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Home » 3. Institutions and Administrative Practices » The Emperor
Kōshitsu Tenpan
(Imperial House Code)
The code of the Imperial household. Although not originally made public, the Imperial House Code was established in 1889 and modified in 1907 and 1918. The original code was presented in 1884-5 as part of the Imperial Rules. The rules were rewritten (now called the "Imperial Household Rules" — 10 August 1886) following a number of criticisms by Inoue Kowashi and suggestions by Imperial Household Agency minister Itō Hirofumi and Domestic Minister Sanjō Sanetomi. The enactment of these rules, however, was ultimately rejected. A draft of the code was then resubmitted by Yanagihara Sakimitsu (with the support of Itō, now Prime Minister) in November 1897 under the title "Preliminary Imperial Household Code." Inoue, with consultation from Karl Friedrich Hermann Roesler, made further changes to the code. After a number of modifications to both Yanagihara's original manuscript and Inoue's revisions, it was submitted to the Cabinet and ratified as the "Imperial Household Code." The code was composed of 12 sections and 62 articles, which stipulated paternal Imperial succession, that succession rites and the daijōsai would be held only in Kyoto, and that Imperial succession could only occur upon the death of the current Emperor. The code also formalized protocol concerning the age of succession [one must be 18 or older], matters concerning the Empress and Princes, honorific Imperial titles, the question of de facto rule, the Imperial family, private Imperial financial holdings, and day-to-day Imperial finances. Along with the Japanese Imperial Constitution, the original Imperial Code was regarded as the supreme law of the land, and was not amendable by the Diet. With revisions to the Code in 1907, however, the Code became applicable not only to the Imperial family but also to the Japanese public. This change was gazetted in the Kanpō, the official Government Gazette. On this, see Itō Hirobumi's Explication of the Constitution (penned by Inoue Kowashi).
       The current Imperial Code (comprised of five sections with thirty-seven articles), made public in 1947, is fundamentally different from the original Code as it is included as a part of Diet law. The current Code does not recognize Imperial succession from those outside of the Imperial lineage and also does not stipulate how to determine Imperial era names. Nor does it discuss questions concerning the inheritance of the Imperial regalia and the Daijōsai. The current code also allows for broader provisions for members of the Imperial family who seek to leave royalty and leaves decisions concerning changes in Imperial succession and matters of Imperial marriage up to the Imperial family council.

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"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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