Akihito (born 23 December 1933) is the current Emperor of Japan, the 125th emperor of his line according to Japan's traditional order of succession. He acceded to the throne in 1989, after the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito, on 7 January 1989.
In Japan, the emperor is never referred to by his given name, but rather is referred to as "His Imperial Majesty the Emperor" which may be shortened to "His Imperial Majesty".
The Emperor of Japan is, according to the 1947 Constitution of Japan adopted by the Postwar Japanese government, "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people," which simultaneously dissolved the Empire of Japan. He is a ceremonial figurehead under a form of constitutional monarchy and is head of the Japanese Imperial Family with functions as head of state. He is also the highest authority of the Shinto religion. In his dual role as head of a religion and head of state the Emperor resembles the British monarch, who is "supreme governor" of the Church of England.
Unlike most constitutional monarchies, the Emperor is not even the nominal chief executive explicitly in the Constitution of Japan, but has duties "in matters of state", which are closely regulated. The constitution states that the Emperor "shall perform only such acts in matters of state as are provided for in the Constitution and he shall not have powers related to government" (article 4) and that the "advice and approval of the Cabinet shall be required for all acts of the Emperor in matters of state" (article 3). Article 4 also states that these duties can be delegated by the Emperor as provided for by law. Article 65 explicitly vests the executive power in the Cabinet, of which the Prime Minister is the leader.
Japanese emperors have nearly always been controlled by external political forces, to varying degrees. In fact, from 1192 to 1867, the shoguns, or their shikken regents in Kamakura (1203–1333), were the de facto rulers of Japan, although they were nominally appointed by the emperor.
A shogun (literally, "a commander of a force") was one of the (usually) hereditary military dictators of Japan from 1192 to 1867. In this period, the shoguns, or their shikken regents (1203–1333), were the de facto rulers of Japan though they were nominally appointed by the emperor.
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