The Emperors of Modern Japan

“The Japanese emperors, a peculiar and unique phenomenon in modern times, are the subject of this important handbook edited by Ben-Ami Shillony. An international team of leading scholars looks at these emperors – Meiji (Mutsuhito), Taishō (Yoshihito), Shōwa (Hirohito), and the present emperor Akihito – both as personalities, and as a constantly developing institution. It becomes clear that both the personalities, and the periods in which they reign(ed) have shaped Japanese monarchy, and our image of it”

Windows for the Crown Prince

Autobiography of the English tutor of Akihito “We want you to open windows on to a wider world for out Crown Prince” —Viscount Matsudaira

“Chiefly I thought about the Crown Prince and wondered what kind of child he was. He was twelve, I knew, nearing thirteen. I had seen newspapers photographs of a chubby little boy with a direct, intelligent gaze, and I found these photographs, blurred as they were appealing. He seemed to be so thoroughly, solidly, himself

Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan

“The emperor who emerges from this work was a fallible human being, susceptible to the same desires, drives, instincts, and faults common to all human beings, but with a prolonged educational experience such as probably no one in the entire world, except himself, was given. For much of his life he was at or near the center of power, the active agent of his and the ruling elite interests. The knowledge he had of both the public stage and the hidden machinations of government no other individual has shared. To think of him as the one individual whose very existence manifested the deepest political dilemmas of modern Japan could be quite accurate

The People’s Emperor: Democracy and the Japanese Monarchy, 1945-1995

“Few institutions are as well suited as the monarchy to provide a window on Japan. For the first five decades following the end of World War II, this national symbol of Japan experienced momentous change. The monarchy has been significant both as a political and as a cultural institution. Indeed, an examination of the monarchy requires that we abandon a strict division of the political from the cultural and of the symbolic from the political. The emperor has embodied the modern Japanese nation-state and nationalism is a phenomenon that belies the compartmentalization of politics, culture and symbols”.