National

Censored records on Emperor Taisho released

Kyodo News

The Imperial Household Agency has released censored documents depicting the later life of Emperor Taisho (1879-1926), the grandfather of Emperor Akihito.

In addition to eight volumes released in 2002 and 21 in 2003, the agency Wednesday opened up nine of the 85 volumes listing the year-to-year records of the Emperor’s activities and of key events.

The latest release covers the records from July 1921 to February 1927, when the Emperor’s funeral was held, and he was succeeded by Crown Prince Hirohito.

In the documents, descriptions of Crown Prince Hirohito become more and more frequent as Emperor Taisho’s health deteriorates and the monarch convalesces at Imperial villas in Hayama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, and elsewhere.

The Emperor, however, was widely rumored to have become mentally incapacitated, and it is unclear whether this emerges in the documents.

The documents depict the legitimacy of appointing Crown Prince Hirohito as regent to serve as Emperor Taisho’s proxy in November 1921 after the ailing monarch returned from a trip to Europe.

Eight pages are used to explain that the precedent for appointing a regent dates to ancient times.

Crown Prince Hirohito covered Emperor Taisho’s duties, ranging from meeting foreign diplomats to reading Imperial speeches at ceremonies.

After the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, the Crown Prince granted ¥10 million to quake survivors and expressed his condolences.

The documents were completed in 1937, a decade after Emperor Taisho’s funeral. The latest releases complete the period from his 1912 accession after the death of Emperor Meiji until his 1927 funeral.