Katarzyna Starecka, Geneza systemu cesarza-symbolu

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Katarzyna Starecka

Genesis of the Symbol-Emperor System

 According to the constitution that was put in place in Japan from the year 1947, the Emperor is „the symbol of the State and the unity of the people”. The Emperor lost his power as Head of State due to occupational reforms, but the institution of the Emperor remains a particularly vivid element in Japanese culture. The lost war could have meant the end of the Emperor system since within the Allied countries it was a predominant belief that it was the cult of the „godly” Emperor that drove Japan into war. The author of the article argues that it was the American government’s longing for efficient implementation of occupation policies that was the basic motive behind the resignation from liquidation of the monarch regime in Japan as well as refraining from making Emperor Hirohito stand trial for war crimes or at least abdicate. The author recalls the process of Meiji Constitution revision and the discussion in the diet on whether or not implementing the symbol-Emperor system would undermine the essence of Japanese national character (kokutai). The article presents the arguments of Japanese researchers, proving the thesis that the new constitution only validated the unwritten tradition according to which the Emperor did not actually reign (tennō fushisseiron). The author also mentions the postulates of restitution of the Head of State, uttered by conservative factions in the post-war period.