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!
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.
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.
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.
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).
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!
- See The Difference Between Dynasty, Kingdom, and Empire ↩
- See Japan with an Emperor, or a King? ↩
- See the Y2K Bug ↩
- See Act 10 of the Sailor Moon manga ↩
- See Act 10 of the Sailor Moon manga ↩
20 thoughts on “Are the Silver Millennium and the Moon Kingdom the Same Thing?”
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.
Have you read up on Hesiod’s Works and Days? Among other things, it talks about the ages of man– one of which is the silver age. I remember it a bit differently than how it’s condensed on the Wikipedia article, but I’m sure you can find an online translation to form your own opinion.
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.
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.
千年王国 seems to be a term associated with millenarianism. While its use can seem somewhat strange here, we also know that religious – specifically Christian – motifs did eventually surface in the Infinity arc, so the topic was not entirely unfamiliar to the author. It’s possible that the comparison is intentional, and “millenium” was meant to be one of those references (you could probably even argue that the Moon Kingdom qualifies as a literal “Kingdom of Heaven”, and since Usagi eventually re-establishes it on Earth… well…).
Of course, it’s just as likely that Takeuchi simply liked the word “millenium” (see: TV Tropes, “Everyone Is Jesus In Purgatory”).
This article was intriguing; I admit I have similar questions. Particularly considering that the manga mentions Crystal Tokyo as being the re-establishment of the “silver millennium” on earth; and the crystal palace is inaccessible except by those of the “Silver Millennium” — does that mean only citizens of the moon kingdom who were reincarnated? only the senshi/royal family? people loyal to the Queen? what? I mean, I can’t imagine that Usagi would exclude normal earth people from being able to enter the seat of government. The meaning is very unclear.
In La Reconquista musical, Queen Serenity pleads with Sailor Moon to seal away Metallia forever, and revive the Silver Millennium. When she does, Serenity thanks her, reminds her she is also reincarnated to be happy, and says now the Silver Millennium is revived. What does that mean? The palace was still in ruins, Japanese government still in place, etc.
Aren’t the Senshi and the princess the flower of the Silver Millenium? In that sense, so long as they survive, it, too, exists…. Plus in the manga and Crystal, Sailor Moon, as the princess, raised the Millennium from the ashes, so it’s likely she did here too
Well, as someone who grew up on Sailor Moon and had long been intrigued by this mysterious and little-spoken-of period in the story’s history, I lean more towards the manga’s rendition of it than the anime. The Manga makes more things evident and implies more things that allow better extrapolation.
First off, Silver Millennium was implied to have been around prehistorically and lasted long enough for Humans on earth to deify the inhabitants of Silver Millennium (i.e. everywhere in the system that is not Earth proper). The word ‘surveillance’ was used as a point of resentment by some people on Earth who knew who and what the people outside of Earth were really like. They didn’t seem to like the imperialistic control these outsiders had over them, despite the fact that these ‘gods’ were helping them evolve at a digestible and steady pace.
Takeuchi uses alot of references to Greek and Roman mythology, in particular. Queen Serenity herself stated the people of Earth refer to her as Selene (the Titan Goddess of the Moon). This says that, since the Classical Greek period was NOT prehistoric and the manga implies the extraterrestrial empire existed before history, the Silver Millennium didn’t refer to how long the empire existed for or was expected to last for, but may be a fanciful name or might just refer to the lifespan of anyone exposed to enough of Ginzuishou’s healing and life-extending power, which is implied to be actually greater than 1000 years (because the SAME phenomenon happens in 30th Century Earth in Crystal Tokyo and Chibi-Usa’s age being almost 1000 years and yet she’s still a child with, presumably, alot more life in her yet… but, this could just be because she’s Senshi herself and the rules apparently bend for Senshi as opposed to regular people, whose lifespans might just be limited to about 1,000 years).
Now, The actul habitability of the moon, according to the manga, is no different than it is now: the moon has a quarter of the Earth’s diameter, a sixth of its gravity, and it’s a dead-silent near-vacuum. No weather, no atmosphere, no life of its own. No life could have evolved there on its own. According to the StarS Arc, Luna and Artemis are revealed to be aliens from the planet Mau who sought asylum from Galaxia’s conquests and planet busting escapades… and we know Galaxia’s been at the galactic conquest game for many thousands of years. Sailor Senshi might be clinically immortal on their own and if killed bodily, will just be reincarnated, presumably as long as their planet still exists (that one is conjecture based on what the Galaxy Cauldron appears to do). The city and the lunar palace itself was under a dome that contained an artificial atmosphere and artificial weather, which Princess Serenity found to be sub-par to the real thing, since she often ran off to Earth against her Mother’s wishes, and eventually fell in love with Endymion there. This, too, was written in the manga. Silver Millennium basically terraformed a part of the moon to make it habitable, but it wasn’t quite like the real thing encountered in a natural environment.
StarS, for me, simply brings everything around full circle. It fills in what it really means to be Senshi, the lifecycles and potential lifespans of Senshi, and introduces an interesting implication that Silver Millennium was only established because it was, basically, a refugee base that evolved into its own nation over time. The Gods of ancient times that were revered by Earth’s Humans were aliens from other worlds, complete with a few Senshi guardians leading countless others of their own people to a safe(ish) obscure system no one had ever heard of, which might allow them a final stand at some point in the future. This explains their advanced technology (Mind uploading, holograms, supercomputers, terraforming…. Queen Serenity being encountered in the 20th century in the form of a hologram animated by what appears to be the will of the woman herself is proof of advanced computer and cybernetic technology).
The fact that the other Senshi in Princess Serenity’s entourage were princesses of their own worlds implies that the other planets had settlements on or in orbit around them. Each Senshi’s castle might well have been these settlements that they were to inherit when the time came, since the castles belonged to their respective Senshi. We only got to see an image of a few of these castles, but each were given a name (some named after moons of the planet, or the first space probe to reach and study the planet). The castles also appeared to be a conduit for additional power the Senshi could tap into between their sailor crystal and the planet they represent, as well.
This is my two cents here. We can safely extrapolate that the Greek gods and titans play a role here and might well have been among the inhabitants of Silver Millennium, among them (particularly the Olympian Gods) the Senshi’s original parents… who themselves might have been part of Queen Serenity’s entourage in a similar way Princess Serenity had her Senshi guardians that we all know and love.
I have read in the manga that after Sailor Saturn destroyed the moon kingdom, human evolution had to begin back to zero…
A very interesting analysis – and I think points to the inconsistent handling of Silver Millennium as both a place/polity and a period of time across the canon. The manga (and to a lesser extent Crystal) seem to offer up the most information. My understanding has always been that the Moon Kingdom was the ancestral seat of the monarchs (Queen Serenity) of the empire, as in a place, but that Silver Millennium described the entirety of the empire. But Silver Millennium is also treated as a period of time at other moments – as a utopian prehistoric age.
The moon itself is at other times described as Silver Millennium – and in that context called “the Mother Homeland” by Sailor Uranus. However, the manga and anime both explicitly state that a second Silver Millennium is established on Earth in the 30th Century, with Crystal Tokyo essentially taking the place of the Moon Kingdom as its capitol. However, the Moon Kingdom still exists – and was revived at the end of the Dark Kingdom arc – in the 30th Century. Chibiusa is even described as having gone to the Moon Castle and lived there for a time.
I’m just discovering this blog, so perhaps this is already covered, but I would definitely be interested in reading an analysis of the second Silver Millennium. The first Silver Millennium is pretty plainly treated as a prehistoric golden age or polity, but the Silver Millennium in the 30th Century is way more morally ambiguous.
We know that it is more-or-less peaceful and that people live within it for thousands of years. But we also know that Neo Queen Serenity and King Endymion imprison those who refused to be cleansed by the Silver Crystal – AND their innocent descendants – on a barren world.
Those choices are the main driver of conflict in the Black Moon arc. The question of whether or not the second Silver Millennium is sort of fascist feels like a really interesting one to me.
That’s an interesting point. I think the exiled people weren’t exactly saints, as they did a revolt against the queen, but as a reaction to the NeoQueen’s desire of purifying everyone’s heart.
Maybe they had all the right in wanting to keep the darkness of their hearts and remain as themselves.
Or maybe that darkness she wanted to remove was a form of CHAOS, the entity behind all antagonists in Sailor Moon, and Usagi wanted to remove that evil force before it manifested as another enemy. In that case, exiling people who don’t want to be purified wouldn’t be different of putting ill people in a quarantine.
Maybe the queen would have leave them live in Earth during the rest of their natural lives if they hadn’t made a coup against her goberment. Maybe the purification had to be a global event, so if they didn’t want to be purified they had to leave the planet.
I wish the manga or anime gave more data about the old and new Millennium, maybe as a sequel with an adult Usagi defeating the enemy that was freezing the world and after most governments collapsed she had to take control as the neo queen, with only her power to back her right to lead them.
It still sound fascist, but I resist to think of the innocent Usagi as a despot. She had to have reasons to act like she did.
I wish the anime or manga would focus more in that kingdom and how it worked.
And I would have loved to see how NASA would have reacted after finding the rests of the Moon Castle.
I’m pretty sure that’s how Power Rangers began. =D
“After 10,000 years I’m free, time to conquer Earth!”
And not to mention there is the confusion that there are times when Crystal Tokyo is also referred to as the “Silver Millennium”.
i worte an essay for the university about how the moon kingom and neo tokyo may structured as martriarchy society based on matriarchy definitions and how the they fullfilled in the sailor moon manga. sadly i wroted in german. but maybe it could be interesting for you? it explains a lot of structure oof the dynasty