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All former Imperial Family members gathered at the Kyoto Imperial Palace
Emperor Hirohito and members of the Ky?-Miyake (Cadet Royal Families)

The Ky?-Miyake (, "former Miyake"), also known as the Old Imperial Family (), were branches of the Japanese Imperial Family created from branches of the Fushimi-no-miya house, the last surviving Shinn?ke cadet branch. All but one of the ?ke were formed by the descendants of Prince Fushimi Kuniye. The ?ke were stripped of their membership in the Imperial Family by the American Occupation Authorities in October 1947, as part of the abolition of collateral imperial houses. After that point, only the immediate family of Hirohito and those of his three brothers retained membership in the Imperial Family. However, unofficial heads of these collateral families still exist for most and are listed herein.

In recent years, conservatives have proposed to reinstate several of the former imperial branches or else to allow the imperial family to adopt male members of the former princely houses, as a solution to the Japanese succession controversy.

The ky?-miyake were, in order of founding:

  1. Nashimoto (extinct)
  2. Kuni
  3. Yamashina (extinct)
  4. Kach? or Kwach? (extinct)
  5. Kitashirakawa (extinct)
  6. Higashifushimi or Komatsu () (extinct)
  7. Kaya
  8. Asaka
  9. Higashikuni
  10. Takeda

Unless otherwise stated, all princes listed herein are the sons of their predecessor.


Prince Nashimoto Moriosa (1819--1885), 1st head of the Nasimoto-no-miya house
Prince Nashimoto Morimasa (1874--1951), 3rd head of the Nasimoto-no-miya house

The Nashimoto-no-miya house was formed by Prince Moriosa, son of Prince Fushimi Sadayoshi (father of Prince Fushimi Kuniye)

Name Born Succeeded Retired Died Notes
1 Prince Nashimoto Moriosa
( ?, Nashi-no-miya Moriosa-shinn?)
1819 1870 1885
2 Prince Nashimoto Kikumaro
(, Nashimoto-no-miya Kikumaro-?)
1873 1885 1885 1908 grand-nephew of Moriosa; resigned to return to the Yamashina household
3 Prince Nashimoto Morimasa
(, Nashimoto-no-miya Morimasa-?)
1874 1885 1947 1951 cousin of Kikumaro and fourth son of Kuni-no-miya Asahiko


Prince Kuni Asahiko (1824-1891), 1st chapter of the Kuni no Miya house
Prince Kuni Asaakira (1901-1959), 3rd head of the Kuni-no-miya house

The Kuni-no-miya house was formed by Prince Asahiko, fourth son of Prince Fushimi Kuniye

Name Born Succeeded Retired Died Notes
1 Prince Kuni Asahiko
( ?, Kuni-no-miya Asahiko shinn?)
1824 1863 1891 became shinn? in 1871
2 Prince Kuni Kuniyoshi
( , Kuni-no-miya Kuniyoshi ?)
1873 1891 1929 father of Empress Kojun
3 Prince Kuni Asaakira
( , Kuni-no-miya Asaakira ?)
1901 1929 1947 1959
4 Kuni Kuniaki
( )
1929 1959


Prince Yamashina Akira (1816--1891), 1st head of the house of Yamashina-no-miya

The Yamashina-no-miya house was formed by Prince Akira, eldest son of Prince Fushimi Kuniye.

Name Born Succeeded Retired Died Notes
1 Prince Yamashina Akira
( , Yamashina-no-miya Akira shinn?)
1816 1864 1898
2 Prince Yamashina Kikumaro
( , Yamashina-no-miya Kikumaro-?)
1873 1898 1908
3 Prince Yamashina Takehiko
( , Yamashina-no-miya Takehito-?)
1898 1908 1947 1987

The Yamashina-no-miya became extinct with the death of Yamashina Takehiko.


Prince Kach? Hirotsune (1851-1876), 1st chapter of the house of Kwach?-no-miya
Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu (1846-1903), 3rd chapter of the house of Kwach?-no-miya

The Kwach?-no-miya (or Kach?-no-miya) house was formed by Prince Hirotsune, son of Prince Fushimi Kuniye.

Name Born Succeeded Retired Died Notes
1 Prince Kwacho Hirotsune
(?, Kwach?-no-miya Hirosune shinn?)
1851 1868 1876
2 Prince Kwacho Hiroatsu
(?, Kwach?-no-miya Hiroatsu shinn?)
1875 1876 1883
3 Prince Kwacho Hiroyasu
(?, Kwach?-no-miya Hiroyasu-shinn?)
1875 1883 1904 1946
4 Prince Kwacho Hirotada
(, Kwach?-no-miya Hirotada-?)
1902 1904 1924
X Marquis Kwacho Hironobu
(?, Kwach? Hironobu)
1905 1924 1947 1970

The Kwacho-no-miya became extinct with the death of Prince Kwacho Hirotada. The line of descent was continued through the kazoku peerage under Kwacho Hironobu.


Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa (1847-1895), 2nd head of the house of Kitashirakawa-no-miya
Prince Naruhisa Kitashirakawa (1887-1923), 3rd head of the house of Kitashirakawa-no-miya

The Kitashirakawa-no-miya house was formed by Prince Satonari, thirteenth son of Prince Fushimi Kuniye.

Name Born Succeeded Retired Died Notes
1 Prince Kitashirakawa Satonari
(? ?, Kitashirakawa-no-miya Satonari shinn?)
1844 1872 1872
2 Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa
(? ?, Kitashirakawa-no-miya Yoshihisa-shinn?)
1847 1872 1895 brother of above
3 Prince Kitashirakawa Naruhisa
(? , Kitashirakawa-no-miya Naruhisa-?)
1887 1895 1923
4 Prince Kitashirakawa Nagahisa
(? , Kitashirakawa-no-miya Nagahisa-?)
1910 1923 1940
5 Prince Kitashirakawa Michihisa
(? , Kitashirakawa-no-miya Michihisa-?)
1937 1940 1947 2018 Kitashirakawa Michihisa after 1947

The Kitashirakawa-no-miya became extinct with the death of Kitashirakawa Michihisa without heirs on 20 October 2018.[1]

Higashifushimi-no-miya / Komatsu-no-miya

Prince Komatsu Akihito (1846-1903), 1st head of the Komatsu no Miya house

The Higashifushimi-no-miya house was formed by Prince Yoshiaki, seventh son of Prince Fushimi Kuniye.

Name Born Succeeded Retired Died Notes
1 Prince Higashifushimi Yoshiaki
(? ?, Higashifushimi no miya Yoshiaki-shinn?)
Prince Komatsu Akihito ( ?, Komatsu-no-miya Akihito-shinn?)

changed name in 1872
2 Prince Higashifushimi Yorihito
(? ?, Higashifushimi no miya Yorihito-?)
1876 1903 1922 brother of Akihito
reverted name back to Higashifushimi

In 1931, Emperor Hirohito directed his brother-in-law, Prince Kuni Kunihide, to leave Imperial Family status and become Count Higashifushimi Kunihide (hakushaku under the kazoku peerage system), to prevent the Higashifushimi name from extinction. Dowager Princess Higashifushimi Kaneko became a commoner on 14 October 1947. She died in Tokyo in 1955.


Prince Kaya Kuninori (1867-1909), 1st chapter of the house of Kaya-no-miya
Prince Kaya Tsunenori (1900-1978), 2nd head of the house of Kaya-no-miya

The Kaya-no-miya house was formed by Prince Kuninori, second son of Prince Kuni Asahiko (first Kuni-no-miya, see above)

Name Born Succeeded Retired Died Notes
1 Prince Kaya Kuninori
( , Kaya-no-miya Kuninori shinn?)
1867 1896 1909 Kaya-no-miya was a personal title until 1900
2 Prince Kaya Tsunenori
( , Kaya-no-miya Tsunenori-?)
1900 1909 1947 1978 Kaya Tsunenori after 1947
3 Prince Kaya Nobuhiko
( , Kaya-no-miya Nobuhiko-?)
1922 1978 1986
4 Kaya Harunori
( )
1926 1987 2011 brother of Nobuhiko; career diplomat
5 Kaya Fuminori
( )
1931 2011


Prince Asaka Yasuhiko (1887-1981), 1st chapter of the house of Asaka-no-miya

The Asaka-no-miya house was formed by Prince Yasuhiko, eighth son of Prince Kuni Asahiko.

Name Born Succeeded Retired Died Notes
1 Prince Asaka Yasuhiko
( , Asaka-no-miya Yasuhiko-?)
1887 1906 1947 1981
X Asaka Takahiko 1912 1981 1994
X Asaka Tomohiko 1944 1994


Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni (1887-1990), 1st head of the Higashikuni-no-miya house
Higashikuni Morihiro (1917-1969), 2nd head of the Higashikuni-no-miya house

The Higashikuni-no-miya house was formed by Prince Naruhiko, ninth son of Prince Kuni Asahiko.

Name Born Succeeded Retired Died Notes
1 Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko
(? , Higashikuni-no-miya Naruhiko-?)
1887 1906 1947 1990
X Prince Higashikuni Morihiro
(? , Higashikuni no miya Morihiro ?)
1916 1947 1969
2 Prince Higashikuni Nobuhiko
(? , Higashikuni-no-miya Nobukiko-?)
1945 1990 grandson of Naruhiko, son of Morihiro

Prince Higashikuni Nobuhiko became simply "Higashikuni Nobuhiko" after the abolition of the Japanese aristocracy during the American occupation of Japan in 1946.


Prince Tsunehisa Takeda (1882-1919), 1st chapter of the house of Takeda-no-miya
Prince Tsuneyoshi Takeda (1909-1992), 2nd chapter of the house of Takeda-no-miya

The Takeda-no-miya house was formed by Prince Tsunehisa, eldest son of Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa (second Kitashirakawa-no-miya).

Name Born Succeeded Retired Died Notes
1 Prince Takeda Tsunehisa
( , Takeda-no-miya Tsunehisa-?)
1882 1906 1919
2 Prince Takeda Tsuneyoshi
( , Takeda-no-miya Tsuneyoshi-?)
1909 1919 1947 1992
3 Prince Takeda Tsunetada
( , Takeda-no-miya Tsunetada-?)
1940 1992

Proposal for reinstatement

In January 2005, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi set up a panel consisting of 10 experts from various fields to discuss the succession law and possible ways to ensure stable succession in the imperial family. At that point, no male heir had been born to the Imperial family in 40 years, prompting concerns that there wouldn't be anyone to succeed Crown Prince Naruhito after he became emperor. The panel recommended giving eligibility to females and their descendants, that the first child, regardless of sex, be given priority in ascension, and that female family members who marry commoners be allowed to retain their imperial family member status. Itsuo Sonobe, deputy chairman of the 10-member government panel and a former Supreme Court justice, said that one of the panel's main concerns had been to find a solution that would win the people's support.[2]

Media opinion polls showed an overwhelming majority favoring the change, but the proposed revision was met with fierce opposition from conservatives, who held that the imperial dynasty, which had survived in an unbroken line stretching for nearly 2700 years, could not be dismissed and ended by a wave of deracinated modernity and uncaring recentism. They proposed instead that the government take recourse to ancient traditions under which such situations had been handled in the past. They pointed out that various branches of the old imperial family do still exist in Japan, and that the constitutional definition of the "imperial family" which prevails today was imposed by the occupying western forces as recently as 1947. They maintained that, rather than ending the ancient imperial dynasty, it would be more sensible and less radical to end the recent, western-imposed restrictions. Tsuneyasu Takeda, a member of the former Takeda-no-miya collateral house and author of a book entitled The Untold Truth of Imperial Family Members, proposed to maintain the male line by restoring the former princely houses or by allowing imperial family members to adopt males from those families. Although Takeda has written that such men should feel a responsibility to maintain the royal house, he said he would find it daunting if asked to play that role himself.[3] According to Takeda, the heads of the former court families agreed in late 2004, just before Koizumi's advisory panel started its discussions, not to speak out on the issue and some of them told him to "not get involved in political issues".[4] Opponents of the reinstatement of former collateral branches, like Liberal Democratic Party politician Y?ichi Masuzoe, argued that it would favor members of families with tenuous blood links to long-ago emperors over contemporary female descendants of recent sovereigns.[5]

During a series of hearings on the succession problem in early 2012, Yoshiko Sakurai and Akira Momochi, conservative members of the panel of experts, rejected proposals for female members of the imperial family to be allowed to retain their royal status after marriage and create new branches of the imperial family, and instead suggested revising the Imperial Household Law so that male descendants of former imperial families which renounced their royal status in 1947 be allowed to return to the imperial family as adoptees.[6] Another proposal was to reinstate four of the former imperial families,[7] a solution opposed by the government on the grounds that it would not enjoy public support.[8] Government sources told the Yomiuri Shimbun in May 2012 that the suggestion to reinstate men from the former princely houses as imperial family members through adoption had been unexpected.[9]


  1. ^ "" [Former Imperial Family Member Michihisa Kitashirakawa Has Died]. Jiji Press (in Japanese). 22 October 2018. Archived from the original on 22 October 2018. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ Onishi, Norimitsu (December 27, 2005). "What Japan's Aiko Lacks: The Royal Y Chromosome". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Male-Only Imperial Line Backed". Gulf Daily News. February 17, 2006.
  4. ^ Imperial Family/Uncharted terrain: Those who do not want females or their descendants to become emperor feel stymied.
  5. ^ Royal Pregnancy Delays Resolution of Japan's Imperial Succession Dilemma
  6. ^ "2 experts at gov't hearing oppose creating female imperial branches". The Mainichi. April 11, 2012.
  7. ^ Warnock, Eleanor (April 11, 2012). "Japanese Journalist Weighs in on the Princess Problem". The Wall Street Journal.
  8. ^ Takeshi Okamura and Katsumi Takahashi (March 2, 2012). "Imperial Family Talks Begin: Should Female Members Retain Royal Status after Marriage?". The Daily Yomiuri.
  9. ^ Yutaka Ito, Katsumi Takahashi and Takeshi Okimura (May 4, 2012). "Imperial Revision Draft Set for Autumn Release". The Daily Yomiuri.


  • Fujitani, T. Splendid Monarchy: Power and Pageantry in Modern Japan. University of California Press; Reprint edition (1998). ISBN 0-520-21371-8
  • Lebra, Sugiyama Takie. Above the Clouds: Status Culture of the Modern Japanese Nobility. University of California Press (1995). ISBN 0-520-07602-8

External links

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