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Does Japan need an emperor or empress?

by Thomasina Larkin

Taichi Kadowaki
Office worker, 32
I don’t think we need an emperor or empress. We Japanese adore the royal family because they are this great symbol,but they don’t really do anything. They just spend our tax money, but on nothing useful or important.

Yoko Sekiya
Housewife, 26
I just think it’s OK to have an emperor or empress. We have a long history of having a royal family, so it’s important to many people as a symbol of our culture. However, I have no reason why they are important to me as an individual.

Christy Aitcherson
Singer, 30
I don’t think Japan needs an imperial family. It’s the same as the royal family in the U.K. They have no real political power. On the other hand, maybe the emperor and empress are very important for tradition in Japan.

Akiyo Takemaru
Office worker, 22
We need an emperor because he’s a symbol of our country. During the war, we fought for the emperor — that’s how important he is to our country’s people. I’m not sure we’ll always need an emperor, but for now he’s a part of our culture.

Sayuri Yoda
Kimono shop staff, 26
I think the emperor and empress are important to Japan because we’ve had them for such a long time. These days they don’t do anything special to affect my life, but they remain a symbol for our country. They are like ambassadors.

Nelson Iitaka
Electrician, 29
They’re important because of tradition and history. When people think about the long tradition of the emperor’s family, they have a strong image of culture and this kind of vision is important to maintain the cohesiveness of society.