Imperial system in Japan based on revisionism concerning a female leader

Imperial system in Japan based on revisionism concerning a female leader

Chika Mori and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Japan is known for being a bastion of political family elites who dominate the ministerial system. Likewise, Japan ranks poorly in countless international benchmarks involving women. This concerns few female business leaders, limited political representation, job opportunities lacking in various fields for women, and countless other areas of society where females face discrimination. Therefore, opening up the monarchy to a future queen (empress) would boost the fight against male dominance.

Traditionalists who claim the succession must be males-only are not “real traditionalists.” Instead, they are a legacy of the historical revisionism that took place during the Meiji Restoration. After all, empresses exist historically in Japan.

Reuters reports, “Naruhito has one daughter, 17-year-old Princess Aiko. But she is not eligible to inherit the throne because of a males-only succession law that conservatives see as central to the imperial tradition but that many experts say threatens the very existence of the monarchy.”

Historically, irrespective of the reasons behind empress leaders in Japan, the Chrysanthemum Throne was led by females. The Washington Post says, “Historians say that the first leader of Japan’s imperial family took power more than 1,400 years ago, when Empress Suiko ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne in 592 AD. Suiko would hold her position for 35 years, during which time she spread Buddhism and instituted Japan’s first constitution.”

So, alleged traditionalists can only go back to the Imperial House Law of 1889 when the male succession line was imposed. Thus, if traditionalists negate traditional Japan before the Meiji Restoration of 1868, they are in denial about the historical reality of Japan.

Also, with the spread of Buddhism encouraged by Empress Suiko and the first constitution of importance under her leadership, the significance of this female monarch is historical and long-lasting.

Overall, it is time for Japan to change just like other monarchies throughout the world. Equally, it is hoped that the country will open up “typical Japan” to greater female representation at the highest levels of society.


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