Are the Silver Millennium and the Moon Kingdom the Same Thing?

The Silver Moon Castle Millennium Kingdom

The Silver Moon Castle Millennium Kingdom

To all the Super Sailor Moon super fans out there, let me first apologize for the how seemingly obvious the question seems to be. Off hand, the Silver Millennium is the time in which the empire ran, and the Moon Kingdom is the empire itself.

But I wouldn’t be here today talking about this if the answer was so simple, now would I?

Stick around, because we have some interesting stories to tell today!

Love the crescent Earth from the Moon

Love the crescent Earth from the Moon

Of course, I think the million dollar question that we all wish we could answer about the Silver Millennium is: “When did the Silver Millennium take place?”

But, unfortunately, neither the Sailor Moon anime nor manga give us enough information to even begin looking at that question, so we’ll have to settle for it’s less popular — but similarly intriguing  — cousin of what the Silver Millennium itself actually is.

… or was. Whatever.

In order for us to figure out where these two are differ, let’s talk a look at the implications of each.

First off, the Moon Kingdom!

Now, one thing has always bothered me about the Moon Kingdom: when you actually stop and look at it, it’s not a kingdom at all — it’s actually an empire.

Empress Serenity

Empress Serenity

So, for those of you who didn’t make questionable life choices and major in history, the really simple explanation is that a kingdom is generally one nation that is ruled by a monarch (be it king or queen) while an empire usually consists of multiple nations (or even kingdoms, etc.) which are ruled by a single monarch.1

Incidentally, the Japanese emperor is actually closer to a “king,” but due to convention we use the term emperor. That’s a long story but fun to read up on.2

Judging by the fact that we have an Earth Kingdom and implied kingdoms for every other planet (which we can infer from each of the Sailor Soldiers later being referred to as their “princess” selves), and the fact that these are all ruled by the Moon Kingdom, I think that’s a pretty good reason to call it the Moon Empire.

What about the Silver Millennium?

Well, as anyone who lived through the Dark Days of the Y2K Bug can tell you, a millennium is 1,000 years.3 That would mean that the Silver Millennium was either awfully optimistic, in that they assumed they’d be around for a whole 1,000 years, or fatalistic, in that they assumed that they’ve only got a good 1,000 years in them before being toppled.

Bet you're wishing you didn't commit to only 1,000 years, huh?

Bet you’re wishing you didn’t commit to only 1,000 years, huh?

This is especially important because we know that the term “Silver Millennium” was actually in use during the Silver Millennium. So for better or for worse, Queen Serenity was pretty committed to this 1,000 year timeline.

The best argument we can make is that since the people of the Moon were said to have a 1,000 year life span, she was just being realistic about how long until all her subjects were dead. This argument gets really complicated when you start to ask questions of whether or not every subject of the Moon Kingdom Empire lives to exactly 1,000 years old, and if new children are actually being born (who, in turn, have 1,000 year lives). So we’ll stop while we’re ahead.

Now that we established what the Moon Kingdom and Silver Millennium should be it’s time to look out how the series actually treats them.

The simple answer is, sadly, that the Japanese text refers to the empire on the moon as the “Silver Millennium,” making it more of a fanciful name for an empire and not a dynasty name or anything of the sort in reference for when the Moon Family ruled.

The Princess and Heir to the... Silver Millennium?

The Princess and Heir to the… Silver Millennium?

When Queen Serenity — or at least her hologram — first appears in the manga, she refers to herself as the “Queen of the Silver Millennium.”4 Later on, when the Sailor Soldiers are shown keeping an eye on Princess Serenity, Sailor Mercury chastises her and tells Serenity that she is the heir to the throne for the Silver Millennium, so she needs to study.5

What does this all mean?

Basically, these two things are one in the same, meaning that the empire ruled by the Moon dynasty is, in fact, known as the Silver Millennium. Incidentally, the live action Sailor Moon show did away with the concept of the Silver Millennium entirely, and instead referred to it only as the Moon Kingdom (月の王国; tsuki no oukoku).

Gazing upon the moon

Gazing upon the moon

Personally, I wish we had more background on the past and future of the Sailor Moon universe, since there are so many unanswered questions that actually have a lot of impact on the story itself. Why is it called the Silver Millennium in the first place? Just to connect to the Silver Crystal? And don’t get me started on that lifespan issue.

So what about you? Do you have any thoughts about how the kingdom, or empire, was structured? I’ve always been interested in if the rest of the Sailor Soldiers are, in fact, “princesses” of their own domains as we’re traditionally think of it, or are they just Lords/Ladies or other nobility without ruling their own kingdoms? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


References:

  1.  See The Difference Between Dynasty, Kingdom, and Empire
  2.  See Japan with an Emperor, or a King?
  3.  See the Y2K Bug
  4.  See Act 10 of the Sailor Moon manga
  5.  See Act 10 of the Sailor Moon manga

8 comments

  • DisneyFanGirl27

    I absolutely love this post because so much is unknown about the Silver Millennium era and I would have loved to learn and know more about it. But I like the way you put that it was probably more like an empire instead of just a kingdom. I really liked this post and I do love and enjoy your blog. (^_^)

    • Thanks for the comments! The Silver Millennium has always been a huge mystery to me and something I wish we knew a lot more about. But at least by looking at all the tiny details given to use throughout the run of the manga/anime, we can try to piece something together.

  • Can you do an article about what age Chibiusa, Setsuna and Kakyuu is?

    • ChibiUsa is an interesting issue since her age changes for each appearance (R, S, and SuperS) in addition to that funkiness with being +900 years old, but otherwise it’s pretty straight forward. Definitely worth writing about!

      As for Setsuna, I briefly covered that in the past, in: Why Doesn’t Setsuna / Sailor Pluto’s Story Make Any Sense?

      Kakyuu is an interesting question, since she doesn’t really have anything of an “Earth” persona to speak of, so we don’t really have much to go on other than assuming that she’s around the same age as the Starlights.

  • There are some alternative definitions for Millennium that define it as “a period of great happiness or human perfection” (Miriam-Webster) or “a utopian period of good government, great happiness, and prosperity.” (Google)
    So I believe when the Moon Kingdom is refered to as the Silver Millenium it means more of a Silver Utopia, rather than an era of one thousand years. Although it could mean both at the same time.

    • I took a look at some Japanese dictionaries just to see what kind of resources are available, and that definition is also provided. So it definitely IS possible!

      However, since Naoko doesn’t really know any English, in almost every case of English, French, Italian, or Latin words she uses, they’re always the most common and obvious definition.
      Also, considering that the people of the moon have 1,000 year lifespans, I think it’s probably safer to think that she meant “millennium” in the traditional sense of the word (i.e., a period of 1,000 years).

      Lastly, Japanese sources provide as a native Japanese reading for Silver Millennium the following: 月の千年王国 or 月の千年帝国 (thousand-year moon kingdom/empire).

      I couldn’t find the exact page this appeared in the manga, so left it out of the article.

  • Sailor Crystal Moon

    In the way I interpret it, the Silver Millenium is a kind of… federation… On each planet in the Solar System (including Pluto, Ceres, Pallas, Juno & Vesta) is an autonomous kingdom with its own rulers & castle (for example the Moon Kingdom with the Moon Palace, the Venus Kingdom with the Magellan Castle…). All of these kingdoms are united in Silver Milennium. Queen Serenity rules both the Moon Kingdom and the Silver Milennium (though she doesn´t have absolute power; it´s more like she leads the other monarchs, the decisions would be made together) , she was probably chosen to be the leader since she had the most power. It makes sense to me.

    • The only thing that speaks against the theory is when SM Venus and Co. seemed to have serviced Princess Serenity literally (as body guards and similar stuff) instead of just being the princesses of associated countries being led by Queen Serenity. Granted, there could have been a Queen Venus or King Mercury, but what king or queen would send their only child and heir to serve another princess. And possibly even get hurt in the process.

      I personally think the situation was more like in Edo Japan where you had daimyou who were independent up to a certain degree but had to serve the shougun and leave family as servants there so they wouldn’t think of revolting against the overlord. And Princess Jupiter was nothing more than the local ohimesama, but not a oujo 王女, daughter of a king or queen for that matter.

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