Japanese Name - Imperial Names

Imperial Names

See also: Imperial Household of Japan

The Japanese emperor and his families have no surname for historical reasons, only a given name such as Hirohito (裕仁), which is rarely used in Japan: Japanese prefer to say "the Emperor" or "the Crown Prince", out of respect and as a measure of politeness.

When children are born into the Imperial family, they receive a standard given name, as well as a special title. For instance, the title of Akihito (current Emperor, Tsugu-no-miya Akihito (継宮明仁)) is Tsugu-no-miya (継宮 "Prince Tsugu"), and was referred to as "Prince Tsugu" during his childhood. This title is generally used until the individual becomes heir to the throne or inherits one of the historical princely family names (常陸宮 Hitachi-no-miya, 三笠宮 Mikasa-no-miya, 秋篠宮 Akishino-no-miya, etc.).

When a member of the Imperial family becomes a noble or a commoner, the emperor gives him or her a family name. In medieval era, a family name "Minamoto" was often used. In modern era, princely family names are used. For example, many members of the extended Imperial family became commoners after World War II, and adopted their Imperial surnames as regular surnames. Conversely, at the time that a noble or a commoner become a member of the Imperial family, such as through marriage, his or her family name is lost. An example is Empress Michiko, whose name was Michiko Shōda before she married prince Akihito.

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Famous quotes containing the words names and/or imperial:

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    Robert Frost (1874–1963)

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