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the royal “we”
Kanji 1603

Thank you for visiting this Character Home Page. Below you'll find a synopsis of the essay. If you wish to read the full text, the PDF of the essay is available for purchase to the right.

Synopsis

By focusing on a pronoun that emperors have used for themselves, you enter the world of their pronouncements. Learn why one said it’s as if he were being choked. Enjoy a close reading of the speech Hirohito made when telling his citizens (whom he called his “babies”!) that the war was over. See a photo of the handwritten speech. Also find out why they couldn’t grasp his basic point!  

Revision history:

May 30, 2021:

  • p. 1: Updated the photo caption to reflect that Naruhito has replaced Akihito as emperor.
  • p. 2: Updated the Henshall etymology.
  • p. 4: Added a paragraph to the end of the discussion.
  • p. 11: Added a link to the Kanshudo games.

Aug. 31, 2018: Originally published.

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Kanji PDF
Cover of essay 1603 on 朕 (the royal "we"), titled "The Emperor's Speech"
Mini Profile
JOYO ON-YOMI
チン
JOYO KUN-YOMI
None
STROKES10
RADICAL月 (130: flesh)
JLPTN1
HALPERN645/856
HENSHALL1603/1731
SPAHN4b6.6