The Japanese claim that their empire was founded by the first Emperor Jinmu Tenno, 660 B.c., and that the dynasty founded by him still reigns. From 1186 until 1867 the Emperors remained in a spiritual seclusion while successive families of Shoguns exercised the temporal power on their behalf. The most important of these families were cadets of the Imperial House descended from the Emperor Sei-wa 859–876. They were the Minamoto which held the Shogunate from 1186 to 1219; the Asikaga, 1334 to 1573; and the Tokugawa 1603 to 1867. In that year the Emperor Meiji, grandfather of the present sovereign, recovered the plentitude of the Imperial power after the abdication on October 14, 1867, of the fifteenth and last Tokugawa Shogun Keiki, known historically as Yoshinobu. In 1871 the feudal system (Hōken Seiji) was entirely suppressed. The Emperor bears title of Dai Nippon Teikoku Tenno (‘Imperial Son of Heaven of Great Japan’). Only foreigners make use of the poetical title ‘Mikado.’
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