TABOO Violated: Letter Handed to Emperor Causes Protocol Freak-Out in Japan

Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko bow during a national memorial service for victims in Tokyo March 11, 2012, to mark the first anniversary of an earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands and set off a nuclear crisis.

Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko bow during a national memorial service for victims in Tokyo March 11, 2012, to mark the first anniversary of an earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands and set off a nuclear crisis.

(TOKYO) — A novice Japanese lawmaker who wanted to draw attention to the Fukushima nuclear crisis has caused an uproar by doing something taboo: handing a letter to the emperor.

The ruckus began at an annual autumn Imperial Palace garden party last week. As Emperor Akihito and his wife, Michiko, greeted a line of guests, outspoken actor-turned-lawmaker Taro Yamamoto gave the emperor the letter — a gesture considered both impolite and inappropriate.

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