Tokyo, Japan

The Emperor Without Empire

Fushimi Yagura Tower
One of the towers of the Japanese Imperial Palace that recovered Edo Castle.
Japanese subjects wave to the emperor about to enter the imperial palace.
Urban pine forest predates a near-skyscraper area of ​​Tokyo.
Traffic stopped
Police bar traffic during the Emperor's entrance to the imperial palace.
Safety Cycle
Imperial palace security on a classic bicycle.
Photos in uniform
Young students photograph the imperial palace.
The emperor
Emperor Akihito waves to his subjects from inside the imperial limousine.
Imperial Guard standing by your shelter.
Photographers standing by a shot with the Fushimi Yagura Tower of the Imperial Palace in the background.
Conference hostesses
Hostesses of shinkansen trains discuss work plans in front of the imperial palace.
About to leave
The Japanese emperor travels around the area around the imperial palace in a limousine and followed by a long escort.
Group photo
Group of students is photographed with the imperial palace in the background.
Fushimi Yagura Tower (+ near)
Close up of Fushimi Yagura Tower, part of the Tokyo Imperial Palace.
youth tour
Row of high school students moves towards the Fushimi Yagura tower of the imperial palace.
An Imperial Autumn
Autumn leaves add color to the solid walls of the Emperor's Palace, formerly Edo Castle (Tokyo's predecessor settlement).
After the capitulation in World War II, Japan underwent a constitution that ended one of the longest empires in history. The Japanese emperor is, today, the only monarch to reign without empire.

The imperial palace imposes itself on the city as one of the most memorable trips into Tokyo's past.

When we emerge from the technological sophistication of Otemashi metro station we examine the surrounding reality. We are dazzled.

In the back, an uneven but harmonious core of modern office buildings stands out, two or three of them almost skyscrapers, others lower.

At ground level, almost to the base of these buildings, there is an urban forest of green pine trees that seem to have been cut by a team of Eduardos Mãos de Tesoura.

urban jungle, pine trees, emperor without empire, tokyo, japan

Urban pine forest predates a near-skyscraper area of ​​Tokyo.

Between the pine trees and the palace, there is a vast area covered with gray gravel, interrupted only by the darker asphalt that gives access to the palace.

We detect the wall of the ancient castle of Edo and a strange line of people who have turned their backs on it and seem to be waiting for something.

It occurs to us to cross the asphalt that separates us from them so that we can finally verify what was happening. We don't go far.

A policeman shouts in Japanese and gestures for us to go back.

True to the initial objective, we submitted ourselves to a much bigger turn. When we reached the other side, anxiety took over the group that resists the cold, cameras at the ready.

From (E) Imminence to the Japanese Emperor's Greeting

Sirens are heard in the distance. Police scouts appear on bulky motorbikes, followed by a procession made up of seven black vehicles and the last one, also a police officer.

visitors wave, emperor without empire, tokyo, japan

Japanese subjects wave to the emperor about to enter the imperial palace.

The small crowd gets into a frenzy, even more so the women exchanging hysterical exclamations, waving and clapping their hands as moved as they were beside themselves.

The rear window of one of the cars opens, highlighted by the classic limousine configuration and a red flag that flies over the middle of the hood.

interrupted traffic, entry emperor, emperor without empire, tokyo, japan

Police bar traffic during the Emperor's entrance to the imperial palace.

A man in a suit, candid air and gray hair reveals himself from inside, waves back to his admirers, and leads them to obvious ecstasy. The procession does not stop but slows down.

In three times, he disappears into the palace garden. The crowd rejoices. Dozens of Japanese subjects had just seen their emperor. As if that wasn't enough, the emperor had greeted them.

emperor, akihito, limousine-waves, emperor without empire, tokyo, japan

Emperor Akihito waves to his subjects from inside the imperial limousine.

As far as we were concerned, without quite knowing how, we had just seen the Emperor of Japan. The Emperor of Japan had greeted us.

At the outset, the probability of this encounter was similar to that of finding another emperor still active on the face of the Earth: zero.

The Imperial House in Longest Post

The Japanese imperial house remains the oldest hereditary monarchy in the world to exercise continuity. Its origin is so ancestral that it falls into a void of rigor, despite being included in an 660th century Japanese history book that was founded in XNUMX BC

In the long period that passed, the power of the Japanese emperor alternated between an almost total symbolism and a true imperial rule. But for the most part – despite being nominally appointed by the emperor – the real Japanese leaders were the shoguns.

imperial guard, shelter, imperial palace, emperor without empire, tokyo, japan

Imperial Guard standing by your shelter.

These feudal lords disputed the Japanese territory until the Meiji Restoration entered the scene, which promoted the emperor to the personification of all the power of the kingdom.

Portuguese explorers, European pioneers on arrival in Japan, compared him to the Pope: with great symbolic authority but limited sovereignty.

The Forced Capitulation that Ended World War II

After spreading across Asia and the Pacific from the end of the 1945th century until XNUMX, the Empire of the Sun capitulated in little more than a year to the allied armies. It was returned to its starting point archipelago and dissolved in 1947, during the occupation of the USA, which was at the base of the creation of the new Japanese constitution.

autumn, imperial palace, emperor without empire, tokyo, japan

Autumn leaves add color to the solid walls of the Emperor's Palace, formerly Edo Castle (Tokyo's predecessor settlement).

Hirohito was spared by the Americans from convictions for war crimes and preserved in power with the status of "symbol of the state and the unity of the people". He died in 1989. Akihito then occupied what is known for the chrysanthemum throne.

This last emperor is venerated in the way we had just witnessed – and in others much more zealous or even fanatical – as a direct descendant of Amaterasu, Shinto goddess of the Sun and the Universe, accordingly, the highest earthly authority of this religion.

From the Imperial Capital of Kyoto, the Core of Edo and then Tokyo

For eleven centuries, Japanese emperors resided in Kyoto. From the middle of the XNUMXth century, the official residence – Kokyo – was moved to Edo Castle, in the heart of Tokyo.

imperial palace, fushimi yagura tower, emperor without empire, tokyo, japan

One of the towers of the Japanese Imperial Palace that recovered Edo Castle.

Its main building was still in front of us, sheltered by inner walls, facing the Nijubashi Bridge, on top of a hill and among shady trees.

We see dozens of Japanese students dressed in black advance in line along the gravel.

Arriving at the bridge, they form with this backdrop as a background and a photographer, in the good Japanese manner armed with a tripod, registers the image of the young subjects for posterity.

students, skyscrapers, emperor without empire, tokyo, japan

Row of high school students moves towards the Fushimi Yagura tower of the imperial palace.

Tokyo Central Station is not far away. depart from it all the time shinkansen bullet trains destined for the main cities of the country and equipped with a hostess for each carriage.

Meanwhile, a group of these workers in their elegant uniforms flock to the place for the same purpose as the students.

hostesses, conference, emperor without empire, tokyo, japan

Hostesses of shinkansen trains discuss work plans in front of the imperial palace.

At the beginning of the XNUMXst century, these and other Japanese women were almost treated to a revolution in the ever-traditional Japanese gender relationship.

Japan's Imperial Palace Succession Crisis

At that time, Prince Akishino (second son of Akihito) remained the only male member born into the imperial family since 1965.

With the succession at risk, the Imperial House decided to form a council to consider the hypothesis of a woman can succeed the Emperor. 

palace security, bicycle, emperor without empire, tokyo, japan

Imperial palace security on a classic bicycle.

But in 2006, Akishino and the princess Kiko spawned a prince, Hisahito. Shortly thereafter, the board maintained that the succession should continue to be made in the male.

It turns out that Naruhito – the eldest and probable successor of the current emperor – has only one daughter. O that the Japanese will decide when the succession back to being in danger?

Nikko, Japan

The Tokugawa Shogun Final Procession

In 1600, Ieyasu Tokugawa inaugurated a shogunate that united Japan for 250 years. In her honor, Nikko re-enacts the general's medieval relocation to Toshogu's grandiose mausoleum every year.
Okinawa, Japan

The Little Empire of the Sun

Risen from the devastation caused by World War II, Okinawa has regained the heritage of its secular Ryukyu civilization. Today, this archipelago south of Kyushu is home to a Japan on the shore, anchored by a turquoise Pacific ocean and bathed in a peculiar Japanese tropicalism.
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The Last Polynesian Monarchy

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Ogimashi, Japan

An Historical-Virtual Japan

"Higurashi no Naku Koro never” was a highly successful Japanese animation and computer game series. In Ogimashi, Shirakawa-Go village, we live with a group of kigurumi of their characters.
Hiroshima, Japan

Hiroshima: a City Yielded to Peace

On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima succumbed to the explosion of the first atomic bomb used in war. 70 years later, the city fights for the memory of the tragedy and for nuclear weapons to be eradicated by 2020.
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo's fashion

In ultra-populous and hyper-coded Japan, there is always room for more sophistication and creativity. Whether national or imported, it is in the capital that they begin to parade the new Japanese looks.
Kyoto, Japan

A Combustible Faith

During the Shinto celebration of Ohitaki, prayers inscribed on tablets by the Japanese faithful are gathered at the Fushimi temple. There, while being consumed by huge bonfires, her belief is renewed.
Tokyo, Japan

Japanese Style Passaport-Type Photography

In the late 80s, two Japanese multinationals already saw conventional photo booths as museum pieces. They turned them into revolutionary machines and Japan surrendered to the Purikura phenomenon.
Osaka, Japan

In the Company of Mayu

Japanese nightlife is a multi-faceted, multi-billion business. In Osaka, an enigmatic couchsurfing hostess welcomes us, somewhere between the geisha and the luxury escort.
Tokyo, Japan

Disposable Purrs

Tokyo is the largest of the metropolises but, in its tiny apartments, there is no place for pets. Japanese entrepreneurs detected the gap and launched "catteries" in which the feline affections are paid by the hour.
Takayama, Japan

From the Ancient Japan to the Medieval Hida

In three of its streets, Takayama retains traditional wooden architecture and concentrates old shops and sake producers. Around it, it approaches 100.000 inhabitants and surrenders to modernity.
Kyoto, Japan

An Almost Lost Millennial Japan

Kyoto was on the US atomic bomb target list and it was more than a whim of fate that preserved it. Saved by an American Secretary of War in love with its historical and cultural richness and oriental sumptuousness, the city was replaced at the last minute by Nagasaki in the atrocious sacrifice of the second nuclear cataclysm.
Serengeti, Great Savannah Migration, Tanzania, wildebeest on river
Serengeti NP, Tanzania

The Great Migration of the Endless Savanna

In these prairies that the Masai people say syringet (run forever), millions of wildebeests and other herbivores chase the rains. For predators, their arrival and that of the monsoon are the same salvation.
Annapurna Circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna 10th Circuit: Manang to Yak Kharka, Nepal

On the way to the Annapurnas Even Higher Lands

After an acclimatization break in the near-urban civilization of Manang (3519 m), we made progress again in the ascent to the zenith of Thorong La (5416 m). On that day, we reached the hamlet of Yak Kharka, at 4018 m, a good starting point for the camps at the base of the great canyon.
Bertie in jalopy, Napier, New Zealand
Architecture & Design
Napier, New Zealand

Back to the 30s

Devastated by an earthquake, Napier was rebuilt in an almost ground-floor Art Deco and lives pretending to stop in the Thirties. Its visitors surrender to the Great Gatsby atmosphere that the city enacts.
Boats on ice, Hailuoto Island, Finland.
Hailuoto, Finland

A Refuge in the Gulf of Bothnia

During winter, the island of Hailuoto is connected to the rest of Finland by the country's longest ice road. Most of its 986 inhabitants esteem, above all, the distance that the island grants them.
Ceremonies and Festivities
Apia, Western Samoa

Fia Fia – High Rotation Polynesian Folklore

From New Zealand to Easter Island and from here to Hawaii, there are many variations of Polynesian dances. Fia Fia's Samoan nights, in particular, are enlivened by one of the more fast-paced styles.
Alaskan Lumberjack Show Competition, Ketchikan, Alaska, USA
Ketchikan, Alaska

Here begins Alaska

The reality goes unnoticed in most of the world, but there are two Alaskas. In urban terms, the state is inaugurated in the south of its hidden frying pan handle, a strip of land separated from the contiguous USA along the west coast of Canada. Ketchikan, is the southernmost of Alaskan cities, its Rain Capital and the Salmon Capital of the World.
Cocoa, Chocolate, Sao Tome Principe, Agua Izé farm
São Tomé and Principe

Cocoa Roças, Corallo and the Chocolate Factory

At the beginning of the century. In the XNUMXth century, São Tomé and Príncipe generated more cocoa than any other territory. Thanks to the dedication of some entrepreneurs, production survives and the two islands taste like the best chocolate.
Ooty, Tamil Nadu, Bollywood Scenery, Heartthrob's Eye
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In Bollywood's Nearly Ideal Setting

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4th of July Fireworks-Seward, Alaska, United States
Seward, Alaska

The Longest 4th of July

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Train Fianarantsoa to Manakara, Malagasy TGV, locomotive
Fianarantsoa-Manakara, Madagascar

On board the Malagasy TGV

We depart Fianarantsoa at 7a.m. It wasn't until 3am the following morning that we completed the 170km to Manakara. The natives call this almost secular train Train Great Vibrations. During the long journey, we felt, very strongly, those of the heart of Madagascar.
Jingkieng Wahsurah, Nongblai Village Roots Bridge, Meghalaya, India
Meghalaya, India

The Bridges of the Peoples that Create Roots

The unpredictability of rivers in the wettest region on Earth never deterred the Khasi and the Jaintia. Faced with the abundance of trees elastic fig tree in their valleys, these ethnic groups got used to molding their branches and strains. From their time-lost tradition, they have bequeathed hundreds of dazzling root bridges to future generations.
Rainbow in the Grand Canyon, an example of prodigious photographic light
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 1)

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Journey in the History of Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary Islands, Varandas Avenida Marítima
Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary Islands

A Journey into the History of Santa Cruz de La Palma

It began as a mere Villa del Apurón. Come the century. XVI, the town had not only overcome its difficulties, it was already the third port city in Europe. Heir to this blessed prosperity, Santa Cruz de La Palma has become one of the most elegant capitals in the Canaries.
Hailuoto Island, Finland

Fishing for Truly Fresh Fish

Sheltered from unwanted social pressures, the islanders of Hailuoto they know how to sustain themselves. Under the icy sea of ​​Bothnia they capture precious ingredients for the restaurants of Oulu, in mainland Finland.
Horses under a snow, Iceland Never Ending Snow Island Fire
Winter White
Husavik a Myvatn, Iceland

Endless Snow on the Island of Fire

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Almada Negreiros, Roça Saudade, Sao Tome
Saudade, São Tomé, São Tomé and Principe

Almada Negreiros: From Saudade to Eternity

Almada Negreiros was born in April 1893, on a farm in the interior of São Tomé. Upon discovering his origins, we believe that the luxuriant exuberance in which he began to grow oxygenated his fruitful creativity.
Fluvial coming and going
Iriomote, Japan

The Small Tropical Japanese Amazon of Iriomote

Impenetrable rainforests and mangroves fill Iriomote under a pressure cooker climate. Here, foreign visitors are as rare as the yamaneko, an elusive endemic lynx.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Prayer flags in Ghyaru, Nepal
Natural Parks
Annapurna Circuit: 4th – Upper Banana to Ngawal, Nepal

From Nightmare to Dazzle

Unbeknownst to us, we are faced with an ascent that leads us to despair. We pulled our strength as far as possible and reached Ghyaru where we felt closer than ever to the Annapurnas. The rest of the way to Ngawal felt like a kind of extension of the reward.
Grand Canyon, Arizona, Travel North America, Abysmal, Hot Shadows
UNESCO World Heritage
Grand Canyon, USA

Journey through the Abysmal North America

The Colorado River and tributaries began flowing into the plateau of the same name 17 million years ago and exposed half of Earth's geological past. They also carved one of its most stunning entrails.
Era Susi towed by dog, Oulanka, Finland
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

Jukka “Era-Susi” Nordman has created one of the largest packs of sled dogs in the world. He became one of Finland's most iconic characters but remains faithful to his nickname: Wilderness Wolf.
Plane landing, Maho beach, Sint Maarten
Maho Beach, Sint Maarten

The Jet-powered Caribbean Beach

At first glance, Princess Juliana International Airport appears to be just another one in the vast Caribbean. Successive landings skimming Maho beach that precedes its runway, jet take-offs that distort the faces of bathers and project them into the sea, make it a special case.
Mauritius Island, Indian voyage, Chamarel waterfall

A Mini India in the Southwest of the Indian Ocean

In the XNUMXth century, the French and the British disputed an archipelago east of Madagascar previously discovered by the Portuguese. The British triumphed, re-colonized the islands with sugar cane cutters from the subcontinent, and both conceded previous Francophone language, law and ways. From this mix came the exotic Mauritius.
Back in the sun. San Francisco Cable Cars, Life Ups and Downs
On Rails
San Francisco, USA

San Francisco Cable Cars: A Life of Highs and Lows

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cozy Vegas
Las Vegas, USA

World Capital of Weddings vs Sin City

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Visitors at Talisay Ruins, Negros Island, Philippines
Daily life
Talisay City, Philippines

Monument to a Luso-Philippine Love

At the end of the 11th century, Mariano Lacson, a Filipino farmer, and Maria Braga, a Portuguese woman from Macau, fell in love and got married. During the pregnancy of what would be her 2th child, Maria succumbed to a fall. Destroyed, Mariano built a mansion in his honor. In the midst of World War II, the mansion was set on fire, but the elegant ruins that endured perpetuate their tragic relationship.
Lion, Elephants, PN Hwange, Zimbabwe
PN Hwange, Zimbabwe

The Legacy of the Late Cecil Lion

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Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.