Declassified Documents from the MacArthur Archives

MacArthur Archives

Classified GHQ Intelligence Reports on the History of the Chrysanthemum Throne

First of Six Parts

MacArthur Headquarters Intelligence Briefings


12 December 1947

"Unbroken" Dynasty"

[ Comment ]
(First of series)

(a) False Claims: Perhaps more falsehood has been written about the Japanese dynasty than any dynasty that ever occupied a throne. The Japanese repeated these false claims so long and so vehemently that they not only convinced themselves of their truth but they also deceived a gullible world.

The Japanese are slaves to the modern myth which is stated in countless official documents, was taught as history in public schools prior to the surrender, and became the springboard for Japanese aggression during the last 50 years. It is stated officially as follows: "The Imperial Dynasty of Japan is the oldest reigning family in the world, its history dating back to 660 B.C., when the first Emperor, Jimmu Tenno, ascended the throne. The present Emperor is the 124th of the line."

This fiction was accepted not only in Japan but by people outside of Japan. A leading American encyclopedia, 1942 edition, states, "The present Emperor of Japan is the direct descendent of the first Emperor Jimmu, who, after having conquered all the tribes, became the sole ruler of the nation in the year 660 B.C. during a period of more than 25 centuries, one unbroken line of Emperors has succeeded to the imperial power, a unique exception in the histories of monarchies".

The way Japan threw modern civilization into an eclipse and turned the flight of time back to the mythological ages, held her people in ignorance and superstition, and deceives the whole world, is one of the wonders of the 20th Century.

Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess, ancestress of the Japanese emperors, had a son by her brother. The son had a son, Ninigi, whom Amaterasu commanded to descend to earth and rule it. He did as ordered and his great grandson was Jimmu, Japans first emperor, who ascended the Throne in 660 B.C. His mother was a crocodile eight fathoms long. This is accepted as history in Japan.

The two great "historical" books, the "Kojiki" and the "Nihongi," give a purported story of the dynasty. They were not written until 712 A.D. and 722 A.D., yet they attempt to give a minute record of conversations and details of events from 660 B.C. onward. All records which contradicted these myths were destroyed. During the time of these events the Japanese were unable to read or write. The exact birthday, age, and reign of each Emperor is given. The first 17 Emperors ages add up to a total of 1,853 years, which is 109 years for each emperor. When the Japanese learned to read and write in the Seventh Century, there was a noticeable drop in the ages of emperors. After that they averaged only 61 years. While Japan was illiterate, the Koreans and Chinese were keeping records. These records prove the Japanese "history" as mere fabrication, manufactured out of whole cloth to make it easier for certain ambitious people to rule the country.

G.B. Sansom, in his "Short Cultural History," says, "The gods are described as possessing swords and mirrors, things unknown to the Japanese before they came under the influence of the metal culture of the Chinese."

Concerning the "Kojiki," William Bramsen says, "It is hardly too severe to style this one of the greatest literary frauds ever perpetrated."

(b) "Oldest" Dynasty: The line of Japanese propaganda which has flooded Japan and the world for the last 50 years was written into the Imperial Constitution as "a line of Emperors unbroken for ages eternal."

Some historians place the date of the authentic beginnings in Japan at about 600 A.D., whole others place them earlier or later. Willard Price says, "There is no reliable evidence that the imperial line began before the Second Century A.D."

Harry Paxton Howard, professor of Chinese History in Soochow University, after years of research in Chinese sources says, "From the most powerful of these official clans of Chinese origin are descended the Japanese Emperors. The imperial regime was purely an importation from China, based wholly upon the Chinese model, and was established in the year 645 A.D." Japanese admit that their court ceremonies were introduced from China in the reign of Tenchi, 668-671 A.D.

(c) Myth of "Unbroken Dynasty: The Japanese have been kept in almost total ignorance of the facts about their Imperial Family. Ito, in interpreting the Constitution, laid down the dictum that the Emperor was not to be discussed. Then a high-powered publicity campaign was launched to make the Japanese people and the world believe in the myth of an "unbroken dynasty." Repeated over and over until the people heard or read little else were such phrases as: "the splendid traditions that no other nation in the world has ever enjoyed," "the unbroken line of decent from the immortal," and "gods have been our monarchs and our monarchs, gods." This propaganda succeeded beyond the dreams of the empire builders. Foreign Governments and peoples as well as Japanese accepted the myth of the "unbroken dynasty." Today few Americans and no Japanese appear to have any knowledge of the history of the "Emperor myth" and how it was made to prevail.

The rules of succession recognized in the West by civilized nations were unknown in Japan. It was rarely possible to be sure of the parentage of a royal prince. The son of a concubine was eligible for the throne but it was almost impossible to determine it a concubines son was also the son of an Emperor.

"The old time Emperor was allowed to have three consorts besides the Empress, nine wives of high rank, 27 wives of lower rank, and 81 concubines," according to Willard Price in his "Japan and the Son of Heaven."

Takikoshi, in his biography of Prince Saionji, says: "Sometimes the Emperor would take the son of an Imperial princely family and treat him as if he were his own son. When adopted in the capacity of a real son, one had the full right of succession to the headship of the family and was placed in the same position as a true son."

"The Japanese succession has continued unbroken because any son, legitimate of illegitimate, could be chosen as heir, and in default of an heir in the direct line, a youth could be adopted," says Hugh Byas. "Time and again the Emperor was impotent and was childless in a palace full of women. He adopted a son and made him his heir. By such means was the imperial line kept 'unbroken for ages eternal' ," says Willard Price.

These customs were not confined to ancient times. Both the father and the mother of the present Emperor, Hirohito, were illegitimate by Western standards. His grandfather, the Emperor Meiji, had 13 children by various women. His Empress bore no children. The Emperor Meiji himself was the son of a common court lady. She was not even a concubine. In fact, Hirohito is the only Emperor who has descended the Throne of Japan as a legitimate ruler in modern times and is also the only Emperor who has not kept a harem. This change in the moral atmosphere of the palace was forced upon it by the moral sentiment of the civilized world and not by Japanese customs.

Nancho Archives | GHQ Imperial History: Part II