • Index
  • * Figures
    • 1. A chart showing some members of the royal family to help illustrate, in particular, the heir crisis as of 2019
    • 2. Cartoon mocking imperial democracy, 1945
    • 3. Order of the Golden Kite
    • 4. General Nogi Maresuke and his wife shortly before their suicide, 1912
    • 5. Stone monument commemorating “vestiges” of Emperor Jimmu
    • 6. Japanese students at work in service to the throne, 1940
    • 7. 1940 postmark from Kashihara, center of the 2,600th anniversary celebrations of the Empire of Japan’s (mythical) foundation
    • 8. Advertisement for tourist memorabilia to mark holy visits to imperial sites
    • 9. Supreme Commander Emperor Hirohito
    • 10. Chart titled “The Japanese State Today” showing the reformed postwar polity
    • 11. Proposed “Order of Peace”
    • 12. Emperor Hirohito with Mickey Mouse, 1975
    • 13. Emperor Akihito offering an apology to South Korean President Roh Tae Woo, 1990
    • 14. Emperor Akihito greets Yokoi Shōichi at garden party, 1991
    • 15. Mayor Yoshikawa Saburō of Kashihara City playing the role of Emperor Jimmu in his city’s Yamato Parade
    • 16. Famous photograph of General Douglas MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito in their first meeting, September 1945
    • 17. Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako walking on the beach with four of their children, 1946
    • 18. Emperor Hirohito greets his countrymen during a domestic tour, 1947
    • 19. Emperor Hirohito visiting the Miike Coal Mine in Fukuoka Prefecture, 1949
    • 20. Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako, then-Crown Prince Akihito and then-Crown Princess Michiko, and other members of the imperial family greet countrymen making a congratulatory visit to the palace on Hirohito’s birthday, 1986
    • 21. Elizabeth Vining, English-language tutor to Akihito from 1946 to 1950, in classroom with the crown prince and his classmates
    • 22. The wedding parade of Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko, 1959
    • 23. Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko with “Baby Naru,” 1961
    • 24. Crown Princess Michiko in the kitchen, 1961
    • 25. Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko visiting a public apartment complex, 1960
    • 26. Koizumi Shinzō, director of Crown Prince Akihito’s education, and Elizabeth Vining answer questions at a press conference on the day of Akihito’s wedding to Michiko
    • 27. Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko holding hands while ice skating
    • 28. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko comforting disaster victims, 1991
    • 29. Empress Michiko hugging a victim of the destructive Kobe earthquake, 1995
    • 30. Naruhito and Masako, 1999
    • 31. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko dancing with nursery school children, 2001
    • 32. Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide holds up a sign with the new reign name, Reiwa, 2019
    • 33. Akihito and Michiko talk with Nagano Paralympics gold medalists during a spring garden party at the Akasaka Imperial Gardens, 1998
    • 34. Michiko assists Akihito in finding the correct page of his address at the ceremony marking the thirtieth year of his reign, 2019
    • 35. Then-Crown Prince Naruhito delivers a speech about “Water and Natural Disasters” at the World Water Forum, 2018
    • 36. Akihito catching gobies in Saroma Lake, Hokkaido, 1985

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