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
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