Empress

The Salic law was only introduced into Japan with the brand-new Constitution of 1889. Before then, several empresses had sat on the throne, and one of them, the Empress Jingö-excuse the name, O English reader! it signifies "divine prowess" -ranks among the greatest heroic figures of early Japanese legend (see Article on HISTORY AND MYTHOLOGY). All Japanese empresses have been native-born. Doubtless the remoteness of Japan from other lands precluded the idea of foreign matrimonial alliances. The monarch's life-partner was habitually sought in the families of the native aristocracy, one consequence of which is that the Japanese Imperial Family is absolutely native and national, not alien in blood, like the reigning houses of England, Russia, and many other European states.

The present Empress is of course Empress Consort. Her name is Haru-ko, correctly translated by Pierre Loti, in his Japoneries d'Automne, as "l'Impératrice Printemps". Wisely abstaining from even the shadow of interference in politics, this illustrious lady, daughter of a high noble of the Court of Kyöto, devotes her life to learning and to good works, hospitals in particular engrossing her attention. The Red Cross Hospital at Shibuya in Tökyö, one of the most spacious-one might well say luxurious-hospitals in the East, was her creation, and the Charity Hospital at Shiba in Tökyö also enjoys her munificent patronage.