Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
    HaraKiriBlade is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    416
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Why are the Japanese monarchs still called the emperor and empress? a random thought

    This is not an assignment for school but just what I'm going to post on my Facebook for my friends to read. I might have (actually must have) made some mistakes in the singular / plural usage and used some words / phrases that either don't exist or in a strange manner. Whatever mistake you see, whatever sticks out like a sore thumb, please correct them (including the title and this very text) and thank you very much in advance.

    - HKB

    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.
    Last edited by HaraKiriBlade; 05-Oct-2009 at 05:12. Reason: Forgot to choose the prefix for the title

  2. #2
    Ann1977 is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    1,131
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Why are the Japanese monarchs still called the emperor and empress? a random thou

    I realize that this is casual writing, intended to sound like casual conversation. But even so, there are some mere illiteracies and other bloopers serious enough to discredit this work.

    Before I start, I want to make it clear that I'm not trying to dis Japan or the Emperor and 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 my group and I 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, the dominance of English around the world. I thought it would be a good idea to explore the idea of imperialism a little further before talking about the peripheral 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 until it is now 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 some Russian Islands. It certainly paled in comparison with, let's say, the British Empire, which colonized all of 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 how my question sounds to some people. Yes I'm Korean and I do have a bone 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 my goat. 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.



    Here is some information that you might find interesting:

    "Historically the titles of Tennō (emperor) in Japanese have never included territorial designations as is the case with many European monarchs. The position of emperor is a territory-independent phenomenon - the emperor is the emperor, even if he has followers only in one province (as was the case sometimes with the southern and northern courts)."
    Emperor of Japan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  3. #3
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    4,744
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Why are the Japanese monarchs still called the emperor and empress? a random thou

    It's a bit like South Korea calling itself "Dae Han Min Kuk" (or 대한민국), the Great Korean Republic, isn't it? ;)

    When I met the Emperor's family in Hong Kong, they were completely humble, polite, and lovely.

    I think the Japanese monarchy is considered an empire only because there were about 300 han or fiefdoms where the local ruler or Daimyo had the powers of a king. A term that superseded local kings was needed.

    In any case, it's not much fun for the rest of us to see the verbal venom being spat back and forth between traditional rivals; it's this attitude of hatred that gives rise to these conflicts in the first place. Why not give peace a chance?
    Last edited by konungursvia; 05-Oct-2009 at 14:26.

  4. #4
    HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
    HaraKiriBlade is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    416
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Why are the Japanese monarchs still called the emperor and empress? a random thou

    Ann1977: First of all, thank you very much for the grammatical corrections. I also appreciate other comments as they make me realize where my writing stands.

    I realize that this is casual writing, intended to sound like casual conversation. But even so, there are some mere illiteracies and other bloopers serious enough to discredit this work.
    True, it's not like I'm well versed in history in general, be it ancient or modern, eastern or western. Aside from the fact that the title of emperor in Japan is territory-independent, can you point out other 'illiteracies and bloopers' in my writing? I really would learn a lot from it, you know.

  5. #5
    HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
    HaraKiriBlade is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    416
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Why are the Japanese monarchs still called the emperor and empress? a random thou

    konungursvia: Oh yeah, I felt quite likewise about the Emperor and the Empress. I shook hands with them and everything. The question the Emperor asked me was something like this: "Do you think a Korean can go to Japan and teach English?" when I told him I was from Korea and that I seek to teach English in Japan upon graduation. I know this could be interpreted in many different ways and if anything, he probably didn't know that I now hold a Canadian passport. Even then, I couldn't help but feel down a little.

    I do have Japanese friends on my Facebook. In fact, my best friend is Japanese. If I truly meant my writing to be a 'verbal venom,' I would not have written it in the first place. It's true there are territorial disputes between the two countries. It's true there are racist nut jobs in the Japanese web community called 2ch and my Japanese friend knows it. It's also true that those issues irritate me. But I never meant to attack Japan in general. I don't know if you insinuated my writing to be venomous, but that's the kind of impression I received and I feel a bit offended, to tell you the truth.

    As for 'the Great Korean Republic,' I see nothing technically wrong with it. It is a subjective matter as to whether one would regard the republic of Korea as 'great'. Any nation can call themselves as great and it still wouldn't be technically wrong.

  6. #6
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    4,744
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Why are the Japanese monarchs still called the emperor and empress? a random thou

    Good answer. But I found that your facebook entry was intended to mock the Japanese Emperor, by demonstrating that there isn't really much of an empire, in terms of territory or colonies. I just thought that pointing out many nations aspire to project an air of greatness was an appropriate and helpful reply.

    As for the idea of it being "random" -- this comes across as insincere, as the content shows quite a pointed focus, with an intent we can readily identify and situate within the centuries-old conflict, dating back to the times when the Koreans helped the Mongols attempt to conquer Japan.

    Your English is very good, and I hope you keep writing.

  7. #7
    HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
    HaraKiriBlade is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    416
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Why are the Japanese monarchs still called the emperor and empress? a random thou

    It was totally random in the sense that the thought just came as I was working on my presentation on linguistic imperialism. I do, however, have to admit that I was putting down the Japanese empire by comparing it to the British empire. I just thought that the current Japan is now a peace-loving nation with great international contributions and has nothing to do Imperial Japan of the past, and poking fun at it wouldn't be much of a problem. But yes, I perhaps should not have done so.

    Thanks for your comment, I do appreciate your input. It helps me sort out my thoughts in an organized manner and add new perspectives.

  8. #8
    Ann1977 is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    1,131
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Why are the Japanese monarchs still called the emperor and empress? a random thou

    Quote Originally Posted by HaraKiriBlade View Post
    Ann1977: First of all, thank you very much for the grammatical corrections. I also appreciate other comments as they make me realize where my writing stands.



    True, it's not like I'm well versed in history in general, be it ancient or modern, eastern or western. Aside from the fact that the title of emperor in Japan is territory-independent, can you point out other 'illiteracies and bloopers' in my writing? I really would learn a lot from it, you know.
    The "illiteracies and bloopers" I referred to are the (very few) parts I edited out and replaced with red print.

    The whole thing is punctuated to be a fast and casual read, and to sound like spoken English. Even when this punctuation is technically not what would be used in a formal composition, it is fine here. The same goes for the colloquial and even slangy syntax and vocabulary, the casual structure used to tell the story, and so on. These elements are perfectly suitable for the purpose of this piece.

    I have no comment or opinion about the CONTENT of what you wrote, since I don't know or care anything about it. My only input is as an editor of whatever content you choose to write.
    Last edited by Ann1977; 05-Oct-2009 at 19:11.

  9. #9
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    4,744
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Why are the Japanese monarchs still called the emperor and empress? a random thou

    Quote Originally Posted by Ann1977 View Post
    They are the parts I edited out and replaced with red print.
    Note that for Korean students, red print has a negative connotation (blood or death), also seen to a degree throughout East Asia; for such pupils, I use green.

  10. #10
    Ann1977 is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    1,131
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Why are the Japanese monarchs still called the emperor and empress? a random thou

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    Note that for Korean students, red print has a negative connotation (blood or death), also seen to a degree throughout East Asia; for such pupils, I use green.
    Thanks! Learning is blocked when emotional overtones are inadvertently introduced.
    ---------------------------------------------

    There was a movement in pedagogic circles in the US a while ago to stop the traditional "red pen" correction of student work. The advocates of this idea agitated for red ink to be "euphemized" into purple ink, on the grounds that red ink was daunting and scary ("confrontational" -- hahaha!) to the students, but purple ink was calming and peaceful.
    Mr Teacher: Teachers banned from using red ink

    This suggestion was greeted with derision. As far as I know, it was widely ignored except perhaps for those schools where a lot of energy is wasted on things like this.

    The problem is that the advocates of change did not seem to realize that (for Westerners) the red color was not in itself the scary thing. The practice of using red ink developed initially only because it was a conveniently-available contrast to the students' blue ink.

    Instead, it ACQUIRED its scariness because of the use to which it was put. That means that soon enough, purple ink would become a symbol of scary school failure, and the cycle of "euphemismizing" colors would have to go around once more.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Hotchalk