Declassified Documents from the MacArthur Archives

MacArthur Archives

Classified GHQ Intelligence Reports
on the History of the Chrysanthemum Throne

Fifth of Six Parts

MacArthur Headquarters Intelligence Briefings


17 December 1947

Princely Houses Abolished

[ Comment ]
(Fifth of series)

(a) House of KANIN: One of the nobles who became royalty was the Price FUSHIMI Kuniiye. His chief claim to royal honors appears to be that he had 17 sons and claimed to be a descendent of the Emperor GOFUSHIMI who is supposed to have lived in the 15 Century and was 22 generations removed from the present Emperor. His 16th son was adopted in 1867 by the Emperor KOMEI, the immediate predecessor of the Emperor MEIJI, and became the head of the Imperial Family known as KANIN. His son and successor, Prince KANIN Haruhito, was one of those who lost his title and rank, was given no financial allotment, and was purged from official life because of his military career. The former Prince id now trying to make a living as president of a hardware store in Tokyo and director of a tourist bureau in Kobe.

(b) House of HIGASHI FUSHIMI: The house of HIGASHI-FUSHIMI was founded by YORIHITO, 17th son of Prince FUSHIMI Kuniiye. This "Imperial Family" was a failure, as the Prince died in 1922 without heirs. Hi widow, Princess KANEKO, was one of those who lost rank and titles. Of the family fortune. 191 million yen, 120 million yen was taken as tax, leaving 71 million. The retirement sum was 150 million yen which leaves the former princess 221 million yen.

(c) House of FUSHIMI: One of the 17 sons of FUSHIMI Kuniiye succeeded him as head of the FUSHIMI family. Thus the heads of the houses KANIN, HIGASHI-FUSHIMI, KUNI, YAMASHINA, and FUSHIMI were brothers. What became of the other 12 sons of this man is not clear.

Prince HIROYASU, head of this house and Admiral of the Fleet, died in 1947. His wife was a daughter of the last Shogun. He had been adopted into the House of Prince KWACHO and headed that family from 1883 until 1904, when he returned to the FUSHIMI family. Prince HIROTADA, who succeeded him as head of the House of KWACHO, died in 1924. AS the House of KWACHO served no useful purpose, it was allowed to become extinct.

The FUSHIMI family had property of 792 million yen. Its tax was 609 million yen, leaving a balance of 183 million yen. The retirement sum was 465 million yen which gives members of these family a total of 648 million yen on which to start its life as citizens.

(d) House of YAMASHINA: The house of YAMASHINA was founded by the first son of Prince FUSHIMI Kuniiye. It is strange that as the first of 17 sons he did not become his father's successor. For some reason deposed as heir and retired to a monastery where he became a priest under the name of KANSHUJI. When a prince was not wanted as an heir he often was banished to the priesthood, but this Prince was brought out of retirement and made to head of a new Imperial Family in 1864. The last of this line is Prince TAKEHIKO who was a naval officer. His wife was killed in the earthquake of 1923. He became a citizen 14 Oct 47, was given no retirement allowance and was barred from public office because he was a military career man.

(e) House of KUNI: The house of KUNI, one of the new Imperial Families, was founded by Prince KUNI Asahiko, fourth son of Prince FUSHIMI Kuniiye, in 1875. he was prolific, like his father, and sired at least nine sons, four of whom headed new Imperial Families. The eighth and ninth sons married illegitimate daughters of the Emperor MEIJI. The ninth son is the former Premier Prince HIGASHI-KUNI. The third son of Prince KUNI Achiko succeeded his father as head of the family and married the daughter of Prince SHIMAZU, the Lord of Satsuma and head of the SHIMAZU clan which rebelled against the Government and fought a civil was in 1877. Thus this marriage helped to win part of Kyushu for the Empire. A daughter of this marriage is the present Empress. Her brother, head of the KUNI family, was Rear Admiral Prince KUNI Asakira. He was given no retirement allowance personally because of his military career. However, his nine children received the family allowance. The family had property of 705 million yen. Its tax was 535 million, leaving 170 million. The allowance was 840 million, which gives the KUNI family 1,010,000,000 yen on which to begin a new life. (b)

GHQ Imperial History: Part IV | Nancho Archives | GHQ Imperial History: Part VI