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Edited by Ben-Ami Shillony

The Japanese emperors, a peculiar and unique phenomenon in modern times, are the subject of this important handbook edited by Ben-Ami Shillony. An international team of leading scholars looks at these emperors - Meiji (Mutsuhito), Taishō (Yoshihito), Shōwa (Hirohito), and the present emperor Akihito – both as personalities, and as a constantly developing institution. It becomes clear that both the personalities, and the periods in which they reign(ed) have shaped Japanese monarchy, and our image of it.

The essays thoroughly deal with topics such as the ideology behind the institution, the roles of the emperors and their wives, their visual representation, their links to Christianity, the antagonism they called forth in right-wing circles, Hirohito’s much-debated war responsibility, and the controversy over amending the succession rules.