Carol Gluck, the George Sansom Professor of History and Chair of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University, was interviewed by Slate on August 8, 2016 about the possibility that Japan’s emperor Akihito may abdicate the throne. On August 9, 2016, Professor Gluck discussed Emperor Akihito’s significance in The New York Times article “In Japan, an Emperor Constrained by History and a National Identity Crisis,” and on a segment of the radio program The Takeaway titled “Emperor Akihito’s Mark on Modern Japan.”
In the Slate article, titled “What does the Japanese Emperor Do?,” Slate reporter Isaac Chotiner talked with Professor Gluck about the significance of the emperor in Japan and the likelihood of his abdication. “The reason this today is such a big deal is that this emperor is the first emperor who has actually transformed the institution by performing his role as the symbol of the people,” Professor Gluck noted. “He has actually changed the performance of the role. He has changed it in accordance with the constitution, which he always mentions. He stays completely away from politics, and is utterly prudent and cautious about the constitutional fulfillment of his duties. And I think this is the most important thing: He has used his role to do things symbolically that the government never did.”
Read the complete Slate interview here.
Read the complete New York Times article here.
Listen to The Takeaway segment here.