Great Construction

One Form of Lèse Majesté

     The imperial nation of Japan is a solemn national polity without peer throughout the world. The fact that for three thousand majestic years, through the line of imperial ancestors, Japan has benefited, even if in a tenuous manner, from the imperial house, and that its ninety million subjects have continued to bathe in virtue unparalleled in other nations, is a boundlessness that cannot be praised enough. It is not unreasonable that imperial subjects wish to rejoice ever more over the august majesty of the Emperor. In this regard, I deeply believe that we must truly maintain a solemn attitude and a pure frame of mind.
     As one of the great issues in society these days, it is most unpleasant to have to even hear about ideas such as the emperor as an organ of state theory. The fact that this academic theory has become such a major issue has of course to do with the text of the theory itself, but the whole issue is quite lamentable because it means that there are spiritual lapses within Japanese subjects as well.
     His Majesty, Emperor of the entire realm, like the sun in the heaven, is of absolute authority, so indeed, any discussion or the formation of issues about the office is already in danger of being a crime of lèse majesté. Even the most insignificant of discussion about His Majesty is quite an awesome measure, so whatever form of academic theory from an authoritative source there may be, it is like a firefly before the sun, so there should be no imperial subject who is confused and led astray by the heresy. Nay, this proposition should never occur. If such should happen, the unpatriotic person who brings it up should leave and live abroad.
     Therefore, the fact that this issue has caused, with so much hysteria, such an uproar in society means that the mental state of the people has weakened. In addition is the fear that there will be given birth the tendency to place importance on this unacceptable academic theory. I do wish that society’s intellectuals would deeply consider this point.
     There seems to be no worth in the attitude taken by Prime Minister Okada, and from the beginning of this incident until today, he has vacillated and hedged without conviction. Although the prime minister is in the position to guide and lead the nation, he has not given clear direction on how this issue is to be handled, and I am sure I am not the only one who considers the situation pitiful. I believe that an appropriate way to solve this issue that has so angered the nation is that this heretical theory in all due haste should be prohibited, reprimand should be handed to Dr. Minobe who authored this theory, and warnings given that such behavior is not to be repeated.
     One more point I would like to make concerns people with a right-wing tendency of mind. That is, in their activities or in their propaganda, they indiscriminately speak of matters having to do with the imperial family so that what they say and what they do seems to be an abuse the dignity of the imperial house for their own purpose. The Japanese people do not seem to understand the dignity of the imperial house unless it is emphasized in the same way we solemnly teach elementary schools pupils. No matter what virtuous matters may be introduced, there is no guarantee that there will not be some impure aspect that will occur when a certain limit is crossed. About any matter regarding the imperial family, the persons involved should from the bottom of their hearts reflect profoundly, consider whether all aspects are truly aboveboard, put away their personal considerations, and then take up their pens and express themselves, the true attitude for a Japanese.
     Because this affair does involve the imperial house, if there is anyone who says or does something to overlook this, and act, even if for a little of their own purpose, not only should this not be permitted as a form of lèse majesté, but as the old proverb aptly says, “What is too much should be put back.” We, as imperial subjects, should keep this point in mind, and be mindful that we do not to turn our backs on our duties as Japanese subjects.

The Light from the East, Issue 6, June 1935
    translated by cynndd