• S. H. Steinberg
Part of the The Statesman’s Yearbook book series (SYBK)


According to Japanese historical myths the empire was founded by Jimmu Tennō, 660 B.c., and the dynasty founded by him still reigns. From 1186 until 1867 the emperors had little but ceremonial functions, while successive families of Shoguns exercised the temporal power. In 1867 the Emperor Meiji recovered nominally the imperial power after the abdication on 14 Oct. 1867 of the fifteenth and last Tokugawa Shogun Keiki, known historically as Yoshinobu. In 1871 the feudal system (Hōken Seido) was abolished; this was the beginning of the rapid westernization undertaken by the new government, then mainly controlled by the western clans of Satsuma and Chōshu. The Emperor bears the title of Nihon-koku Tennō (‘Emperor of Japan’). Only foreigners make use of the poetical title ‘Mikado.’


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1961

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. H. Steinberg
    • 1
  1. 1.The Royal Historical SocietyUK

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