picture of the day



Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko stand with Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his wife Shiranthi at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Thursday.

© Japan Today

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Why is it "Emperor" and "Empress" and not simply "King" and "Queen" like everywhere else? Last time I checked Japan was not an empire and had apparently given up the aspiration to be one.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

It is not a kingdom either. It used to be an empire with an emperor and/or empress, pretty much since the country was founded did they always have an emperor and/or empress. It still is an empire since the emperor as a position still exists.

So to answer your question: history, tradition and king and queen makes even less sense.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Emperor looks like he is a going "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh" at something his guest is saying or doing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That answer might be satisfying to you, Reaperinc, but it is not convincing to me. First of all, why is it not a plain old kingdom like Sweden or Holland or the United Kingdom? What is the difference? In all cases it is just some hereditary monarch in a country that settles for such a system. There is no empire so he is not an emperor. Simple as that. It sounds like an affectation (or maybe that is the intention, like Emperor Bokassa of the former Central African Empire). A "tradition" is no answer here since it is Tenno in Japanese. The only tradition seems to be a tradition of humoring Japan's grandiosity.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I wonder what world leaders do when they meet.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ Moonraker: Like I said it used to be an empire, thus it makes sense that if there was a symbolic role to fulfill that this would be the emperor. I come from the Netherlands and you can hardly call that a kingdom either. The Queen and the almost new King don't exactly rule, just as much as the Emperor does not rule Japan. The very notion of empire and kingdom suggests that their is an absolute monarch ruling (in the case of an empire it can also be a small group of people), which is not the case anymore, thus both nations do not deserve the titel empire and kingdom. Yet people like to hold on to traditions which is why we still have a royal family in my country and one in Japan. If we were to do this correctly, we should turn the nations into Republics.

The few islands in the Caribbean that are still considered part of he Netherlands are actually for the most part independent countries withing the kingdom. Since when do kingdoms have independent countries that somehow are still part of the kingdom? Makes no sense either does it?

So whether or not my answer was satisfying to you, it is simply the case that it is because of history as an empire and the desire to continue this tradition of having an Emperor that Japan still has an Emperor. For the same reason my country will get a new King 30th of april, not because we still have a functional kingdom, but because the people enjoy having a royal family as a symbolic entity.

The exact differences between an empire and a kingdom can be found on wikipedia. There are in any case differences on governmental levels.

0 ( +0 / -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