Kotofu (the Record of Imperial Lineage) (皇統譜)
Kotofu refers to a register to keep records concerning the statuses of emperors and members of Imperial family. The form and the like were stipulated by the Imperial House Act (which is known as "Koshitsu Tenpan" in Japanese) and the Order of the Record of Imperial Lineage (known as "Kotofu Rei" in Japanese). There are Taitofu (genealogy which states various matters about Emperors and Empresses) to register Emperors, Empresses and Empress Dowagers, and Kozokufu to register things on the other Imperial family members, which notarized the lineage relation of the Imperial family members (family relationships) and the Imperial lineage of the Emperor's genealogy.
The Imperial lineage means the blood line of Emperors.
This can also be paraphrased as 'the blood line which has consistently succeeded as the male line since Emperor Jimmu.'
Any Emperor is an Imperial family member in the, so-called, male line and if tracing back through the fathers on the genealogy, you can reach the Emperor Jimmu for sure.
Kotofu is a family register of Imperial family which is a base to decide the order of succession to the Imperial Throne and to notarize the lineage relation (family relation) of Imperial family.
In the Former Imperial Household Law established in 1889, there was only a regulation that "Kotofu... is to be stored in Zushoryo (the Bureau of Drawings and Books)" (Article 34), and details were carried according to bylaw of the investigation of Imperial Family's genealogy which had been done in the Imperial court since the first year of Meiji period. In 1926 the management of Kotofu Rei (literally, the Order of the Record of Imperial Lineage) was improved, and the Kotofu Rei (Order of the Record of Imperial Lineage) (Koshitsu Rei [literally, Imperial House Act] No.6 of 1926, the previous Order of the Record of Imperial Lineage) was enacted. After the World War II, upon enforcement of the Constitution of Japan, the Imperial House Act (Act No.3 of 1947) as a law and the Order of the Record of Imperial Lineage (government ordinance No.1 of May 3, 1947) as a government ordinance were newly enacted, respectively.
Kotofu exists in two copies, the original copy and the counterpart (duplicate copy), and the Order of the Record of Imperial Lineage stipulates that the original should be stored in the Imperial Household Agency and the counterpart in the Ministry of Justice. In the present Imperial House Act and the Order of Imperial Lineage, the single term 'Kotofu' alone is shown. However, the Kotofu consists of the Taitofu and the Kozokufu, and the Taitofu registers entries concerning statuses of Emperor, Empress and Empress Dowager, whereas the Kozokufu registers entries concerning statuses of the other Imperial Family members. In addition, the Taitofu registers the successive Emperors, the beginning part of which includes the genealogy of the age of gods traced back to Amaterasu Omikami (the Sun Goddess). Also, the Kozokufu is divided into thinner booklets, which are edited depending on each source Emperor (direct ancestral Emperor).
The full text of the Kotofu are available for inspection by any person upon request which should be submitted to the Imperial Household Agency according to the Act on Access to Information Held by Administrative Organs.
Kyu Kotofu Rei (literally, the previous Order of the Record of Imperial Lineage)
The Kyu Kotofu Rei refers to Kotofu Rei (Koshitsu Rei No.6 of 1926) which had been enforced before enactment of the existing Kotofu Rei. The Kyu Kotofu Rei was repealed based on "Koshitsu rei oyobi fuzoku horei haishi no ken" (literally, repeal of Koshitsu Rei and the subordinate laws and ordinances (Koshitsu Rei No.12 of 1947), but Article 1 of the existing Kutofu Rei is a progress provision stipulating that "any matters concerning Kotofu, except for those stipulated by this government ordinance, shall, for the time being, comply with precedents," and thus, detailed rules stipulated in the Kyu Kotofu Rei applies mutatis mutandis to the existing Kotofu.
Difference Between the Old and New Kotofu Rei
Difference in rules between the old and new Kotofu is as follows.
The duplicate copy of the Kotofu Rei was to be retained by 'Naidaijin-fu' (Office of Minister of the Center) as prescribed in the old Kotofu Rei (the old Article 2, Paragraph 2), while in the existing Kotofu Rei it was to be retained by 'Ministry of Justice' (the existing Article 2).
As for 'register of items without publication or announcement,' the old Kotofu Rei stipulated that it be done after grant of an 'imperial decision' (the old Article 4), whereas the existing Kotofu Rei stipulates that 'the Grand Steward of the Imperial Household Agency negotiate with Minister of Justice and carry out the said registration of items' (the existing Article 3, Item 1).
As for 'correction of entries or additional entries in the Record in case of detecting any errors,' the old Kotofu Rei stipulated that it be done based on 'advisories from Imperial Household Council and Privy Council (Japan)' and 'Imperial decision' (the old Article 5, Paragraphs 1-2 inclusive,) whereas the existing Kotofu Rei stipulates that 'the Grand Steward of the Imperial Household Agency negotiate with Minister of Justice and carry out the said correction' (the existing Article 3, Item 2).
As for register in the case where the order of succession to the Imperial Throne was changed due to Crown Prince's fatal disease or serious accident, there is no major difference between the old and new Kotofu Rei (the old Article 28, the existing Article 4).
As for register in the case where Shinno (Imperial Prince), Naishinno (Imperial Princess), O (male member of the Imperial Family) or Nyo-o (female member of the Imperial Family) left the status of the Imperial family, there is no major difference between the new and old Kotofu Rei (the old Articles 31-32 and 34, the existing Article 5).
The old Kotofu Rei did not regulate external use of the Kotofu, while the existing Kotofu Rei permits use of the Kutofu outside the Department of Kuranokami (which also read Shozo, referring to Lady of the Storehouse and Director of Zoshi) only when the prime minister approves of it (the existing Article 6).
The previous Kotofu was subject to the authority of Imperial Household Minister, whereas the Kotofu under regulation of the existing Kotofu Rei is subject to the authority of Grand Steward of the Imperial Household Agency (Paragraph 3 of Supplementary Provision to the existing Kotofu Rei).
Major Provisions of the Kyu (Old) Kotofu Rei. Of all provisions of the old Kotofu Rei, those still existing are as follows.
Furthermore, some terms had been used in the old Kotofu Rei but was amended in the existing Kotofu Rei, such amendments were made where appropriate (for instance, 'Imperial Household Minister' was amended as 'Grand Steward of the Imperial Household Agency,' 'Zusho no kami' as 'Manager of Imperial Household Archives,' and so on.)
Form and storage of Kotofu. The Kotofu is to consist of Taitofu and Kozokufu (the old Article 1), each existing in a set of the original copy and the duplicate copy (the old Article 2, Paragraph 1). The gyoji (imperial seal) is put on the back of front cover for each thin booklet and the Grand Steward of the Imperial Household Agency fills in with the number of pages and the date of production, and he signs with Manager of the Imperial Household Archives (the old Article 3, Paragraph 1). Also, in the Kotofu and the duplicate copy, Grand Steward of the Imperial Household Agency and Manager of Imperial Household Archives seal the thread for binding (the old Article 3, Paragraph 2). The records concerning register and supplementary provisions of the Kotofu are stored by the department of Imperial Household Archives (the old Article 10, Imperial Household Agency Act Article 2, Item 11, Imperial Household Agency Organizational Order Article 8, Item 1, and Article 20, Item 1), and the duplicate copy is retained by Ministry of Justice (the existing Article 2).
Register and Supplementary Provisions in the Kotofu. When entries are registered or supplementary provisions are added in the Kotofu and the duplicate copy, the date is filled in and Grand Steward of the Imperial Household Agency and Manager of the Imperial Household Archives sign it (the old Article 9).
As for the Taitofu, groups are divided depending on Emperors, the chronological order of Emperors is provided, and for each division the columns of Emperor and of Empress are provided, respectively (the old Article 11).
In the column of Emperor, the following items are registered (the old Article 12).
Name. Father. Mother.
Date and place of birth. Date of naming. Date of ascending to the throne. Gengo (an era name) and the date of changing the name of an era. Date of the enthronement ceremony. Date of Daijo-sai festival (a festival to celebrate the succession of an emperor). Date of coming-of-age ceremony. Date of Taikon (Marriage of the Emperor) and the name of Empress. Date and place of hogyo (demise). Posthumous title and date of conferment of the posthumous title. Date of taiso (Imperial funeral) and the place and name of Mausoleum.
In the column of Empress, the followings are registered (the old Article 13). Name. Father. Mother.
Date and place of birth. Date of naming. Date of imperial marriage. Date and place of demise. Posthumous title and date of conferment of the posthumous title. Date of Imperial funeral and the place and name of Mausoleum.
Kozokufu. In the Kozokufu, thin booklets are divided per source Emperor (the Emperor who was the direct ancestor), and columns are provided for each Shinno, Naishinno, O and Nyo-o, and as for Empress consort one column is provided in a thin booklet of her husband, source Emperor (the old Article 22). In the columns of Shinno, Shinohi (Shinno's consort), Naishinno, O, Ohi (O's consort) and Nyo-o, the following items are registered (the old Article 23). Name. Father. Mother.
Date and place of birth. Date of naming. Date of coming-of-age. Date of marriage and the name of spouse. Date and place of death. Date of funeral and the place of tomb. Supplemental rules. Jindai no taito' (literally, Imperial lineage in the age of gods) is registered in the head part of Taitofu (the old Article 39). The entries of Emperor Kogon, Emperor Komyo, Emperor Suko, Emperor Gokogon and Emperor Goenyu (the entries concerning the genealogy of the so-called Northern Court of Japan) are registered in a separately provided thin booklet in accordance with the Taitofu (the old Article 41).
The relationship among Kotofu, family register and Public Offices Election Act
As mentioned above, entries concerning statuses of the Emperor and of members of the Imperial family are registered in the Kotofu according to the Kotofu Rei, and thus the Family Registration Law is not applied to Emperors and members of the Imperial family.
In this regard, Paragraph 2 of Supplementary Provision of the Public Offices Election Act prescribes that 'suffrage and eligibility for election with respect to those who do not fall under the provisions of... the Family Registration Law are to be suspended for the time being,' hence a vulgar belief that the right to vote and eligibility for election of Emperor and members of the Imperial family have been suspended for the time being according to the above-mentioned provision of the Public Offices Election Act. However, when it comes to those who do not fall under the provisions of the Family Registration Law according to the Public Offices Election Act, they are those who fall under the provisions of the item concerning family register of people in the main island (Taiwan Sotoku-fu [Governor-General] Rei Ordinance No.8 of January 20, 1933) or of Korea family register (Chosen Sotoku-fu Rei Ordinance No.154 of December 18, 1922), that is, they are Taiwanese or Korean persons who had Japanese nationality when Public Offices Election Act was enforced.
Since the Emperor and members of the Imperial Family, who are in a symbolic position, 'are required to be politically neutral,' and the Emperor 'shall not have powers related to government' (Article 4, Paragraph 1 of the Constitution), they are not allowed to have suffrage and eligibility for election, and it is understood that the provisions of the Public Offices Election Act do not provide grounds for that.