Enthronement ceremony of Emperor Naruhito in Japan October 22, 2019
What is required to be eligible for an imperial heir?
5 following conditions are currently required
(1) Imperial lineage: The lineage descended from successive emperors.
(2) Male line of imperial lineage: A descendant who is related to successive emperors only by male lineage .
(3) Legitimacy: A child who was born by a spouse of the emperor or a prince
(5) Member of the imperial family: a person who is in a position different from general public constitutionally in order to maintain succession to the throne by heredity. The person who can be a member of the imperial family is limited to the following
①A case that his or her father is an emperor or a member of the imperial family. ②A case that a female who is not a member of the imperial family marries to an emperor or a member of the imperial family.
This situation is historically more severe than ever. Under the Imperial House Law in the Meiji era, a child of a concubine (an illegitimate child) was also eligible for succession to the throne, so (3) wasn’t required.
Before the Edo period, there were some female emperors, so (4) wasn’t even required.
In addition, a child of a female emperor was in the line of succession to the throne under “Taiho-Ryo”( 大 宝 令 An ancient law. 701~757) and “Yoro-Ryo”( 養 老 令 An ancient law. 757~1868), therefore, (2) wasn’t required either.
As we’ve already mentioned, the imperial family is in danger of extinction, thus it is considered that (1) ,(3) and (5) will be the only thing that should be maintained.
For a sustainable succession, the term ”spouse” in (3) has to include a male who married to a female emperor and to a female member of the imperial family.
And, in (5), the definition of a imperial family member must be modified: “A case that his or her father is … .” → “A case that his or her father or mother is … .”
“A case that a female who is not … ” → “A case that a person who is not … ”
Written by Mamegashi (From Aichi)
(文責 愛知県 マメ菓子)