Thursday, December 23, 2004


For all you folks out there in the rest of the world who don't have an emperor, I thought I'd post a thought or two on what it's like to have one, especially one that's descended directly from the sun.

Before I came to reside in Japan I never had an emperor. I never really wanted one. When I was growing up in New York, I didn't feel the slightest need for anything imperial; it was quite enough to have a school principal and then an office supervisor. So I certainly didn't move here to get myself an emperor.

Strictly speaking, even though I reside here now, I still don't truly have an emperor, though my Japanese wife does of course, and our Japanese friends, whether they like it or not. Having an emperor isn't really a matter of choice if you're a direct descendant of the center of our solar system, as my wife is, which makes the sun my distant relation by marriage. My children are thus directly descended from the sun as well. Unlike me, they tan quite easily.

I joshingly bring all this up because today's a holiday, being the birthday of the current emperor Akihito, the Heisei Emperor of Japan. His father, Hirohito, reigned as the Showa Emperor from 1926 to 1989. His birthday was a holiday while he was alive. So there are definitely some advantages to having a solar in-law.

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