Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between King and Emperor

king1King vs Emperor

We all know that Kings and Emperors are rulers. But there are some differences which make them get the different titles.

An Emperor is known as the ‘king of kings’. So king is lower in designation to an emperor. Often in the histories and epics, the emperor is a very powerful person in comparison to a king. The major difference in power is due to the number of countries being ruled by the person. The king rules one country or a group of states, while an emperor rules many countries. So the emperor is considered mightier than the king in this respect.

Sometimes the difference is merely due to the title being used in a country. If in Japan, the ruler is known as the Emperor, in Great Britain, the person will be known as the king of the UK. In the present scenario, the Emperor of Japan is the only monarch who has the title of Emperor.

The responsibilities of both the emperors were different to a big extent. In the past, emperors were the people who looked after the overall economic affairs and military of the ruling countries. The emperors controlled the military forces, land and development, trading and import, export, and the improvement of relations among the conquered colonies or countries. The kings had the job of looking after the welfare of the people, the healthy lifestyles, other economic and financial matters, and the petty import and exports. So responsibilities like the expansion of the kingdom and protection of the subjects were common to both the emperors and kings. But the Emperors and Empresses are always higher in rank and honor than the Kings and Queens.

When a king rules a country, it is known as his kingdom. But when an emperor rules, he will be ruling a group of countries, and these are collectively known as the Empire. The Roman Empire is such an example. Another example to differentiate between the empire and kingdoms is the rule of the British Empire in India. The people from the British Empire were ruling the kingdoms in India while there were many small kings in the country. George V was known as the King of Britain and as the Emperor of India.

In many countries, the emperor was seen as an incarnation of God himself or as the chosen one by God to rule the people. But kings are not seen in that way by the subjects. The king is often treated as the mortal succeeding the previous king.

There is a title King-Emperor also. This designation is given to a person who is a king of a country and emperor of another country. This title is usually given when a merge occurs between an imperial crown and a royal.

Summary:
1.Emperor is higher in rank and honor than the King.
2.King rules a country, while emperor rules a group of countries.
3.An emperor rules an empire, while a king rules a kingdom.


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3 Comments

  1. The difference between rear wheel drive cars (with four snow tires), and front wheel drive cars. Can the rear wheel drive car get stuck in the snow even if it has four winter tiers?

  2. King vs. Emperor is like hurricane vs. typhoon. They are both the same things, but hurricanes happen in the atlantic, and English-speaking pacific, while typhoons are what Asians call hurricanes.

    Actually, there is/was a small difference between king/emperor in the past, but they essentially mean the same thing now.

    Japanese people take great pride in the fact that only Japan has an emperor… This is interesting. He has no empire. He has no power. He is a constitutional monarch. But he is the symbol of unity for a lot of right-wing Japanese patriots (even though at the end of WW2 he said he was not a God…). So really only Britian meets the definition of an empire – but royalty there use the title king/queen. Meanwhile, in Japan, with no empire, the term emperor is still used, even though there is no empire.

    Since the dictionary definition states that emperor is higher than king, Japanese people think that their emperor is above all the kings on the planet – and therefore they, with an emperor, are superior… go figure…

    • Understood, but Japan has an Emperor because of its history. During the Kofun Period (250 A.D.). There were Kings in Japan (Five Kings of Wa) which paid tribute to the Chinese Emperor of the Jin Dynasty, note: Chinese had an Emperor because the Jin dynasty founded by the Sima clan united the kingdoms of China during that period (Three Kingdoms period, which had “kings” + remember those time China is still not considered one unified country). Japan only did have an Emperor during the Asuka period. Furthermore, in my opinion its not like Hurricane vs. typhoon because Charlemagne was the Kings of Franks, and he was named Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire after he became the King of Italy and after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Which reiterates the point mention in the article

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