The Mainichi answers some common questions readers may have about the jobs carried out by members of the Imperial Household Agency.
Question: How many people work at the agency?
Answer: From the chamberlains and court physicians who care directly for the Emperor and members of the Imperial Family to the Imperial Cuisine Division that prepares their food to the Administration Division that manages public property such as the Imperial Palace, some 1,000 people work at the Imperial Household Agency, which is headed by the grand steward.
Q: What other jobs are there?
A: There are also players of gagaku, or ancient court music, belonging to the Board of Ceremonies' Music Department. They play at garden parties held by the Emperor, to which officials including the prime minister and prefectural governors are invited. Gagaku was registered in 1955 as a national important intangible cultural property, and in 2009 it was inscribed on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Q: Who handles historical documents?
A: At the Archives and Mausolea Department, the Compiling Division puts together records on the Imperial Family's history. Over the course of a quarter-century, it compiled a biography on the life of Emperor Hirohito, Emperor Akihito's father, who is posthumously known as Emperor Showa, which was published in September 2014. The division consists of experts on Imperial Family history, while the Archives Division has employees knowledgeable on how to repair old historical documents. The department also covers the management of the mausolea of past emperors and the treasures kept at the Shosoin Repository in Nara. (Answers by Koichi Kirino, Medical Welfare News Department)