After World War II, alleged war responsibility of the Emperor of Japan, Hirohito, was a major issue in the controversy over whether to maintain the emperor system. Under the circumstances, the fact that Emperor Hirohito was a scientist was strategically used in an attempt to wipe out his negative image stemming from his leadership role during the war. Emperor Hirohito was a researcher of marine life and plants, and did pioneering work in environmental protection, such as preservation of forests. The current Emperor, Akihito, also takes interest in biology as a fish taxonomist, and this fact is reported frequently. Thus, the image of "Emperor as a scientist" has been widely publicized and the Emperor's public activities include many that concern environment and science in no small way. His work in this field is also reported abroad. For instance, part of Emperor Akihito's speech in Britain to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the birth of Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus was published in Nature.

As a consequence, the Emperor is playing the role of a "science communicator." However, there are some problems due to his special position. One example is that of bluegill, a kind of fish that Emperor Akihito brought to Japan from North America about 50 years ago when he was the Crown Prince. This fish was considered suitable as a game fish and food, but now its habitat has expanded across the country, disturbing the ecosystem.

This research is aimed at examining the role of the Emperor as a science communicator" and assessing his potential in this role, focusing on the relationship between the Emperor and science.

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The Emperor of Japan as science communicator

Daisuke Yoshinaga   Waseda University

After World War II, alleged war responsibility of the Emperor of Japan, Hirohito, was a major issue in the controversy over whether to maintain the emperor system. Under the circumstances, the fact that Emperor Hirohito was a scientist was strategically used in an attempt to wipe out his negative image stemming from his leadership role during the war. Emperor Hirohito was a researcher of marine life and plants, and did pioneering work in environmental protection, such as preservation of forests. The current Emperor, Akihito, also takes interest in biology as a fish taxonomist, and this fact is reported frequently. Thus, the image of "Emperor as a scientist" has been widely publicized and the Emperor's public activities include many that concern environment and science in no small way. His work in this field is also reported abroad. For instance, part of Emperor Akihito's speech in Britain to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the birth of Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus was published in Nature.

As a consequence, the Emperor is playing the role of a "science communicator." However, there are some problems due to his special position. One example is that of bluegill, a kind of fish that Emperor Akihito brought to Japan from North America about 50 years ago when he was the Crown Prince. This fish was considered suitable as a game fish and food, but now its habitat has expanded across the country, disturbing the ecosystem.

This research is aimed at examining the role of the Emperor as a science communicator" and assessing his potential in this role, focusing on the relationship between the Emperor and science.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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