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mikado


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A title formerly given to the emperor of Japan. The word comes from Japanese mi ‘august’ + kado ‘gate’; the title is a tranferred use of ‘gate (to the Imperial palace)’, an ancient place of audience.

It was usual for European writers prior to the Meiji Restoration of 1868 to describe the Mikado as a ‘spiritual’ emperor and the Shogun (who was the de facto ruler until 1867) as a second or ‘temporal’ ruler.


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