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Emperor - Passed Up

Hirohito was born in Tokyo during the Meiji Period to the son of the reigning emperor. His father ascended the throne in 1912. In 1921, Hirohito visited Europe; a first for a crown prince of Japan. He was married in 1924 and became emperor in 1926 (after serving as regent for his father).

Emperor - Passed Up

When the Tianqi Emperor died in October 1627, he had no surviving heir (his last son died a year prior during the mysterious Wanggongchang Explosion). As the emperor's brother, Zhu Youjian, then about 16 years old, ascended the throne as the Chongzhen Emperor.[3] His succession was helped by Empress Zhang (widow of the Tianqi Emperor), despite the manoeuvres of the chief eunuch, Wei Zhongxian, who wanted to continue to dominate the imperial court.[4] From the beginning of his rule, the Chongzhen Emperor did his best to stem the decline of the Ming dynasty. His efforts at reform focused on the top ranks of the civil and military establishment. However, years of internal corruption and an empty treasury made it almost impossible to find capable ministers to fill important government posts. The emperor also tended to be suspicious of his subordinates, executing dozens of field commanders, including general Yuan Chonghuan, who had directed the defence of the northern frontier against the Manchu (later known as the Qing dynasty). The Chongzhen Emperor's reign was marked by his fear of factionalism among his officials, which had been a serious issue during the reign of the Tianqi Emperor. After his brother's death, the Chongzhen Emperor immediately eliminated Wei Zhongxian and Madam Ke, as well as other officials thought to be involved in the "Wei-Ke conspiracy".[5]

Meanwhile, partisans of the Donglin Academy faction, which had been devastated under Wei Zhongxian's influence, established political organizations throughout the Jiangnan region.[6] Chief among these was the Fushe, or Restoration Society, whose members were a new generation of scholars who identified with the old Donglin faction.[7] They succeeded in placing their members into high government posts through the imperial examinations of 1630 and 1631. The reversal of Wei Zhongxian's fortunes resulted in a renewal of the Donglin faction's influence at court, arousing great suspicion from the Chongzhen Emperor.[8] The nomination of Donglin favorite Qian Qianyi for the post of Grand Secretary led to accusations of corruption and factionalism by his rival Wen Tiren. Qian Qianyi was imprisoned on the emperor's orders. Though he was soon released, his status was reduced to that of a commoner and he returned to Jiangnan. Wen Tiren would later become Grand Secretary himself.[9]

In the early 17th century, persistent drought and famine driven by the Little Ice Age accelerated the collapse of the Ming dynasty.[10] Two major popular uprisings swelled up, led by Zhang Xianzhong and Li Zicheng, both poor men from famine-hit Shaanxi who took up arms in the 1620s.[11] At the same time, Ming armies were occupied in the defence of the northern border against the Manchu ruler Hong Taiji, whose father, Nurhaci, had united the Manchu tribes into a cohesive force. In 1636, after years of campaigns against Ming fortifications north of the Great Wall, Huangtaiji declared himself emperor of the Qing dynasty.[12]

In April 1644, the Ming imperial court finally ordered Wu Sangui to move his army south from his fortress at Ningyuan to Shanhai Pass.[18] It was too late, however, and Wu would not reach Shanhai Pass until 26 April.[19] Word reached Beijing that Shun rebels were approaching the capital through Juyong Pass, and the Chongzhen Emperor held his last audience with his ministers on 23 April. Li Zicheng offered the emperor an opportunity to surrender, but the negotiations produced no result. Li commanded his forces to attack on 24 April. Rather than face capture by the rebels, the Chongzhen Emperor gathered all members of the imperial household except his sons. Using his sword, he killed Consort Yuan and Princess Zhaoren, and severed the arm of Princess Changping.

On 25 April, the Chongzhen Emperor was said to have walked to Meishan, a small hill in present-day Jingshan Park. There, he either hanged himself on a tree,[20] or strangled himself with a sash. By some accounts, the emperor left a suicide note that said, "I die unable to face my ancestors in the underworld, dejected and ashamed. May the rebels dismember my corpse and slaughter my officials, but let them not despoil the imperial tombs nor harm a single one of our people."[21] According to a servant who discovered the emperor's body under a tree, however, the words tianzi (Son of Heaven) were the only written evidence left after his death.[22] The emperor was buried in the Ming tombs.

The Manchus were quick to exploit the death of the Chongzhen Emperor: by claiming to "avenge the emperor," they rallied support from loyalist Ming forces and civilians. The Shun dynasty lasted less than a year with Li Zicheng's defeat at the Battle of Shanhai Pass. The victorious Manchus established the Shunzhi Emperor of the Qing dynasty as ruler of all China. Because the Chongzhen Emperor had refused to move the court south to Nanjing, the new Qing government was able to take over a largely intact Beijing bureaucracy, aiding their efforts to displace the Ming.[23]

After the Chongzhen Emperor's death, loyalist forces proclaimed a Southern Ming dynasty in Nanjing, naming Zhu Yousong (the Prince of Fu) as the Hongguang Emperor. In 1645, however, Qing armies started to move against the Ming remnants. The Southern Ming, again bogged down by factional infighting, were unable to hold back the Qing onslaught, and Nanjing surrendered on 8 June 1645. Zhu Yousong was captured on 15 June and brought to Beijing, where he died the following year. The dwindling Southern Ming were continually pushed farther south, and the last emperor of the Southern Ming, Zhu Youlang, was finally caught in Burma, transported to Yunnan, and executed in 1662 by Wu Sangui.

While the Chongzhen Emperor was not especially incompetent by the standards of the later Ming, he nevertheless sealed the fate of the Ming dynasty. In many ways, he did his best to save the dynasty. However, despite a reputation for hard work, the emperor's paranoia, impatience, stubbornness and lack of regard for the plight of his people doomed his crumbling empire. His attempts at reform did not take into account the considerable decline of Ming power, which was already far advanced at the time of his accession. Over the course of his 17-year reign, the Chongzhen Emperor executed seven military governors, 11 regional commanders, replaced his minister of defence 14 times, and appointed an unprecedented 50 ministers to the Grand Secretariat (equivalent to the cabinet and chancellor).[24] Even though the Ming dynasty still possessed capable commanders and skilled politicians in its dying years, the Chongzhen Emperor's impatience and paranoid personality prevented any of them from enacting any real plan to salvage a perilous situation.

Article 2.The Imperial Throne shall be dynastic and succeeded to in accordance with the Imperial House Law passed by the Diet.Article 3.The advice and approval of the Cabinet shall be required for all acts of the Emperor in matters of state, and the Cabinet shall be responsible therefor.Article 4.The Emperor shall perform only such acts in matters of state as are provided for in this Constitution and he shall not have powers related to government.The Emperor may delegate the performance of his acts in matters of state as may be provided by law.Article 5.When, in accordance with the Imperial House Law, a Regency is established, the Regent shall perform his acts in matters of state in the Emperor's name. In this case, paragraph one of the preceding article will be applicable.Article 6.The Emperor shall appoint the Prime Minister as designated by the Diet.The Emperor shall appoint the Chief Judge of the Supreme Court as designated by the Cabinet.Article 7.The Emperor, with the advice and approval of the Cabinet, shall perform the following acts in matters of state on behalf of the people:Promulgation of amendments of the constitution, laws, cabinet orders and treaties.Convocation of the Diet.Dissolution of the House of Representatives.Proclamation of general election of members of the Diet.Attestation of the appointment and dismissal of Ministers of State and other officials as provided for by law, and of full powers and credentials of Ambassadors and Ministers.Attestation of general and special amnesty, commutation of punishment, reprieve, and restoration of rights.Awarding of honors.Attestation of instruments of ratification and other diplomatic documents as provided for by law.Receiving foreign ambassadors and ministers.Performance of ceremonial functions.Article 8.No property can be given to, or received by, the Imperial House, nor can any gifts be made therefrom, without the authorization of the Diet.CHAPTER II

Article 42. The Diet shall consist of two Houses, namely the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors.Article 43. Both Houses shall consist of elected members, representative of all the people.The number of the members of each House shall be fixed by law.Article 44. The qualifications of members of both Houses and their electors shall be fixed by law. However, there shall be no discrimination because of race, creed, sex, social status, family origin, education, property or income.Article 45. The term of office of members of the House of Representatives shall be four years. However, the term shall be terminated before the full term is up in case the House of Representatives is dissolved.Article 46. The term of office of members of the House of Councillors shall be six years, and election for half the members shall take place every three years.Article 47. Electoral districts, method of voting and other matters pertaining to the method of election of members of both Houses shall be fixed by law.Article 48. No person shall be permitted to be a member of both Houses simultaneously.Article 49. Members of both Houses shall receive appropriate annual payment from the national treasury in accordance with law.Article 50. Except in cases provided by law, members of both Houses shall be exempt from apprehension while the Diet is in session, and any members apprehended before the opening of the session shall be freed during the term of the session upon demand of the House.Article 51. Members of both Houses shall not be held liable outside the House for speeches, debates or votes cast inside the House.Article 52. An ordinary session of the Diet shall be convoked once per year.Article 53. The Cabinet may determine to convoke extraordinary sessions of the Diet. When a quarter or more of the total members of either House makes the demand, the Cabinet must determine on such convocation.Article 54. When the House of Representatives is dissolved, there must be a general election of members of the House of Representatives within forty (40) days from the date of dissolution, and the Diet must be convoked within thirty (30) days from the date of the election.When the House of Representatives is dissolved, the House of Councillors is closed at the same time. However, the Cabinet may in time of national emergency convoke the House of Councillors in emergency session.Measures taken at such session as mentioned in the proviso of the preceding paragraph shall be provisional and shall become null and void unless agreed to by the House of Representatives within a period of ten (10) days after the opening of the next session of the Diet.Article 55. Each House shall judge disputes related to qualifications of its members. However, in order to deny a seat to any member, it is necessary to pass a resolution by a majority of two-thirds or more of the members present.Article 56. Business cannot be transacted in either House unless one-third or more of total membership is present.All matters shall be decided, in each House, by a majority of those present, except as elsewhere provided in the Constitution, and in case of a tie, the presiding officer shall decide the issue.Article 57. Deliberation in each House shall be public. However, a secret meeting may be held where a majority of two-thirds or more of those members present passes a resolution therefor.Each House shall keep a record of proceedings. This record shall be published and given general circulation, excepting such parts of proceedings of secret session as may be deemed to require secrecy.Upon demand of one-fifth or more of the members present, votes of the members on any matter shall be recorded in the minutes.Article 58. Each House shall select its own president and other officials.Each House shall establish its rules pertaining to meetings, proceedings and internal discipline, and may punish members for disorderly conduct. However, in order to expel a member, a majority of two-thirds or more of those members present must pass a resolution thereon.Article 59. A bill becomes a law on passage by both Houses, except as otherwise provided by the Constitution.A bill which is passed by the House of Representatives, and upon which the House of Councillors makes a decision different from that of the House of Representatives, becomes a law when passed a second time by the House of Representatives by a majority of two-thirds or more of the members present.The provision of the preceding paragraph does not preclude the House of Representatives from calling for the meeting of a joint committee of both Houses, provided for by law.Failure by the House of Councillors to take final action within sixty (60) days after receipt of a bill passed by the House of Representatives, time in recess excepted, may be determined by the House of Representatives to constitute a rejection of the said bill by the House of Councillors.Article 60. The budget must first be submitted to the House of Representatives. Upon consideration of the budget, when the House of Councillors makes a decision different from that of the House of Representatives, and when no agreement can be reached even through a joint committee of both Houses, provided for by law, or in the case of failure by the House of Councillors to take final action within thirty (30) days, the period of recess excluded, after the receipt of the budget passed by the House of Representatives, the decision of the House of Representatives shall be the decision of the Diet.Article 61. The second paragraph of the preceding article applies also to the Diet approval required for the conclusion of treaties.Article 62. Each House may conduct investigations in relation to government, and may demand the presence and testimony of witnesses, and the production of records.Article 63. The Prime Minister and other Ministers of State may, at any time, appear in either House for the purpose of speaking on bills, regardless of whether they are members of the House or not. They must appear when their presence is required in order to give answers or explanations.Article 64. The Diet shall set up an impeachment court from among the members of both Houses for the purpose of trying those judges against whom removal proceedings have been instituted.Matters relating to impeachment shall be provided by law.CHAPTER V 041b061a72

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