Japan Today

Emperor has expressed desire to abdicate in a few years, NHK reports


The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

If ghere going to amend the Constitution, I suggest starting with getting rid of the anachronistic imperial system. Modern countries have no business wasting taxes on a useless system.

-18 ( +16 / -34 )

Whatever His Imperial Majesty's decision will be, I wish him all the best.

23 ( +26 / -3 )

YeahRight,Its none of your business.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

I give him a lot of credit for his stating this, I wish the senile old-farts in the government and business would take his lead!

20 ( +23 / -3 )

If I remember correctly, more than half of the 120 plus Emperors of Japan have abdicated, for one reason or another.

It's Tenno Heika's life, let him do what he wants. It would be interesting to shake things up a bit. If the Crown Prince were to then become Emperor, then his brother would become next in line, but he wouldn't be "the" Crown Prince in the traditional sense.

While we're at it, I'd heartily support a farewell message from Akihito stating, "let women reign again!" (aka Aiko-sama, the rightful heredity heir, regardless what the anachronistically misogynistic Meiji-era interpretations say!)

8 ( +11 / -3 )

It's Emp-EXIT!!!!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Rana SodhiJul. 13, 2016 - 09:04PM JST

YeahRight,Its none of your business.

If YeahRight is paying taxes here. it's very much his / her business.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

The Nippon Kaigi finally has the opportunity to get what they want, one of them is to make their Emperor become the head of state, head of government, commander-in-chief, and god again. Then the Emperor wishes to abdicate. You gotta love him.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Sorry to see him go. He has been a real pain in Abe's bottom, saying lots of stuff that flies in the face of Abe's nationalist beliefs, in particular about the war (no, Japan was not the hero). I hope that leaves him free to run for PM. When Emperor Showa died, I was about 8, and for us kids, who didn't understand what an Emperor was, we were very disappointed because the big store sale season that was about to start was cancelled. We expected to be getting lots of stuff, but got nothing. If the Emperor abdicates rather then dies, then none of that will happen. Also, I agree. The timing is interesting.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Compromise...The duty/obligation/burden must be circumvented, accommodating their Majesties requirements.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, I guess he wants to enjoy he rest of his earthly presence to the greatest. Might want to take up Skydiving or Base jumping.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow! Good for him! He understands his duty to the nation and he obviously wants to enjoy something of a retirement before he passes on. I hope the conservative elements in Japan don't raise a stink about this.

Best wishes to the Heavenly Sovereign and may he have a happy life no matter which decision he makes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Poor sod. the bird in the gilded cage. Who are the "Imperial Household Agency" and what is their background? They have been around for centuries but remain un-named shadows. Emperors in Japan have never been more than figureheads for the prolitariat to enable shadow manipulator so to control the general populous.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Around 1977 there was an essay in TIME about the value and legitimacy of the British royal family that I think made a good point. It pointed out that, although Queen Elizabeth II has no legal governmental authority, the British Prime Minister is obligated to sit down and talk to her on a regular basis. And that just knowing that the Queen, as the representative of all the British people, is going to ask him, in effect, "Well, what's happening? What are you doing about XXXX problem?" is going to keep him/her on his/her toes so that he/she can give a competent, responsible, honorable answer. I imagine that it is, or at least could be, the same with the Japanese royal family and whoever happens to be the Japanese Prime Minister at the time.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So Prince Naruhito will become Emperor in the foreseeable future, then. And unless he dies prematurely, the throne will probably pass directly to his nephew (the government won't want an old prince to take the throne - will look bad).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

These are very fascinating times.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

RE: "If ghere going to amend the Constitution, I suggest starting with getting rid of the anachronistic imperial system. Modern countries have no business wasting taxes on a useless system."

Yeah right is entitled to his opinion and be free of censorship by the media on providing his thought even in Japan, more so if he does pay taxes in Japan. With this said he does bring a point and a waste of taxpayers money to a system that can be managed by the DIET and add those responsibilities to the Central Gov. There is no reason why our taxes should support an archaic system that most have given up other than the Brits who really want it to end as well. One has to remember in history to become emperor or top dog one had to kill or have others killed to get there. There was no general election because everyone liked you and you were the leader but rather the fear of being killed or imprisoned by the top dog and too pay the tax to support the top dogs ways and life style from the poor and working slaves. Much like today but seriously this system can disbanded and the funds used else where to support Japan.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@toshiko. Are you saying Michiko's cup ramen company sponsors the royal family? It looks like you might have an interesting point to make but I can't really make sense of your post. I suggest re-reading and editing before you click "submit".

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The kunaicho (Imp. Household Ag.) is too rigid and overbearing.

I hope Akihito wanting to abdicate encourages them to make a few progressive changes.

I also hope Akihito steps down, regardless of what the kunaicho says about it, and forces them to accept Naruhito as Emperor.

Let the Emperor determine the course of events within reasonable bounds not the kunaicho.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Moon:: If he is not emperor, he could be chairman, retired, will not be false accused as tax stealer..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I really like and respect this man. I'd love to meet him. I read that he still has 250 public engagements a year! Could that be right?

If so -it just shows again the problems with the system and society. That's 5 a week?

At his age, why not cut his duties way back, get the next generation working more.

He is loved by Japanese as is his wife but I can't help feeling sorry for them.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

For all the crap the royal family of Japan has done to the world in the past, I love this guy. For someone so high up in power he really has an understanding of the people and the greater good. Japan needs many people like like him.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The guy has essentially never been free his entire life. I hope he can have a few years of freedom at the end of it. 天皇陛下ご苦労様でした。

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

There is a long history of Japanese emperors retiring and letting the next generation get on with it.

Empress Jito abdicated in favour of her grandson in 697.

Emperor Shomu abdicated in favour of his daughter in 749.

Emperor Uda abdicated in favour of his son in 897.

Emperor Shirakawa abdicated in favour of his infant son in 1086 (This was the start of the Insei, or Cloistered Rule, system, whereby the retired Emperor ruled from behind the scenes. After Shirakawa, Insei Emperors were Toba, Sutoku, Go-Shirakawa, Rokujo and Takakura). These retired emperors held the real power, while the official Emperor, typically a child, did all the ceremonial stuff. This system lasted for several hundred years, even after the Jokyu War in which the Emperor lost all real power to the Shogunate. The last Emperor to take the title of Retired Emperor was Emperor Reigan, in 1686, not all that long ago when you have a line that claims to go back into pre-history.

The Crown Prince isn't a child, of course, and there's no reason on earth why he could or should not take on all the ceremonial duties of his father. (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think all the Imperial duties are ceremonial ones?)

Akihito has done his bit. Let him retire and let him and Michiko have a bit of down-time. The Kunaicho dinosaurs might not be able to bully Empress Masako the same way they have bullied Crown-Princess Masako

As you'll also note from the above, traditionally there have been no qualms about having female Emperors. The dinosaurs of the Kunaicho, who apparently do not know their history, should retire. Then we might see some progress.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If YeahRight is paying taxes here. it's very much his / her business.

No, there is a reason why simply paying taxes doesn't give one the right to decide a country's future. Many people paying taxes have no long-term interest in Japan. Many of them don't even speak Japanese, and plan to return to their home country after a few years. They have little understanding of the country, and little stake in the country's future.

Sure, yeahright has a right to an opinion, but that doesn't mean it's any of his business. If paying taxes gives someone the right to help decide a nations future, USA elections would be decided almost entirely by non-US citizens.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Yeahright the lack of an Imperial household doesn't guarantee that tax money doesn't get squandered. Just ask the French, their President spends 10,000 euro a month on a hair stylist (and he's almost bald)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think he can abdicate with pride in his reign. His son has some shoes to fill

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yep. GOod on him. One has to think that this was a kind of "shot across the bow" as it were to the Nippon Kaigi and the Abe government, as a warning not to start with their laundry list of bringing back Japan to the Edo period.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Retirement sounds exceptionally nice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How's this: totally scrap the constitution, make Japan a republic, and maybe even give the country a new name; a phoenix from the ashes. Maybe a little too rad, but...

0 ( +0 / -0 )


There is a long history of Japanese emperors retiring and letting the next generation get on with it.

You sure have done your history homework.

WIth theInsei in the late Heian Era interestingly the cloistered retired emperors had their own courts. They plus which ever branch of the Fujiwara was around provided multiple centers of power which could be rivals or in conflict. Sometimes it worked (with Shirakawa and if I recall correctly Go-Shirakawa), often not so cohesively.

Nowadays there is the Kunaicho household dinosaurs, the Imperial family, then also the secular government (ie Abe and his mob) and who knows who else. Not a whole lot different.

It could be interesting to see how all this plays out.

Also, who knows what kinds of conspiracies are going to be 'heard' or (or dreamed) about'.

There certainly were a lot of conspiracies for the Insei 900 years ago, so many that the samurai got fed up and set themselves up in charge. There has got to be at least one new video game idea to come out of this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You sure have done your history homework.

My degree included Japanese history. :-)

I don't think it would be a good thing to go back to the old days of Insei and conspiracies, in fact I'm not in favour of any kind of inherited monarchy or royalty; but it would be nice to see Akihito stick one on the Kunaicho, put a spoke in the wheels of the Nippon Kaigi, get himself and his missus a nice retirement package and get his son and his missus settled somewhere less like the gilded cage they're all forced to live in now.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites