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Japan's Imperial House in the Postwar Era, 1945-2019

by Kenneth J. Ruoff

Part of the Harvard East Asian Monographs Series

Japan's Imperial House in the Postwar Era, 1945-2019 Synopsis

With the ascension of a new emperor and the dawn of the Reiwa Era, Kenneth J. Ruoff has expanded upon and updated The People's Emperor, his study of the monarchy's role as a political, societal, and cultural institution in contemporary Japan. Many Japanese continue to define the nation's identity through the imperial house, making it a window into Japan's postwar history. Ruoff begins by examining the reform of the monarchy during the US occupation and then turns to its evolution since the Japanese regained the power to shape it. To understand the monarchy's function in contemporary Japan, the author analyzes issues such as the role of individual emperors in shaping the institution, the intersection of the monarchy with politics, the emperor's and the nation's responsibility for the war, nationalistic movements in support of the monarchy, and the remaking of the once-sacrosanct throne into a people's imperial house embedded in the postwar culture of democracy. Finally, Ruoff examines recent developments, including the abdication of Emperor Akihito and the heir crisis, which have brought to the forefront the fragility of the imperial line under the current legal system, leading to calls for reform.

Japan's Imperial House in the Postwar Era, 1945-2019 Press Reviews

Three cheers to the Harvard University Asia Center for publishing an updated version of Ruoff's landmark study of Japan's postwar monarchy in a global context. In translation, the original edition was awarded Japan's equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize and is considered by many Japanese to be the most important study of the monarchy ever published. In this updated edition, Ruoff deftly analyzes the Heisei Monarchy (1989-2019) under Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, including the abdication of Akihito, as well as the heir crisis that imperils the future of the imperial line.--Sir David Cannadine, Dodge Professor of History, Princeton University I am delighted that the incisive analysis of Japan's monarchy in the postwar era provided in The People's Emperor has been updated to include developments up through the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in Japan.--Takeshi Hara, Professor of Politics and Social Governance, The Open University of Japan The original edition of The People's Emperor is the finest work we have on the Japanese monarchy since World War II, widely read and widely praised in its Japanese translation as well. The new and expanded edition assess the three-decade reign of the Heisei monarch, Akihito, with insight and balance. It thoughtfully addresses the ongoing challenges facing a male-only monarchy in an era of changing views on gender and a dearth of male heirs.--Andrew Gordon, Lee and Juliet Folger Fund Professor of History, Harvard University

Book Information

ISBN: 9780674244474
Publication date: 28th February 2020
Author: Kenneth J. Ruoff
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 440 pages
Categories: Asian history, Political structure & processes, Biography: royalty, Biography: royalty, Asian history, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000, 21st century history: from c 2000 -,

About Kenneth J. Ruoff

Kenneth J. Ruoff is Professor of History and Director of the Center for Japanese Studies at Portland State University.

More About Kenneth J. Ruoff

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