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Conservative dissatisfaction with the modern emperors

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Chapter Summary

In Japan, nationalism has usually been centered on the monarchy. In the middle of the nineteenth century, when Japan was coerced into opening its doors to the west, another assertive emperor, Kōmei (r. 1846?1867), occupied the throne. The reformist samurai, who seized power and carried out the Meiji Restoration of 1868, were fortunate to have Kōmei?s son, the fifteenyear- old Mutsuhito, known after his death as the Meiji Emperor, as their monarch. Emperor Taishō?s son Hirohito, known after his death as the Shōwa Emperor, became regent in 1921 and succeeded the throne in 1926. Akihito was the first Japanese monarch to ascend the throne as a ?symbol emperor? under the new constitution. The conservatives? criticism of Akihito has extended to his two sons, whose casual behavior was deemed unfitting for imperial princes.

Keywords: Hirohito; Japan; Kōmei; Meiji Emperor; Meiji Restoration; Mutsuhito; nationalism; Shōwa Emperor



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