The End of Shōwa
Emperor Shōwa's terminal illness and eventual demise on January 7, 1989, threw Japan into a state of shock, as judged from the media coverage of the widespread jishuku (voluntary abstinence from festivity and entertainment) and prayer and mourning. Thereafter, open debates about the emperor and the imperial institution as a whole ensued. The loudest voices came from two extremes: from the strongly pro-emperor advocates on the right, and the anti-emperor critics on the left. One camp demanded a constitutional amendment to redeify the emperor, while the other took Shōwa's death as an opportunity to demolish the reactionary, wasteful institution of emperorship. The debate is still going on.
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