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PacNet #23A – Japan has no Clothes

On Dec. 23, 2001, Japanese Emperor Akihito, in his personal birthday interview, acknowledged Korean ancestry in the Japanese Imperial bloodline. He stated, "I, on my part, feel a certain kinship with Korea … the mother of Emperor Kammu [who ruled Japan from 781-806] was of the line of King Muryong [who ruled in Korea 501-523] of the Kingdom of Paekche [in Korea]." This declaration undermines the myth of purity of "Japanese blood," which has long served as a foundation of national identity in Japan. Though widely known to be a myth, explicit denial of the purity of Japanese blood by the head of the imperial family, a lasting symbol and keeper of that purity, is the first public articulation of this truth. Ironically, it was the emperor who pointed out that Japan has no clothes.