The Emperor shall be the symbol of the State and of the unity of the
people, deriving his position from the will of the people in whom resides sovereign power.
(The Japanese Constitution of 1947, Article 1)
This essay will strive to demonstrate that there is a symbolic importance to the continuation of the monarchy in Japan and to determine the degree to which the present Emperor, Akihito is himself a true symbol of Japan. This will be achieved through the comparison of the mystical and religious ideology of the Emperor, his revised role after Japan’s defeat in the Second World War and the influence of his role as the representative Head of State in Japan has in accordance with the ideology that the present Emperor is a true symbol of Japan.
According to Shillony’s article, Divinity and Gender, one of the greatest mysteries surrounding the Japanese monarchy is the longevity of its dynasty from around the 6th century, making it more than 14 centuries old. This entitles the Japanese Imperial Monarchy to call itself the oldest reigning dynasty in the world. It is the only one the Japanese themselves are aware of having had and the only one that does not have a name. Shillony also states in the article that the monarchy has survived aristocratic authoritarianism, feudal disintegration, internal warfare, shogunal despotism, modern Westernisation and total military defeat. (Shillony (1999)
Only when this last fact is placed in comparison to the break up of some of the European ruling houses after the end of the First World War, such as The Habsburg Empire in Austria, The Hanoverian Empire in Germany and The Romanov Empire in Russia, and the consequential alterations this had, both geographically and culturally on Europe, can the scale of precedence the decision, MacArthur, the commander in chief of the allied occupation forces made after the end of the Second Word War for Japan to retain their monarchy be...