The Royal Ruler of Japan: A Fascinating History of the Emperor’s Role

The Emperor of Japan, also known as the Chrysanthemum Throne, is a symbol of the country’s rich cultural heritage. Learn about the history and significance of the Royal Ruler of Japan in this blog post.

Japan’s monarchy is one of the oldest and most revered institutions in the world. For centuries, the country’s rulers have been seen as divine beings with a direct connection to the gods. Today, the Emperor of Japan remains a symbol of the country’s rich cultural heritage and a revered figurehead. In this blog post, we will explore the history and significance of the Royal Ruler of Japan, also known as the Chrysanthemum Throne.

Imperial Seal of Japan
Imperial Standard of the Emperor of Japan, showing the Imperial Chrysanthemum Seal or Mon

The Chrysanthemum Throne

The Chrysanthemum Throne is the term used to describe the position of the Emperor of Japan. It is said that the first Emperor, Jimmu, ascended to the throne in 660 BCE, and since then, there have been 126 Emperors in Japan. The current Emperor, Naruhito, ascended to the throne in 2019 after his father, Emperor Akihito, abdicated due to health reasons.

The Chrysanthemum Throne is a symbol of Japan’s rich cultural heritage and the continuity of the country’s ancient traditions. The Imperial Family of Japan is held in high esteem by the Japanese people, and the Emperor’s role is seen as both symbolic and ceremonial.

The Royal Ruler of Japan
Ceremony of Enthronement | Credit: Wikipedia Commons

The Role of the Emperor

The Emperor of Japan holds no political power, and the position is purely ceremonial. However, the Emperor has a significant role in Japanese society and is often seen as a unifying figurehead. The Emperor’s duties include presiding over various ceremonies and events, such as the New Year’s greeting and the annual Cherry Blossom Viewing Party.

The Emperor also plays a crucial role in promoting international relations and diplomacy. The Emperor has met with numerous foreign dignitaries and heads of state, and his visits to other countries are seen as opportunities to strengthen ties between Japan and other nations.

Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako | Credit: Wikipedia Commons

The Emperor’s Significance in Japanese Culture

The Emperor of Japan is not just a political figurehead; he is also a revered cultural symbol. The Emperor’s role is deeply rooted in Japanese mythology and religion, and the Emperor is seen as a direct descendant of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu.

The Emperor is also closely associated with the concept of wa, which means harmony and unity. In Japanese culture, harmony is highly valued, and the Emperor’s role in promoting unity and cooperation is seen as an essential part of maintaining social stability.

Emperor Jimmu, ukiyo-e by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1880) | Credit: Wikipedia – Public Domain

The Imperial Family

The Imperial Family of Japan is made up of the Emperor, the Empress, and their children and grandchildren. The Imperial Family is highly respected and enjoys a privileged status in Japanese society.

In recent years, there has been some debate in Japan about the role of the Imperial Family and its place in modern society. Some have called for the abolition of the monarchy, arguing that it is outdated and unnecessary in a modern democracy. However, many Japanese people continue to hold the Imperial Family in high regard, and there is little support for abolishing the monarchy.

The Imperial Family of Japan, 2021 | Credit: Wikipedia Commons

The Future of the Chrysanthemum Throne

The future of the Chrysanthemum Throne is uncertain, and there are many challenges facing the institution. Japan is facing an aging population, and there are concerns about the ability of the Imperial Family to carry out its duties as the members age.

There are also questions about the succession laws of the Imperial Family. Currently, only male members of the family are eligible to ascend to the throne, and there are only three heirs to the throne: Crown Prince Fumihito, Prince Hisahito, and Prince Hitachi. This has led to calls for the succession laws to be revised to allow female members of the family to ascend to the throne.

Japanese Imperial Family Tree February 2022 | Credit: Wikipedia Commons

In addition, the role of the Emperor in Japanese society is evolving. While the Emperor remains a highly respected figure, there are growing calls for the position to be more representative of modern Japanese society. Some have suggested that the Emperor should have a more active role in promoting social justice and environmentalism.

Despite these challenges, the Chrysanthemum Throne remains an important symbol of Japan’s cultural heritage. The Imperial Family has adapted to changing times and continues to play a significant role in Japanese society.


The Royal Ruler of Japan, also known as the Chrysanthemum Throne, is a symbol of Japan’s rich cultural heritage and tradition. The Emperor’s role is ceremonial and symbolic, but it plays an essential part in promoting unity and stability in Japanese society. The Imperial Family is highly respected, but there are challenges facing the institution, including aging and succession issues. Despite these challenges, the Chrysanthemum Throne remains an integral part of Japanese culture, and the Emperor and his family continue to be revered by the Japanese people.

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