Before I start, I want to make it clear that I'm not trying to dis Japan or the emperor and the empress of Japan. I did have a rather unpleasant encounter with the emperor of Japan a few months ago but that's totally another issue and what I'm about to write has nothing to do with my personal feelings. Yeah, so today I was working on a presentation in which me and my group have to introduce a book. The book we chose for the presentation was Linguistic Imperialism written by Robert Phillipson and it talks about, among other issues, English spread and dominance in the world. I thought it would be a good idea to explore the idea of imperialism a little further before talking about other periphery topics in the book, so I brought national imperialism into the formula. I first compared English to ancient empires that had sought to conquer the world because the English language today has spread to the point of being regarded as the global language and not all of us are its willing subjects.
I then wrote how territorial expansion by invading another nation is forbidden by the international law today and there is currently no nation that is officially called an empire because it insinuates the ruling of other nations by iron fist. Then I made a list of empires that existed throughout the history and matched each one against my criteria of what constitutes an empire. This is when my random thought about the Japanese monarchs flashed in. Yes, Japan used to be an empire, only because it managed to annex Korea, Taiwan and a tiny bit of Russian Islands. It certainly paled in comparison with, let's say, the British Empire, which colonized the entire India, Canada, Australia, and most of South and East Africa in its glory days, but it nonetheless qualified as an empire, hence Imperial Japan, or Dai Nippon Teikoku. The monarchs of Japan back then would indeed have been entitled to call themselves emperors and empresses. But now that Imperial Japan is no more and it does not rule other nations anymore, why then are the current monarchs of Japan still the emperor and empress, as opposed to the king and queen? Not that I am trying to challenge their authority as this is really none of my business, but it just sounds technically wrong.
I know what my question sounds to some people. Yes I'm Korean and I do have bones to pick with Japan when it comes to its territorial dispute with Korea and nut job racists in 2ch web community. And yes my encounter with the emperor of Japan wasnít all that pleasant as he asked me a certain question that got on my nerve. Iím sure Iíll have a chance to write about it later. He probably didnít mean it to be that way but I felt crappy for the rest of that day. Having said all this, I do want to reiterate that my question really was the result of a random light bulb moment and I had no intention of attacking Japan and its monarchs.