Hirohito
Overview
 
çiɽoꜜçito, posthumously in Japan officially called Emperor Shōwa or , (April 29, 1901 – January 7, 1989) was the 124th Emperor of Japan
Emperor of Japan
The Emperor of Japan is, according to the 1947 Constitution of Japan, "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people." He is a ceremonial figurehead under a form of constitutional monarchy and is head of the Japanese Imperial Family with functions as head of state. He is also the highest...

 according to the traditional order, reigning from December 25, 1926, until his death in 1989. Although better known outside of Japan by his personal name Hirohito, in Japan he is now referred to exclusively by his posthumous name
Posthumous name
A posthumous name is an honorary name given to royalty, nobles, and sometimes others, in East Asia after the person's death, and is used almost exclusively instead of one's personal name or other official titles during his life...

 Emperor Shōwa. The word Shōwa is the name of the era
Showa period
The , or Shōwa era, is the period of Japanese history corresponding to the reign of the Shōwa Emperor, Hirohito, from December 25, 1926 through January 7, 1989.The Shōwa period was longer than the reign of any previous Japanese emperor...

 that corresponded with the Emperor's reign, and was made the Emperor's own name upon his death.

At the start of his reign, Japan was already one of the great powers – the ninth largest economy in the world after Italy, the third largest naval country
Washington Naval Treaty
The Washington Naval Treaty, also known as the Five-Power Treaty, was an attempt to cap and limit, and "prevent 'further' costly escalation" of the naval arms race that had begun after World War I between various International powers, each of which had significant naval fleets. The treaty was...

, and one of the five permanent members of the council of the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

.
Quotations

After pondering deeply the general trends of the world and the actual conditions obtaining in Our Empire today, We have decided to effect a settlement of the present situation by resorting to an extraordinary measure. We have ordered Our Government to communicate to the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, China and the Soviet Union that Our Empire accepts the provisions of their Joint Declaration.

To strive for the common prosperity and happiness of all nations as well as the security and well-being of Our subjects is the solemn obligation which has been handed down by Our Imperial Ancestors and which lies close to Our heart.

The hardships and sufferings to which Our nation is to be subjected hereafter will be certainly great. We are keenly aware of the inmost feelings of all of you. Our subjects. However, it is according to the dictates of time and fate that We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is unsufferable.

Beware most strictly of any outbursts of emotion which may engender needless complications, or any fraternal contention and strike which may create confusion, lead you astray and cause you to lose the confidence of the world. Let the entire nation continue as one family from generation to generation, ever firm in its faith in the imperishability of its sacred land, and mindful of its heavy burden of responsibility and of the long road before it.

Unite your total strength, to be devoted to construction for the future. Cultivate the ways of rectitude, foster nobility of spirit, and work with resolution — so that you may enhance the innate glory of the Imperial State and keep pace with the progress of the world.

Encyclopedia
çiɽoꜜçito, posthumously in Japan officially called Emperor Shōwa or , (April 29, 1901 – January 7, 1989) was the 124th Emperor of Japan
Emperor of Japan
The Emperor of Japan is, according to the 1947 Constitution of Japan, "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people." He is a ceremonial figurehead under a form of constitutional monarchy and is head of the Japanese Imperial Family with functions as head of state. He is also the highest...

 according to the traditional order, reigning from December 25, 1926, until his death in 1989. Although better known outside of Japan by his personal name Hirohito, in Japan he is now referred to exclusively by his posthumous name
Posthumous name
A posthumous name is an honorary name given to royalty, nobles, and sometimes others, in East Asia after the person's death, and is used almost exclusively instead of one's personal name or other official titles during his life...

 Emperor Shōwa. The word Shōwa is the name of the era
Showa period
The , or Shōwa era, is the period of Japanese history corresponding to the reign of the Shōwa Emperor, Hirohito, from December 25, 1926 through January 7, 1989.The Shōwa period was longer than the reign of any previous Japanese emperor...

 that corresponded with the Emperor's reign, and was made the Emperor's own name upon his death.

At the start of his reign, Japan was already one of the great powers – the ninth largest economy in the world after Italy, the third largest naval country
Washington Naval Treaty
The Washington Naval Treaty, also known as the Five-Power Treaty, was an attempt to cap and limit, and "prevent 'further' costly escalation" of the naval arms race that had begun after World War I between various International powers, each of which had significant naval fleets. The treaty was...

, and one of the five permanent members of the council of the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

. He was the head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 under the limitation of the Constitution of the Empire of Japan during Japan's imperial expansion, militarization, and involvement in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. After the war, he was not prosecuted for war crimes
Japanese war crimes
Japanese war crimes occurred during the period of Japanese imperialism, primarily during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. Some of the incidents have also been described as an Asian Holocaust and Japanese war atrocities...

 as others were. During the postwar period
Postwar Japan
Postwar Japan refers to the period in Japanese history immediately following the end of World War II in 1945 to the present day. Before and during the war Japan was known as an empire but is now officially the .-Occupation and democratization:...

, he became the symbol of the new state.

Early life

Born in the Aoyama Palace in Tokyo, Prince Hirohito was the first son of Crown Prince
Crown Prince
A crown prince or crown princess is the heir or heiress apparent to the throne in a royal or imperial monarchy. The wife of a crown prince is also titled crown princess....

 Yoshihito (the future Emperor Taishō
Emperor Taishō
The was the 123rd emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 30 July 1912, until his death in 1926.The Emperor’s personal name was . According to Japanese customs, the emperor has no name during his reign and is only called the Emperor...

) and Crown Princess Sadako (the future Empress Teimei). His childhood title was . In 1908, he began elementary studies at the Gakushūin
Gakushuin
The or Peers School is an educational institution founded in Tokyo in 1877, during the Meiji period, for the education of the children of the Japanese aristocracy, though it eventually also opened its doors to the offspring of extremely wealthy commoners...

 (Peers School).

Upon the death of his grandfather, Emperor Meiji
Emperor Meiji
The or was the 122nd emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 3 February 1867 until his death...

, on July 30, 1912, Hirohito's father, Yoshihito succeeded him on the throne, he thus became the heir apparent. At the same time, he was formally commissioned in both the army and in the navy as a second lieutenant and ensign, respectively, and was also decorated with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Chrysanthemum
Order of the Chrysanthemum
is Japan's highest order. The Grand Cordon of the Order was established in 1876 by Emperor Meiji of Japan; the collar of the Order was added on January 4, 1888. Although technically the order has only one class, it can either be awarded with collar , or with grand cordon...

. In 1914, he was promoted to the ranks of lieutenant in the army and sub-lieutenant in the navy, then to captain and lieutenant in 1916. He was formally proclaimed Crown Prince and heir apparent
Heir apparent
An heir apparent or heiress apparent is a person who is first in line of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting, except by a change in the rules of succession....

 on November 2, 1916; but an investiture ceremony was not strictly necessary to confirm this status as heir to the throne.

Prince Hirohito attended the Y.M.C.A. of Gakushūin
Gakushuin
The or Peers School is an educational institution founded in Tokyo in 1877, during the Meiji period, for the education of the children of the Japanese aristocracy, though it eventually also opened its doors to the offspring of extremely wealthy commoners...

 Peers' School from 1908 to 1914 and then a special institute for the crown prince (Tōgū-gogakumonsho) from 1914 to 1921.

In 1920, Prince Hirohito was promoted to the rank of Major in the army and Lieutenant Commander in the navy. In 1921, Prince Hirohito took a six month tour of Europe, including the United Kingdom, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium, becoming the first Japanese crown prince to travel abroad. After his return to Japan, he became Regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 of Japan (Sesshō
Sessho and Kampaku
In Japan, was a title given to a regent who was named to assist either a child emperor before his coming of age, or an empress. The was theoretically a sort of chief advisor for the emperor, but was the title of both first secretary and regent who assists an adult emperor. During the Heian era,...

) on November 29, 1921, in place of his ailing father who was affected by a mental illness.

During Prince Hirohito's regency, a number of important events occurred:

In the Four-Power Treaty
Four-Power Treaty
The ' was a treaty signed by the United States, Great Britain, France and Japan at the Washington Naval Conference on 13 December 1921. It was partly a follow-on to the Lansing-Ishii Treaty, signed between the U.S...

 on Insular Possessions signed on December 13, 1921, Japan, the United States, Britain and France agreed to recognize the status quo in the Pacific, and Japan and Britain agreed to terminate formally the Anglo-Japanese Alliance
Anglo-Japanese Alliance
The first was signed in London at what is now the Lansdowne Club, on January 30, 1902, by Lord Lansdowne and Hayashi Tadasu . A diplomatic milestone for its ending of Britain's splendid isolation, the alliance was renewed and extended in scope twice, in 1905 and 1911, before its demise in 1921...

. The Washington Naval Treaty
Washington Naval Treaty
The Washington Naval Treaty, also known as the Five-Power Treaty, was an attempt to cap and limit, and "prevent 'further' costly escalation" of the naval arms race that had begun after World War I between various International powers, each of which had significant naval fleets. The treaty was...

 was signed on February 6, 1922. Japan completed withdrawal of troops from the Siberian Intervention
Siberian Intervention
The ', or the Siberian Expedition, of 1918–1922 was the dispatch of troops of the Entente powers to the Russian Maritime Provinces as part of a larger effort by the western powers and Japan to support White Russian forces against the Bolshevik Red Army during the Russian Civil War...

 on August 28, 1922. The Great Kantō earthquake devastated Tokyo on September 1, 1923. On December 27, 1923, communist
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 Daisuke Namba attempted to assassinate him in the Toranomon Incident
Toranomon Incident
The was an assassination attempt on the then Prince Regent Hirohito of Japan on 27 December 1923 by communist agitator Daisuke Namba.The incident took place at the Toranomon intersection between the Akasaka Palace and the Diet of Japan in downtown Tokyo, Japan...

 but his attempt failed and he was executed. The General Election Law
General Election Law
The ' was a law passed in Taishō period Japan, extending suffrage to all males aged 25 and over. It was proposed by the Kenseito political party and it was passed by the Diet of Japan on 5 May 1925.-Background:...

 was passed on May 5, 1925, giving all men above age 25 the right to vote.

In 1923, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the army and Commander in the navy, and to army Colonel and Navy Captain in 1925.

Marriage and issue

Prince Hirohito married his distant cousin Princess Nagako Kuni (the future Empress Kōjun
Empress Kojun
' was empress consort of Emperor Hirohito of Japan. Born , she was the mother of the present Emperor .Her posthumous name is Kōjun, which means "fragrant purity"...

), the eldest daughter of Prince Kuni Kuniyoshi
Prince Kuni Kuniyoshi
was a member of the Japanese imperial family and a field marshal in the Imperial Japanese Army during the Meiji and Taishō periods. He was the father of Empress Kōjun , and therefore, the maternal grandfather of the present emperor of Japan, Akihito.-Early life:Prince Kuni Kuniyoshi was born in...

, on January 26, 1924. They had two sons and five daughters:
  1. Princess Shigeko
    Shigeko Higashikuni
    was the wife of Prince Higashikuni Morihiro and eldest daughter of Emperor Shōwa and Empress Kōjun. As such, she was the elder sister to the present Emperor of Japan, Emperor Akihito.-Biography:...

    , childhood appellation , December 9, 1925 – July 23, 1961; m. October 10, 1943 Prince Higashikuni Morihiro
    Higashikuni Morihiro
    , formerly was a member of a branch line of the Japanese imperial family and husband of the Emperor Hirohito's eldest daughter.- Early life :The eldest son and heir of Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni, Prince Morihiro had the distinction of being a grandson of Emperor Meiji and simultaneously both a...

     (May 6, 1916 – February 1, 1969), the eldest son of Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko
    Prince Higashikuni
    was the 43rd Prime Minister of Japan from 17 August 1945 to 9 October 1945 for a period of 54 days. An uncle of Emperor Hirohito twice over, Prince Higashikuni was the only member of the Japanese imperial family to head a cabinet...

     and his wife, Princess Toshiko, the eighth daughter of Emperor Meiji
    Emperor Meiji
    The or was the 122nd emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 3 February 1867 until his death...

    ; lost status as imperial family members, October 14, 1947;
  2. Princess Sachiko, childhood appellation , September 10, 1927 – March 8, 1928;
  3. Princess Kazuko
    Kazuko Takatsukasa
    -External links:***...

    , childhood appellation , September 30, 1929 – May 28, 1989; m. May 5, 1950 Takatsukasa Toshimichi
    Takatsukasa Toshimichi
    , son of duke Nobusuke, was a Japanese researcher of trains. He worked at TEI Park, a museum in Tokyo. He married the third daughter of Hirohito, Princess Kazuko; they adopted a son from Ogyū-Matsudaira, Naotake.-References:* Japanese Wikipedia...

     (August 26, 1923 – January 27, 1966), eldest son of Nobusuke
    Takatsukasa Nobusuke
    Duke , son of Hiromichi, was a Japanese politician of the Meiji period who served as a member of House of Peers in the Diet of Japan. Nobuhiro was his brother, and Toshimichi was his son.-References:* Japanese Wikipedia...

     [peer]; and adopted a son Naotake.
  4. Princess Atsuko
    Atsuko Ikeda
    , is the wife of Marquis Takamasa Ikeda and fourth daughter of Emperor Shōwa and Empress Kōjun. As such, she is the older sister to the present Emperor of Japan, Emperor Akihito.- Biography :...

    , childhood appellation , b. March 7, 1931; m. October 10, 1952 Ikeda Takamasa (b. October 21, 1927), eldest son of former Marquis Nobumasa Ikeda;
  5. Crown Prince Akihito
    Akihito
    is the current , the 125th emperor of his line according to Japan's traditional order of succession. He acceded to the throne in 1989.-Name:In Japan, the emperor is never referred to by his given name, but rather is referred to as "His Imperial Majesty the Emperor" which may be shortened to . In...

    , childhood appellation , the present Emperor of Japan
    Emperor of Japan
    The Emperor of Japan is, according to the 1947 Constitution of Japan, "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people." He is a ceremonial figurehead under a form of constitutional monarchy and is head of the Japanese Imperial Family with functions as head of state. He is also the highest...

    , b. December 23, 1933; m. April 10, 1959 Shōda Michiko
    Empress Michiko of Japan
    Empress Michiko of Japan is the wife and consort of Emperor Akihito, the current monarch of Japan. She was the first commoner to marry into the Japanese Imperial Family. As crown princess and later as empress consort, she has become the most visible and widely-travelled imperial consort in...

     (the present Empress of Japan, b. October 20, 1934), elder daughter of Shōda Hidesaburo, former president and chairman of Nisshin Flour Milling Company;
  6. Prince Masahito
    Prince Hitachi
    is a member of the Imperial House of Japan and the younger brother of current Emperor Akihito. He is the second son and sixth born child of HIM Emperor Shōwa and Empress Kōjun and is fourth in line to the Chrysanthemum throne...

    , childhood appellation , b. November 28, 1935, titled since October 1, 1964; m. September 30, 1964 Tsugaru Hanako (b. July 19, 1940), fourth daughter of former Count Tsugaru Yoshitaka;
  7. Princess Takako
    Takako Shimazu
    -Notes:...

    , childhood appellation , b. March 3, 1939; m. March 3, 1960 Shimazu Hisanaga, son of former Count Shimazu Hisanori and has a son Yoshihisa.

The daughters who lived to adulthood left the imperial family as a result of the American reforms of the Japanese imperial household in October 1947 (in the case of Princess Higashikuni) or under the terms of the Imperial Household Law
Imperial Household Law
is a statute in Japanese law that governs the line of imperial succession, the membership of the imperial family, and several other matters pertaining to the administration of the Imperial Household.-Passage of the Law:...

 at the moment of their subsequent marriages (in the cases of Princesses Kazuko, Atsuko, and Takako).

Ascension

On December 25, 1926, Hirohito assumed the throne upon the death of his father Yoshihito; and the Crown Prince was said to have received the succession (senso). The Taishō era
Taisho period
The , or Taishō era, is a period in the history of Japan dating from July 30, 1912 to December 25, 1926, coinciding with the reign of the Taishō Emperor. The health of the new emperor was weak, which prompted the shift in political power from the old oligarchic group of elder statesmen to the Diet...

 ceased at once and a new era, the Shōwa era
Showa period
The , or Shōwa era, is the period of Japanese history corresponding to the reign of the Shōwa Emperor, Hirohito, from December 25, 1926 through January 7, 1989.The Shōwa period was longer than the reign of any previous Japanese emperor...

 (Enlightened Peace), was proclaimed. The deceased Emperor was posthumously renamed Emperor Taishō
Emperor Taishō
The was the 123rd emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 30 July 1912, until his death in 1926.The Emperor’s personal name was . According to Japanese customs, the emperor has no name during his reign and is only called the Emperor...

 a few days later. Following Japanese custom, the new Emperor was never referred
Naming taboo
Naming taboo is a cultural taboo against speaking or writing the given names of exalted persons in China and neighboring nations in the ancient Chinese cultural sphere.-Kinds of naming taboo:...

 to by his given name, but rather was referred to simply as , which may be shortened to . In writing, the Emperor was also referred to formally as .

In November 1928, the Emperor's ascension was confirmed in ceremonies
Enthronement of the Japanese Emperor
The enthronement of the Emperor of Japan is an ancient ceremony which marks the accession of a new ruler to the Chrysanthemum Throne, in the world's oldest continuous hereditary monarchy. The ritual is not a coronation, as no crown or other headgear is bestowed upon the emperor...

 (sokui) which are conventionally identified as "enthronement" and "coronation" (Shōwa no tairei-shiki); but this formal event would have been more accurately described as a public confirmation that his Imperial Majesty possesses the Japanese Imperial Regalia
Imperial Regalia of Japan
The , also known as the Three Sacred Treasures of Japan, consist of the sword Kusanagi , the mirror Yata no Kagami , and the jewel Yasakani no Magatama...

, also called the Three Sacred Treasures, which have been handed down through the centuries.

Early reign

The first part of Hirohito's reign as sovereign took place against a background of financial crisis and increasing military power within the government, through both legal and extralegal means. The Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

 and Imperial Japanese Navy
Imperial Japanese Navy
The Imperial Japanese Navy was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1869 until 1947, when it was dissolved following Japan's constitutional renunciation of the use of force as a means of settling international disputes...

 had held veto
Veto
A veto, Latin for "I forbid", is the power of an officer of the state to unilaterally stop an official action, especially enactment of a piece of legislation...

 power over the formation of cabinets since 1900, and between 1921 and 1944 there were no fewer than 64 incidents of political violence.

Hirohito narrowly missed assassination by a hand grenade
Hand grenade
A hand grenade is any small bomb that can be thrown by hand. Hand grenades are classified into three categories, explosive grenades, chemical and gas grenades. Explosive grenades are the most commonly used in modern warfare, and are designed to detonate after impact or after a set amount of time...

 thrown by a Korean independence activist, Lee Bong-chang
Lee Bong-chang
Lee Bong-chang was a Korean independence activist during the Japanese occupation of Korea. In 1932, he attempted unsuccessfully to assassinate Japanese emperor Hirohito with a hand grenade, which became known as the Sakuradamon Incident.- Biography :Born in Hanseongbu to Lee Jin-gyu , Lee...

 in Tokyo on January 9, 1932, in the Sakuradamon Incident
Sakuradamon Incident
The Sakuradamon Incident or Patriotic Deed of Lee Bong-chang was an assassination attempt against Emperor Hirohito of the Empire of Japan by a Korean independence activist, Lee Bong-chang in Tokyo on 9 January 1932....

.

Another notable case was the assassination of moderate Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Japan
The is the head of government of Japan. He is appointed by the Emperor of Japan after being designated by the Diet from among its members, and must enjoy the confidence of the House of Representatives to remain in office...

 Inukai Tsuyoshi
Inukai Tsuyoshi
was a Japanese politician and the 29th Prime Minister of Japan from 13 December 1931 to 15 May 1932.-Early life:Inukai was born to a former samurai family of the Niwase Domain, in Niwase village, Bizen Province , and was a graduate of Keio Gijuku in Tokyo. In his early career, he worked as a...

 in 1932, which marked the end of civilian control of the military
Civilian control of the military
Civilian control of the military is a doctrine in military and political science that places ultimate responsibility for a country's strategic decision-making in the hands of the civilian political leadership, rather than professional military officers. One author, paraphrasing Samuel P...

. This was followed by an attempted military coup in February 1936, the February 26 incident
February 26 Incident
The was an attempted coup d'état in Japan, from February 26 to 29, 1936 carried out by 1,483 troops of the Imperial Japanese Army. Several leading politicians were killed and the center of Tokyo was briefly occupied by the rebelling troops...

, mounted by junior Army officers of the Kōdōha faction who had the sympathy of many high-ranking officers including Prince Chichibu
Prince Chichibu
, also known as Prince Yasuhito, was the second son of Emperor Taishō and a younger brother of the Emperor Shōwa. As a member of the Imperial House of Japan, he was the patron of several sporting, medical, and international exchange organizations...

 (Yasuhito) one of the Emperor's brothers. This revolt was occasioned by a loss of ground by the militarist faction in Diet
Diet of Japan
The is Japan's bicameral legislature. It is composed of a lower house, called the House of Representatives, and an upper house, called the House of Councillors. Both houses of the Diet are directly elected under a parallel voting system. In addition to passing laws, the Diet is formally...

 elections. The coup resulted in the murder of a number of high government and Army officials.

When Chief Aide-de-camp
Aide-de-camp to the Emperor of Japan
In Japan, the is a special military official whose primary duties are to report military affairs to the Emperor and act as a close attendant...

 Shigeru Honjō
Shigeru Honjo
-Notes:...

 informed him of the revolt, the Emperor immediately ordered that it be put down and referred to the officers as "rebels" (bōto). Shortly thereafter, he ordered Army Minister
Ministry of War of Japan
The , more popularly known as the Ministry of War of Japan, was cabinet-level ministry in the Empire of Japan charged with the administrative affairs of the Imperial Japanese Army...

 Yoshiyuki Kawashima to suppress the rebellion within the hour, and he asked reports from Honjō every thirty minutes. The next day, when told by Honjō that little progress was being made by the high command in quashing the rebels, the Emperor told him "I Myself, will lead the Konoe Division
Imperial Guard of Japan
The Japanese is an organization which is dedicated to protection of the Emperor of Japan and his family, palaces and other imperial properties. Following the end of World War II the traditional Guard, which also served as a unit in the Imperial Japanese Army, was dissolved and in 1947 a civil...

 and subdue them." The rebellion was suppressed following his orders on February 29.

Sino-Japanese War and World War II

Entering World War II

Prior to World War II, Japan invaded Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

 in 1931 and the rest of China in 1937 (the Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

). Primary sources reveal that Hirohito never really had any objection to the invasion of China in 1937, which was recommended to him by his chiefs of staff and prime minister Fumimaro Konoe
Fumimaro Konoe
Prince was a politician in the Empire of Japan who served as the 34th, 38th and 39th Prime Minister of Japan and founder/leader of the Taisei Yokusankai.- Early life :...

. His main concern seems to have been the possibility of an attack by the Soviet Union in the north. His questions to his chief of staff, Prince Kan'in, and minister of the army, Hajime Sugiyama, were mostly about the time it could take to crush the Chinese resistance.

According to Akira Fujiwara, Hirohito personally ratified the proposal by the Japanese Army to remove the constraints of international law on the treatment of Chinese prisoners on August 5. Moreover, the works of Yoshiaki Yoshimi
Yoshiaki Yoshimi
is a professor of Japanese modern history at Chuo University in Tokyo, Japan. Yoshimi is a founder member of the Center for Research and Documentation on Japan's war responsibility...

 and Seiya Matsuno show that the Emperor authorized, by specific orders (rinsanmei), the use of chemical weapons against the Chinese. During the invasion of Wuhan
Wuhan
Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province, People's Republic of China, and is the most populous city in Central China. It lies at the east of the Jianghan Plain, and the intersection of the middle reaches of the Yangtze and Han rivers...

, from August to October 1938, the Emperor authorized the use of toxic gas on 375 separate occasions, despite the resolution adopted by the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 on May 14 condemning the use of toxic gas by the Japanese Army.

During World War II, ostensibly under Hirohito's leadership, Japan formed alliances with Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 and Fascist Italy
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...

, forming the Axis Powers
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

. In July 1939, the Emperor quarreled with one of his brothers, Prince Chichibu
Prince Chichibu
, also known as Prince Yasuhito, was the second son of Emperor Taishō and a younger brother of the Emperor Shōwa. As a member of the Imperial House of Japan, he was the patron of several sporting, medical, and international exchange organizations...

, who was visiting him three times a week to support the treaty, and reprimanded the army minister Seishirō Itagaki. However, after the success of the Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

 in Europe, the Emperor consented to the alliance.

On September 4, 1941, the Japanese Cabinet met to consider war plans prepared by Imperial General Headquarters, and decided that:
The objectives to be obtained were clearly defined: a free hand to continue with the conquest of China and Southeast Asia, no increase in US or British military forces in the region, and cooperation by the West "in the acquisition of goods needed by our Empire."

On September 5, Prime Minister Konoe informally submitted a draft of the decision to the Emperor, just one day in advance of the Imperial Conference at which it would be formally implemented. On this evening, the Emperor had a meeting with the chief of staff of the army, Sugiyama, chief of staff of the navy, Osami Nagano, and Prime Minister Konoe. The Emperor questioned Sugiyama about the chances of success of an open war with the Occident
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

. As Sugiyama answered positively, the Emperor scolded him:
Chief of Naval General Staff Admiral Nagano, a former Navy Minister and vastly experienced, later told a trusted colleague, "I have never seen the Emperor reprimand us in such a manner, his face turning red and raising his voice."

According to the traditional view, Emperor Shōwa was deeply concerned by the decision to place "war preparations first and diplomatic negotiations second", and he announced his intention to break with tradition. At the Imperial Conference on the following day, the Emperor directly questioned the chiefs of the Army and Navy general staffs, which was quite an unprecedented action.

Nevertheless, all speakers at the Imperial Conference were united in favor of war rather than diplomacy. Baron Yoshimichi Hara
Yoshimichi Hara
Yoshimichi Hara was a Japanese statesman and the president of the Japanese privy council during World War II, from June 1940 until his death. Hara was always reluctant to use military force. In particular, he protested against the outbreak of the Pacific war at Gozen Kaigi...

, President of the Imperial Council and the Emperor's representative, then questioned them closely, producing replies to the effect that war would only be considered as a last resort from some, and silence from others.

At this point, the Emperor astonished all present by addressing the conference personally, and in breaking the tradition of Imperial silence left his advisors "struck with awe." (Prime Minister Konoe's description of the event.) Emperor Shōwa stressed the need for peaceful resolution of international problems, expressed regret at his ministers' failure to respond to Baron Hara's probings, and recited a poem written by his grandfather, Emperor Meiji which, he said, he had read "over and over again":
Recovering from their shock, the ministers hastened to express their profound wish to explore all possible peaceful avenues. The Emperor's presentation was in line with his practical role as leader of the Shinto
Shinto
or Shintoism, also kami-no-michi, is the indigenous spirituality of Japan and the Japanese people. It is a set of practices, to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written...

 religion.

At this time, Army Imperial Headquarters was continually communicating with the Imperial household in detail about the military situation. On October 8, Sugiyama signed a 47-page report to the Emperor (sōjōan) outlining in minute detail plans for the advance in Southeast Asia. During the third week of October, Sugiyama gave the Emperor a 51-page document, "Materials in Reply to the Throne", about the operational outlook for the war.

As war preparations continued, Prime Minister Konoe found himself more and more isolated and gave his resignation on October 16. He justified himself to his chief cabinet secretary, Kenji Tomita :
The army and the navy recommended the candidacy of Prince Higashikuni
Prince Higashikuni
was the 43rd Prime Minister of Japan from 17 August 1945 to 9 October 1945 for a period of 54 days. An uncle of Emperor Hirohito twice over, Prince Higashikuni was the only member of the Japanese imperial family to head a cabinet...

, one of the Emperor's uncles. According to the Shōwa "Monologue", written after the war, the Emperor then said that if the war were to begin while a member of the imperial house was prime minister, the imperial house would have to carry the responsibility and he was opposed to this.

Instead, the Emperor chose the hard-line General Hideki Tōjō
Hideki Tōjō
Hideki Tōjō was a general of the Imperial Japanese Army , the leader of the Taisei Yokusankai, and the 40th Prime Minister of Japan during most of World War II, from 17 October 1941 to 22 July 1944...

, who was known for his devotion to the imperial institution, and asked him to make a policy review of what had been sanctioned by the Imperial Conferences. On November 2, Tōjō, Sugiyama and Nagano reported to the Emperor that the review of eleven points had been in vain. Emperor Shōwa gave his consent to the war and then asked: "Are you going to provide justification for the war?" The decision for war (against United States) was presented for approval to Hirohito (Emperor Shōwa) by General Tōjō, Naval Minister Admiral Shigetarō Shimada
Shigetaro Shimada
was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. He also served as Navy Minister-Biography:A native of Tokyo, Shimada graduated from the 32nd class of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy in 1904...

, and Japanese Foreign Minister Shigenori Tōgō
Shigenori Togo
was Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Empire of Japan at both the start and the end of the Japanese-American conflict during World War II...

.

On November 3, Nagano explained in detail the Pearl Harbor attack plan to the Emperor. On November 5, Emperor Shōwa approved in imperial conference the operations plan for a war against the Occident and had many meetings with the military and Tōjō until the end of the month. On December 1, an Imperial Conference sanctioned the "War against the United States, United Kingdom and the Kingdom of the Netherlands." On December 8 (December 7 in Hawaii) 1941, in simultaneous attacks, Japanese forces struck at the US Fleet in Pearl Harbor
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

 and in the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 and began the invasion of Malaysia.

With the nation fully committed to the war, the Emperor took a keen interest in military progress and sought to boost morale. According to Akira Yamada and Akira Fujiwara, the Emperor made major interventions in some military operations. For example, he pressed Sugiyama four times, on January 13 and 21 and February 9 and 26, to increase troop strength and launch an attack on Bataan
Bataan
Bataan is a province of the Philippines occupying the whole of the Bataan Peninsula on Luzon. The province is part of the Central Luzon region. The capital of Bataan is Balanga City and it is bordered by the provinces of Zambales and Pampanga to the north...

. On February 9, March 19 and May 29, the Emperor ordered the Army Chief of staff to examine the possibilities for an attack on Chungking, which led to Operation Gogo.

As the tide of war gradually began to turn (around late 1942 and early 1943), some people argue that the flow of information to the palace gradually began to bear less and less relation to reality, while others suggest that the Emperor worked closely with Prime Minister Tōjō, continued to be well and accurately briefed by the military, and knew Japan's military position precisely right up to the point of surrender. The chief of staff of the General Affairs section of the Prime Minister's office, Shuichi Inada, remarked to Tōjō's private secretary, Sadao Akamatsu:
In the first six months of war, all the major engagements had been victories. As the tide turned in the summer of 1942 with the battle of Midway
Battle of Midway
The Battle of Midway is widely regarded as the most important naval battle of the Pacific Campaign of World War II. Between 4 and 7 June 1942, approximately one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea and six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States Navy decisively defeated...

 and the landing of the American forces on Guadalcanal
Guadalcanal
Guadalcanal is a tropical island in the South-Western Pacific. The largest island in the Solomons, it was discovered by the Spanish expedition of Alvaro de Mendaña in 1568...

 and Tulagi
Tulagi
Tulagi, less commonly Tulaghi, is a small island in the Solomon Islands, just off the south coast of Florida Island. The town of the same name on the island Tulagi, less commonly Tulaghi, is a small island (5.5 km by 1 km) in the Solomon Islands, just off the south coast of Florida...

 in August, the Emperor recognized the potential danger and pushed the navy and the army for greater efforts. In September 1942, Emperor Hirohito signed the Imperial Rescript condemning to death American Fliers: Lieutenants Dean E. Hallmark and William G. Farrow and Corporal Harold A. Spatz and commuting to life sentences: Lieutenants Robert J. Meder
Robert J. Meder
Robert John Meder was a member of the "Doolittle Raiders," which were the first American forces to attack the Islands of Japan in World War II....

, Chase Nielsen
Chase Nielsen
Chase Jay Nielsen was a career officer in the U.S. Air Force. He is notable as having participated in the Doolittle Raid in 1942 and being one of the four surviving prisoners of war from that raid....

, Robert L. Hite and George Barr and Corporal Jacob DeShazer
Jacob DeShazer
Jacob Daniel DeShazer participated in the Doolittle Raid as a staff sergeant and later became a missionary in Japan.-Early years:...

. When informed in August 1943 by Sugiyama that the American advance through the Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands is a sovereign state in Oceania, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. It covers a land mass of . The capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal...

 could not be stopped, the Emperor asked his chief of staff to consider other places to attack : "When and where on are you ever going to put up a good fight? And when are you ever going to fight a decisive battle?" On August 24, the Emperor reprimanded Nagano and on September 11, he ordered Sugiyama to work with the Navy to implement better military preparation and give adequate supply to soldiers fighting in Rabaul
Rabaul
Rabaul is a township in East New Britain province, Papua New Guinea. The town was the provincial capital and most important settlement in the province until it was destroyed in 1994 by falling ash of a volcanic eruption. During the eruption, ash was sent thousands of metres into the air and the...

.

Throughout the following years, the sequence of drawn and then decisively lost engagements was reported to the public as a series of great victories. Only gradually did it become apparent to the people in the home islands that the situation was very grim. U.S. air raids on the cities of Japan starting in 1944 made a mockery of the unending tales of victory. Later that year, with the downfall of Hideki Tōjō's government, two other prime ministers were appointed to continue the war effort, Kuniaki Koiso
Kuniaki Koiso
- Notes :...

 and Kantarō Suzuki
Kantaro Suzuki
Baron was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy, member and final leader of the Taisei Yokusankai and 42nd Prime Minister of Japan from 7 April-17 August 1945.-Early life:...

—each with the formal approval of the Emperor. Both were unsuccessful and Japan was nearing defeat.

Civilian deaths and suicides

As the tide of war turned against the Japanese, Hirohito personally found the threat of defection of Japanese civilians disturbing because there was a risk that live civilians would be surprised by generous U.S. treatment. Native Japanese sympathizers would hand the Americans a powerful propaganda weapon to subvert the "fighting spirit" of Japan in radio broadcasts. At the end of June 1944 during the Battle of Saipan
Battle of Saipan
The Battle of Saipan was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands from 15 June-9 July 1944. The Allied invasion fleet embarking the expeditionary forces left Pearl Harbor on 5 June 1944, the day before Operation Overlord in Europe was...

, Hirohito sent out the first imperial order encouraging all Japanese civilians to commit suicide rather than be taken prisoner.

The Imperial order authorized Lieutenant General Yoshitsugu Saito
Yoshitsugu Saito
- Notes :...

, the commander of Saipan
Saipan
Saipan is the largest island of the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands , a chain of 15 tropical islands belonging to the Marianas archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean with a total area of . The 2000 census population was 62,392...

, to promise civilians who died there an equal spiritual status in the afterlife with those of soldiers perishing in combat. General Tojo
Hideki Tōjō
Hideki Tōjō was a general of the Imperial Japanese Army , the leader of the Taisei Yokusankai, and the 40th Prime Minister of Japan during most of World War II, from 17 October 1941 to 22 July 1944...

 intercepted the order on 30 June and delayed its sending, but it was issued anyway the next day. By the time the Marines
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 advanced on the north tip of the island, from 8–12 July, most of the damage had been done. Over 10,000 Japanese civilians committed suicide in the last days of the battle to take the offered privileged place in the afterlife, some jumping from "Suicide Cliff" and "Banzai Cliff".

Emperor and atomic bomb

Japan was doing basic research on the atomic bomb, However Hirohito was opposed to the atomic bomb plan from the beginning. The Emperor thought that use of an atomic bomb would bring about the extermination of mankind.
Research of the Japanese atomic bomb was finally abolished by command of the Emperor. In August 15, 1945, he expressed his anger towards the use of an atomic bomb by Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War
Gyokuon-hoso
The , lit. "Jewel Voice Broadcast", was the radio broadcast in which Japanese emperor Hirohito read out the , announcing to the Japanese people that the Japanese Government had accepted the Potsdam Declaration demanding the unconditional surrender of the Japanese military at the end of World War II...

. However, in his first ever press conference given in Tokyo in 1975, when he was asked what he thought of the bombing of Hiroshima, the Emperor answered: "It's very regrettable that nuclear bombs were dropped and I feel sorry for the citizens of Hiroshima but it couldn't be helped (Shikata ga nai
Shikata ga nai
, , is a Japanese language phrase meaning "it can't be helped" or "nothing can be done about it". , is an alternative.-Cultural associations:The phrase has been used by many western writers to describe the ability of the Japanese people to maintain dignity in the face of an unavoidable tragedy or...

) because that happened in wartime."

Last days of the war

In early 1945, in the wake of the loss of Leyte
Battle of Leyte
The Battle of Leyte in the Pacific campaign of World War II was the invasion and conquest of the island of Leyte in the Philippines by American and Filipino guerrilla forces under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, who fought against the Imperial Japanese Army in the Philippines led by...

, Emperor Hirohito began a series of individual meetings with senior government officials to consider the progress of the war. All but ex-Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe advised continuing the war. Konoe feared a communist revolution even more than defeat in war and urged a negotiated surrender. In February 1945, during the first private audience with the Emperor which he had been allowed in three years, Konoe advised Hirohito to begin negotiations to end World War II. According to Grand Chamberlain Hisanori Fujita
Hisanori Fujita
was a Japanese naval officer, and after retiring from the navy was an assistant to the Emperor of Japan during World War II.Fujita graduated from the Japanese Naval Staff College, and became Commander of the Japanese battleship Kirishima on December 1, 1924. In 1929, he attained the rank of...

, the Emperor, still looking for a tennozan (a great victory) in order to provide a stronger bargaining position, firmly rejected Konoe's recommendation.

With each passing week a great victory became less likely. In April the Soviet Union issued notice that it would not renew its neutrality agreement. Japan's ally Germany surrendered in early May 1945. In June, the cabinet reassessed the war strategy, only to decide more firmly than ever on a fight to the last man. This strategy was officially affirmed at a brief Imperial Council meeting, at which, as was normal, the Emperor did not speak.

The following day, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal
Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal of Japan
The was an administrative post not of Cabinet rank in the government of the Empire of Japan. The Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal was responsible for keeping the Privy Seal of Japan and State Seal of Japan....

 Kōichi Kido
Koichi Kido
Marquis served as Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal from 1940 to 1945, and was the closest advisor to Emperor Showa throughout World War II.Kido was the grandson of Kido Takayoshi, one of the leaders of the Meiji Restoration...

 prepared a draft document which summarized the hopeless military situation and proposed a negotiated settlement. According to some commentators, the Emperor privately approved of it and authorized Kido to circulate it discreetly amongst less hawkish cabinet members; others suggest that the Emperor was indecisive, and that the delay cost many tens of thousands of Japanese and Allied lives. Extremists in Japan were also calling for a death-before-dishonor mass suicide, modeled on the "47 Ronin
Forty-seven Ronin
The revenge of the , also known as the Forty-seven Samurai, the Akō vendetta, or the took place in Japan at the start of the 18th century...

" incident. By mid-June 1945, the cabinet had agreed to approach the Soviet Union to act as a mediator for a negotiated surrender, but not before Japan's bargaining position had been improved by repulse of the anticipated Allied invasion of mainland Japan.

On June 22, the Emperor met with his ministers, saying "I desire that concrete plans to end the war, unhampered by existing policy, be speedily studied and that efforts be made to implement them." The attempt to negotiate a peace via the Soviet Union came to nothing. There was always the threat that extremists would carry out a coup or foment other violence. On July 26, 1945, the Allies issued the Potsdam Declaration
Potsdam Declaration
The Potsdam Declaration or the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender is a statement calling for the Surrender of Japan in World War II. On July 26, 1945, United States President Harry S...

 demanding unconditional surrender
Unconditional surrender
Unconditional surrender is a surrender without conditions, in which no guarantees are given to the surrendering party. In modern times unconditional surrenders most often include guarantees provided by international law. Announcing that only unconditional surrender is acceptable puts psychological...

. The Japanese government council, the Big Six, considered that option and recommended to the Emperor that it be accepted only if one to four conditions were agreed, including a guarantee of the Emperor's continued position in Japanese society
Culture of Japan
The culture of Japan has evolved greatly over the millennia, from the country's prehistoric Jōmon period to its contemporary hybrid culture, which combines influences from Asia, Europe and North America...

. The Emperor decided not to surrender.

On August 9, 1945, following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the first on August 6, 1945, and the second on August 9, 1945. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date.For six months...

 and the Soviet declaration of war, Emperor Hirohito told Kido to "quickly control the situation" because "the Soviet Union has declared war and today began hostilities against us." On August 10, the cabinet drafted an "Imperial Rescript ending the War" following the Emperor's indications that the declaration did not compromise any demand which prejudiced the prerogatives of His Majesty as a Sovereign Ruler.

On August 12, 1945, the Emperor informed the imperial family of his decision to surrender. One of his uncles, Prince Asaka
Prince Asaka
of Japan, was the founder of a collateral branch of the Japanese imperial family and a career officer in the Imperial Japanese Army. Son-in-law of Emperor Meiji and uncle by marriage of Emperor Shōwa , Prince Asaka was commander of Japanese forces in the final assault on Nanking , then the capital...

, asked whether the war would be continued if the kokutai
Kokutai
Kokutai is a politically loaded word in the Japanese language, translatable as "sovereign", "national identity; national essence; national character" or "national polity; body politic; national entity; basis for the Emperor's sovereignty; Japanese constitution". "Sovereign" is perhaps the most...

(national polity) could not be preserved. The Emperor simply replied "of course." On August 14, the Suzuki government notified the Allies that it had accepted the Potsdam Declaration
Potsdam Declaration
The Potsdam Declaration or the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender is a statement calling for the Surrender of Japan in World War II. On July 26, 1945, United States President Harry S...

. On August 15, a recording of the Emperor's surrender speech
Gyokuon-hoso
The , lit. "Jewel Voice Broadcast", was the radio broadcast in which Japanese emperor Hirohito read out the , announcing to the Japanese people that the Japanese Government had accepted the Potsdam Declaration demanding the unconditional surrender of the Japanese military at the end of World War II...

 was broadcast over the radio (the first time the Emperor was heard on the radio by the Japanese people) signifying the unconditional surrender of Japan's military forces. The historic broadcast is known as the Gyokuon-hōsō
Gyokuon-hoso
The , lit. "Jewel Voice Broadcast", was the radio broadcast in which Japanese emperor Hirohito read out the , announcing to the Japanese people that the Japanese Government had accepted the Potsdam Declaration demanding the unconditional surrender of the Japanese military at the end of World War II...

("Jewel Voice Broadcast").

Objecting to the surrender, die-hard army fanatics attempted a coup d'état
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

 by conducting a full military assault and takeover of the Imperial Palace. Known as the Kyūjō Incident
Kyujo Incident
The ' was an attempted military coup d'état in Japan at the end of the Second World War. It happened on the night of 14 August 1945 – 15 August 1945, just prior to announcement of Japan's surrender to the Allies...

, the physical recording of the surrender speech was hidden and preserved overnight, and the coup was quickly crushed on the Emperor's order.

The surrender speech noted that "the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage" and ordered the Japanese to "endure the unendurable" in surrender. It was the first time the public had heard the Emperor's voice. The speech, using formal, archaic Japanese was not readily understood by many commoners. According to historian Richard Storry in A History of Modern Japan, the Emperor typically used "a form of language familiar only to the well-educated" and to the more traditional samurai
Samurai
is the term for the military nobility of pre-industrial Japan. According to translator William Scott Wilson: "In Chinese, the character 侍 was originally a verb meaning to wait upon or accompany a person in the upper ranks of society, and this is also true of the original term in Japanese, saburau...

 families.

Issue of the Emperor's responsibility for war crimes

Many historians see Emperor Hirohito as responsible for the atrocities
Japanese war crimes
Japanese war crimes occurred during the period of Japanese imperialism, primarily during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. Some of the incidents have also been described as an Asian Holocaust and Japanese war atrocities...

 committed by the imperial forces in the Second Sino-Japanese War and in World War II and feel that he, some members of the imperial family such as his brother Prince Chichibu
Prince Chichibu
, also known as Prince Yasuhito, was the second son of Emperor Taishō and a younger brother of the Emperor Shōwa. As a member of the Imperial House of Japan, he was the patron of several sporting, medical, and international exchange organizations...

, his cousins Prince Takeda and Prince Fushimi
Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu
was a scion of the Japanese imperial family and was a career naval officer who served as chief of staff of the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1932 to 1941.-Early life:...

, and his uncles Prince Kan'in, Prince Asaka
Prince Asaka
of Japan, was the founder of a collateral branch of the Japanese imperial family and a career officer in the Imperial Japanese Army. Son-in-law of Emperor Meiji and uncle by marriage of Emperor Shōwa , Prince Asaka was commander of Japanese forces in the final assault on Nanking , then the capital...

, and Prince Higashikuni, should have been tried for war crime
War crime
War crimes are serious violations of the laws applicable in armed conflict giving rise to individual criminal responsibility...

s. Because of this perception of responsibility for war crimes and lack of accountability, many inhabitants of countries conquered by Japan, as well as others in nations that fought Japan, retain a hostile attitude towards the Japanese imperial family.

The issue of Hirohito's responsibility for war crimes is a debate regarding how much real control the Emperor had over the Japanese military during the two wars. Officially, the imperial constitution, adopted under Emperor Meiji
Emperor Meiji
The or was the 122nd emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 3 February 1867 until his death...

, gave full power to the Emperor. Article 4 prescribed that, "The Emperor is the head of the Empire, combining in Himself the rights of sovereignty, and exercises them, according to the provisions of the present Constitution," while, according to article 6, "The Emperor gives sanction to laws and orders them to be promulgated and executed," and article 11, "The Emperor has the supreme command of the Army and the Navy." The Emperor was thus the leader of the Imperial General Headquarters
Imperial General Headquarters
The as part of the Supreme War Council was established in 1893 to coordinate efforts between the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy during wartime...

.

In 1971, David Bergamini showed how primary sources, such as the "Sugiyama memo" and the diaries of Kido
Koichi Kido
Marquis served as Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal from 1940 to 1945, and was the closest advisor to Emperor Showa throughout World War II.Kido was the grandson of Kido Takayoshi, one of the leaders of the Meiji Restoration...

 and Konoe
Fumimaro Konoe
Prince was a politician in the Empire of Japan who served as the 34th, 38th and 39th Prime Minister of Japan and founder/leader of the Taisei Yokusankai.- Early life :...

, describe in detail the informal meetings Emperor Shōwa had with his chiefs of staff and ministers. Bergamini concluded that the Emperor was kept informed of all main military operations and that he frequently questioned his senior staff and asked for changes.

Historians such as Herbert Bix, Akira Fujiwara, Peter Wetzler, and Akira Yamada
Akira Yamada
is a Japanese scholar and philosopher of the West European Medieval philosophy. Member of the Japan Academy since 1998.Yamada graduated from the Kyoto Imperial University, Philosophy section of the Department of Literature in 1944....

 assert that the post-war view focusing on imperial conferences misses the importance of numerous "behind the chrysanthemum curtain" meetings where the real decisions were made between the Emperor, his chiefs of staff, and the cabinet. Historians such as Fujiwara and Wetzler, based on the primary sources and the monumental work of Shirō Hara, have produced evidence suggesting that the Emperor worked through intermediaries to exercise a great deal of control over the military and was neither bellicose nor a pacifist, but an opportunist who governed in a pluralistic decision-making process. American historian Herbert Bix
Herbert P. Bix
Herbert P. Bix is the author of Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, an acclaimed account of the Japanese Emperor and the events which shaped modern Japanese imperialism....

 argues that Emperor Shōwa might have been the prime mover of most of the events of the two wars.

The view promoted by both the Japanese Imperial Palace and the American occupation forces immediately after World War II had Emperor Shōwa as a powerless figurehead
Figurehead (metaphor)
In politics, a figurehead is a person who holds de jure an important title or office yet de facto executes little actual power, most commonly limited by convention rather than law. The metaphor derives from the carved figurehead at the prow of a sailing ship...

 behaving strictly according to protocol, while remaining at a distance from the decision-making processes. This view was endorsed by Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita
Noboru Takeshita
was a Japanese politician and the 74th Prime Minister of Japan from November 6, 1987 to June 3, 1989.Takeshita was also the last Prime Minister during the long rule of the Emperor Shōwa.-Early years:...

 in a speech on the day of Hirohito's death, in which Takeshita asserted that the war had broken out against [Hirohito's] wishes. Takeshita's statement provoked outrage in nations in East Asia and Commonwealth nations such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. For Fujiwara, however, "the thesis that the Emperor, as an organ of responsibility, could not reverse cabinet decision, is a myth fabricated after the war."

In Japan, debate over the Emperor's responsibility was taboo while he was still alive. After his death, however, debate began to surface over the extent of his involvement and thus his culpability.

In the years immediately after Hirohito's death, the debate in Japan was fierce. Susan Chira reported that, "Scholars who have spoken out against the late Emperor have received threatening phone calls from Japan's extremist right wing." One example of actual violence occurred in 1990 when the mayor of Nagasaki, Hitoshi Motoshima
Hitoshi Motoshima
is a retired Japanese politician. He served four terms as mayor of Nagasaki from 1979 to 1995. He has publicly made controversial statements about the responsibility of Japan and its then-reigning Emperor for World War II and survived a retaliatory assassination attempt in 1990.- Early life...

, was shot and critically wounded by a member of the ultranationalist group, Seikijuku
Seikijuku
is a right-wing, Japanese imperialist group based in Nagasaki Prefecture, founded in 1981. The group was responsible for a number of violent incidents, including the 1990 near-fatal shooting of the mayor of Nagasaki Hitoshi Motoshima who stated that Emperor Hirohito was responsible for the...

; Motoshima managed to recover from the attack. In 1989, Motoshima had broken what was characterized as "one of [Japan's] most sensitive taboos" by asserting that Emperor Hirohito bore some responsibility for World War II.

Kentaro Awaya argues that post-war Japanese public opinion supporting protection of the Emperor was influenced by US propaganda promoting the view that the Emperor together with the Japanese people had been fooled by the military.

Postwar reign

As the Emperor chose his uncle Prince Higashikuni as prime minister to assist the occupation, there were attempts by numerous leaders to have him put on trial for alleged war crimes. Many members of the imperial family, such as Princes Chichibu, Takamatsu and Higashikuni, pressured the Emperor to abdicate so that one of the Princes could serve as regent until Crown Prince Akihito
Akihito
is the current , the 125th emperor of his line according to Japan's traditional order of succession. He acceded to the throne in 1989.-Name:In Japan, the emperor is never referred to by his given name, but rather is referred to as "His Imperial Majesty the Emperor" which may be shortened to . In...

 came of age. On February 27, 1946, the emperor's youngest brother, Prince Mikasa
Prince Mikasa
is a member of the Imperial House of Japan. He is the fourth and youngest son of Emperor Taishō and Empress Teimei. His eldest brother was Emperor Shōwa , and is the only surviving paternal uncle of Emperor Akihito. With the death of his sister-in-law, Princess Takamatsu , on 17 December 2004, he...

 (Takahito), even stood up in the privy council and indirectly urged the emperor to step down and accept responsibility for Japan's defeat. According to Minister of Welfare Ashida's diary, "Everyone seemed to ponder Mikasa's words. Never have I seen His Majesty's face so pale."

U.S. General Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

 insisted that Emperor Shōwa retain the throne. MacArthur saw the emperor as a symbol of the continuity and cohesion of the Japanese people. Some historians criticize the decision to exonerate the Emperor and all members of the imperial family who were implicated in the war, such as Prince Chichibu
Prince Chichibu
, also known as Prince Yasuhito, was the second son of Emperor Taishō and a younger brother of the Emperor Shōwa. As a member of the Imperial House of Japan, he was the patron of several sporting, medical, and international exchange organizations...

, Prince Asaka
Prince Asaka
of Japan, was the founder of a collateral branch of the Japanese imperial family and a career officer in the Imperial Japanese Army. Son-in-law of Emperor Meiji and uncle by marriage of Emperor Shōwa , Prince Asaka was commander of Japanese forces in the final assault on Nanking , then the capital...

, Prince Higashikuni and Prince Hiroyasu Fushimi, from criminal prosecutions.

Before the war crime trials actually convened, the SCAP
Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers
Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers was the title held by General Douglas MacArthur during the Occupation of Japan following World War II...

, the IPS, and Japanese officials worked behind the scenes not only to prevent the Imperial family from being indicted, but also to slant the testimony of the defendants to ensure that no one implicated the emperor. High officials in court circles and the Japanese government collaborated with Allied GHQ in compiling lists of prospective war criminals, while the individuals arrested as Class A suspects and incarcerated in Sugamo
Sugamo
is a neighborhood in Toshima, Tokyo, Japan. It is well known for , a popular shopping street for the older generation . It lies at the crossing point of the JR Yamanote railway line, and national road route Route 17.-See also:* Sugamo Prison* Sugamo Station...

 prison solemnly vowed to protect their sovereign against any possible taint of war responsibility. Thus, "months before the Tokyo tribunal commenced, MacArthur's highest subordinates were working to attribute ultimate responsibility for Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor, known to Hawaiians as Puuloa, is a lagoon harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, west of Honolulu. Much of the harbor and surrounding lands is a United States Navy deep-water naval base. It is also the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet...

 to Hideki Tōjō
Hideki Tōjō
Hideki Tōjō was a general of the Imperial Japanese Army , the leader of the Taisei Yokusankai, and the 40th Prime Minister of Japan during most of World War II, from 17 October 1941 to 22 July 1944...

" by allowing "the major criminal suspects to coordinate their stories so that the Emperor would be spared from indictment." According to John Dower, "This successful campaign to absolve the Emperor of war responsibility knew no bounds. Hirohito was not merely presented as being innocent of any formal acts that might make him culpable to indictment as a war criminal, he was turned into an almost saintly figure who did not even bear moral responsibility for the war." According to Bix, "MacArthur's truly extraordinary measures to save Hirohito from trial as a war criminal had a lasting and profoundly distorting impact on Japanese understanding of the lost war."

Apology rebuffed

Toward the end of the occupation, Hirohito let it be known to SCAP that he was prepared to apologize formally to U.S. Gen. MacArthur for Japan's actions during World War II – including an apology for the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

.

According to Patrick Lennox Tierney
Patrick Lennox Tierney
Patrick Lennox Tierney is a Japanologist academic in the field of art history, an emeritus professor of the University of Utah, a former Curator of Japanese Art at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, a former Director of the Pacific Asia Museum, and a former Commissioner of Art and Monuments during the...

, on the day the Emperor came to offer this apology, MacArthur refused to admit him or acknowledge him. Tierney was an eye witness because his office was on the fifth floor of the Dai-Ichi Insurance Building
DN Tower 21
DN Tower 21 is an office building in Tokyo, Japan. It includes the former Dai-Ichi Seimei Building, in which Douglas MacArthur had his headquarters during the occupation of Japan following World War II. The Government of Tokyo has designated DN Tower 21 as a historical building.-External links:*...

 in Tokyo, the same floor where MacArthur's suite was situated. Many years later, Tierney made an effort to explain his understanding of the significance of what he had personally witnessed: "Apology is a very important thing in Japan."

Imperial status

The Emperor was not put on trial, but he was forced to explicitly reject (in the ) the State Shinto
State Shinto
has been called the state religion of the Empire of Japan, although it did not exist as a single institution and no "Shintō" was ever declared a state religion...

 claim that the Emperor of Japan was an arahitogami
Arahitogami
is a Japanese word meaning a kami who is a human being.It first appears in Kojiki , but is assumed to have been used before this book....

, i.e., an incarnate divinity. This was motivated by the fact that, according to the Japanese constitution of 1889
Meiji Constitution
The ', known informally as the ', was the organic law of the Japanese empire, in force from November 29, 1890 until May 2, 1947.-Outline:...

, the Emperor had a divine power over his country, which was derived from the shinto
Shinto
or Shintoism, also kami-no-michi, is the indigenous spirituality of Japan and the Japanese people. It is a set of practices, to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written...

 belief that the Japanese Imperial Family was the offspring of the sun goddess Amaterasu
Amaterasu
, or is apart of the Japanese myth cycle and also a major deity of the Shinto religion. She is the goddess of the sun, but also of the universe. the name Amaterasu derived from Amateru meaning "shining in heaven." The meaning of her whole name, Amaterasu-ōmikami, is "the great August kami who...

. Hirohito was however persistent in the idea that the emperor of Japan should be considered a descendant of the gods. In December 1945 he told his vice-grand chamberlain Michio Kinoshita: "It is permissible to say that the idea that the Japanese are descendants of the gods is a false conception; but it is absolutely impermissible to call chimerical the idea that the emperor is a descendant of the gods." In any case, the "renunciation of divinity" was noted more by foreigners than by Japanese, and seems to have been intended for the consumption of the former.

Although the Emperor had supposedly repudiated claims to divine status, his public position was deliberately left vague, partly because General MacArthur thought him likely to be a useful partner to get the Japanese to accept the occupation, and partly due to behind-the-scenes maneuverings by Shigeru Yoshida
Shigeru Yoshida
, KCVO was a Japanese diplomat and politician who served as Prime Minister of Japan from 1946 to 1947 and from 1948 to 1954.-Early life:...

 to thwart attempts to cast him as a European-style monarch.

While Emperor Shōwa was usually seen abroad as a head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

, there is still a broad dispute about whether he became a common citizen or retained special status related to his religious offices and participations in Shinto and Buddhist calendar rituals. Many scholars claim that today's tennō (usually translated Emperor of Japan
Emperor of Japan
The Emperor of Japan is, according to the 1947 Constitution of Japan, "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people." He is a ceremonial figurehead under a form of constitutional monarchy and is head of the Japanese Imperial Family with functions as head of state. He is also the highest...

 in English) is not an emperor
Emperor
An emperor is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife or a woman who rules in her own right...

.

For the rest of his life, Emperor Hirohito was an active figure in Japanese life, and performed many of the duties commonly associated with a constitutional head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

. The emperor and his family maintained a strong public presence, often holding public walkabouts, and making public appearances on special events and ceremonies.

Emperor Hirohito also played an important role in rebuilding Japan's diplomatic image, traveling abroad to meet with many foreign leaders, including Queen Elizabeth II (1971) and President Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

 (1975).

The emperor was deeply interested in and well-informed about marine biology
Marine biology
Marine biology is the scientific study of organisms in the ocean or other marine or brackish bodies of water. Given that in biology many phyla, families and genera have some species that live in the sea and others that live on land, marine biology classifies species based on the environment rather...

, and the Imperial Palace
Kokyo
is the main residence of the Emperor of Japan. It is a large park-like area located in the Chiyoda area of Tokyo close to Tokyo Station and contains several buildings including the main palace , the emperor left Kyoto Imperial Palace for Tokyo...

 contained a laboratory from which the emperor published several papers in the field under his personal name "Hirohito." His contributions included the description of several dozen species of Hydrozoa
Hydrozoa
Hydrozoa are a taxonomic class of very small, predatory animals which can be solitary or colonial and which mostly live in saltwater. A few genera within this class live in freshwater...

 new to science.

Yasukuni Shrine

Emperor Hirohito maintained an official boycott of the Yasukuni Shrine
Yasukuni Shrine
is a Shinto shrine located in Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan. It is dedicated to the soldiers and others who died fighting on behalf of the Emperor of Japan. Currently, its Symbolic Registry of Divinities lists the names of over 2,466,000 enshrined men and women whose lives were dedicated to the service of...

 after it was revealed to him that Class-A war criminals had secretly been enshrined after its post-war rededication. This boycott lasted from 1978 until the time of his death. This boycott has been maintained by his son Akihito
Akihito
is the current , the 125th emperor of his line according to Japan's traditional order of succession. He acceded to the throne in 1989.-Name:In Japan, the emperor is never referred to by his given name, but rather is referred to as "His Imperial Majesty the Emperor" which may be shortened to . In...

, who has also refused to attend Yasukuni.

On July 20, 2006, Nihon Keizai Shimbun
Nihon Keizai Shimbun
is one of the largest media corporations in Japan. Nikkei specializes in publishing financial, business and industry news. Its main news publications include:* Nihon Keizai Shimbun , a leading economic newspaper....

published a front page article about the discovery of a memorandum detailing the reason that the Emperor stopped visiting Yasukuni. The memorandum, kept by former chief of Imperial Household Agency
Imperial Household Agency
The is a government agency of Japan in charge of the state matters concerning Japan's imperial family and also keeping the Privy Seal and the State Seal...

 Tomohiko Tomita, confirms for the first time that the enshrinement of 14 Class A War Criminals in Yasukuni was the reason for the boycott. Tomita recorded in detail the contents of his conversations with the emperor in his diaries and notebooks. According to the memorandum, in 1988, the emperor expressed his strong displeasure at the decision made by Yasukuni Shrine to include Class-A war criminals in the list of war dead honored there by saying, "At some point, Class-A criminals became enshrined, including Matsuoka
Yosuke Matsuoka
was a diplomat and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Empire of Japan during the early stages of World War II. He is best known for his defiant speech at the League of Nations in 1933, ending Japan’s participation in that organization...

 and Shiratori
Toshio Shiratori
was the Japanese ambassador to Italy from 1938 to 1940, advisor to the Japanese foreign minister in 1940, and one of the 14 Class-A war criminals enshrined at Yasukuni....

. I heard Tsukuba acted cautiously." Tsukuba is believed to refer to Fujimaro Tsukuba, the former chief Yasukuni priest at the time, who decided not to enshrine the war criminals despite having received in 1966 the list of war dead compiled by the government. "What's on the mind of Matsudaira's son, who is the current head priest?" "Matsudaira had a strong wish for peace, but the child didn't know the parent's heart. That's why I have not visited the shrine since. This is my heart." Matsudaira is believed to refer to Yoshitami Matsudaira, who was the grand steward of the Imperial Household immediately after the end of World War II. His son, Nagayoshi, succeeded Fujimaro Tsukuba as the chief priest of Yasukuni and decided to enshrine the war criminals in 1978. Nagayoshi Matsudaira died in 2006, which some commentators have speculated is the reason for release of the memo.

For journalist Masanori Yamaguchi, who analyzed the "memo" and comments made by the emperor in his first-ever press conference in 1975, the emperor's evasive and opaque attitude about his own responsibility for the war and the fact he said that the bombing of Hiroshima "could not be helped", could mean that the emperor was afraid that the enshrinement of the war criminals at Yasukuni would reignite the debate over his own responsibility for the war.

Hirohito met some American celebrities over the post-war years. In 1959, he sat in the same room for a viewing of the classic film Ben Hur with the film's star, Charlton Heston.

Death and state funeral

On September 22, 1987, the Emperor underwent surgery on his pancreas
Pancreas
The pancreas is a gland organ in the digestive and endocrine system of vertebrates. It is both an endocrine gland producing several important hormones, including insulin, glucagon, and somatostatin, as well as a digestive organ, secreting pancreatic juice containing digestive enzymes that assist...

 after having digestive problems for several months. The doctors discovered that he had duodenal cancer
Duodenal cancer
Duodenal cancer is a cancer in the beginning section of the small intestine. It is relatively rare compared to gastric cancer and colorectal cancer. Its histology is usually adenocarcinoma...

. The emperor appeared to be making a full recovery for several months after the surgery. About a year later, however, on September 19, 1988, he collapsed in his palace, and his health worsened over the next several months as he suffered from continuous internal bleeding. On January 7, 1989, at 7:55 AM, the grand steward of Japan's Imperial Household Agency, Shoichi Fujimori, officially announced the death of Emperor Hirohito, and revealed details about his cancer for the first time. The emperor was succeeded by his son, Akihito
Akihito
is the current , the 125th emperor of his line according to Japan's traditional order of succession. He acceded to the throne in 1989.-Name:In Japan, the emperor is never referred to by his given name, but rather is referred to as "His Imperial Majesty the Emperor" which may be shortened to . In...

.

The emperor's death ended the Shōwa era
Showa period
The , or Shōwa era, is the period of Japanese history corresponding to the reign of the Shōwa Emperor, Hirohito, from December 25, 1926 through January 7, 1989.The Shōwa period was longer than the reign of any previous Japanese emperor...

. On the same day a new era
Japanese era name
The Japanese era calendar scheme is a common calendar scheme used in Japan, which identifies a year by the combination of the and the year number within the era...

 began: the Heisei era, effective at midnight the following day. From January 7 until January 31, the emperor's formal appellation was . His definitive posthumous name
Posthumous name
A posthumous name is an honorary name given to royalty, nobles, and sometimes others, in East Asia after the person's death, and is used almost exclusively instead of one's personal name or other official titles during his life...

, , was determined on January 13 and formally released on January 31 by Toshiki Kaifu
Toshiki Kaifu
is a Japanese politician who was the 76th and 77th Prime Minister of Japan from 1989 to 1991.- Career :He was born in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture, and was educated at Chuo University and Waseda University. A member of the Liberal Democratic Party , Kaifu ran successfully for the Diet in 1960 and...

, the prime minister.

On February 24, Emperor Hirohito's state funeral was held, and unlike that of his predecessor, it was formal but not conducted in a strictly Shinto
Shinto
or Shintoism, also kami-no-michi, is the indigenous spirituality of Japan and the Japanese people. It is a set of practices, to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written...

 manner. A large number of world leaders attended the funeral, including U.S. President George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

, French President François Mitterrand
François Mitterrand
François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand was the 21st President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra, serving from 1981 until 1995. He is the longest-serving President of France and, as leader of the Socialist Party, the only figure from the left so far elected President...

, the Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is the husband of Elizabeth II. He is the United Kingdom's longest-serving consort and the oldest serving spouse of a reigning British monarch....

, and many others. Emperor Shōwa is buried in the Imperial mausoleum in Hachiōji
Hachioji, Tokyo
is a city located in Tokyo, Japan, about 40 kilometers west of the center of the special wards of Tokyo.As of January 1, 2010, the city has an estimated population of 551,901 and a population density of 2,962.27/km². The total area is 186.31 km². It is the eighth largest city in the...

, alongside Emperor Taishō
Emperor Taishō
The was the 123rd emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 30 July 1912, until his death in 1926.The Emperor’s personal name was . According to Japanese customs, the emperor has no name during his reign and is only called the Emperor...

, his father.

Japanese honors

  • Collar and Grand Cordon (Sovereign) of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum
  • Grand Cordon (Sovereign) of the Order of the Rising Sun
    Order of the Rising Sun
    The is a Japanese order, established in 1875 by Emperor Meiji of Japan. The Order was the first national decoration awarded by the Japanese Government, created on April 10, 1875 by decree of the Council of State. The badge features rays of sunlight from the rising sun...

     with Paulownia
    Paulownia
    Paulownia is a genus of from 6 to 17 species of plants in the monogeneric family Paulowniaceae, related to and sometimes included in the Scrophulariaceae. They are native to much of China, south to northern Laos and Vietnam, and long cultivated elsewhere in eastern Asia, notably in Japan and Korea...

     Blossoms
  • Grand Cordon (Sovereign) of the Order of the Golden Kite
    Order of the Golden Kite
    The ' was an order of the Empire of Japan, established on 12 February 1890 by Emperor Meiji "in commemoration of Jimmu Tennō, the Romulus of Japan."-Background:...

  • Grand Cordon (Sovereign) of the Order of the Sacred Treasure
    Order of the Sacred Treasure
    The is a Japanese Order, established on January 4, 1888 by Emperor Meiji of Japan as the Order of Meiji. It is awarded in eight classes . It is generally awarded for long and/or meritorious service and considered to be the lowest of the Japanese orders of merit...


Foreign honors

  • Order of the White Eagle (Poland)
  • Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of the White Rose of Finland; conferred in 1942 (Finland and Japan were on the same side in World War II 1941–1944), the swastika
    Swastika
    The swastika is an equilateral cross with its arms bent at right angles, in either right-facing form in counter clock motion or its mirrored left-facing form in clock motion. Earliest archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization of Ancient...

     collar was replaced by fir
    Fir
    Firs are a genus of 48–55 species of evergreen conifers in the family Pinaceae. They are found through much of North and Central America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, occurring in mountains over most of the range...

     cross collar within the state visit of the president of Finland
    President of Finland
    The President of the Republic of Finland is the nation's head of state. Under the Finnish constitution, executive power is vested in the President and the government, with the President possessing extensive powers. The President is elected directly by the people of Finland for a term of six years....

     Mauno Koivisto
    Mauno Koivisto
    Mauno Henrik Koivisto is a Finnish politician who served as the ninth President of Finland from 1982 to 1994. He also served as Prime Minister 1968–1970 and 1979–1982...

     in 1986
  • Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Saint Olav
  • Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
    Royal Victorian Order
    The Royal Victorian Order is a dynastic order of knighthood and a house order of chivalry recognising distinguished personal service to the order's Sovereign, the reigning monarch of the Commonwealth realms, any members of her family, or any of her viceroys...

     (GCVO) - conferred in May 1921, revoked in 1941
  • Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
    Order of the Bath
    The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

     (GCB) - conferred in May 1921, revoked in 1941.
  • Knight of the Order of the Garter (KG); conferred in 1929, revoked in 1941, restored in 1971
  • Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece
    Order of the Golden Fleece
    The Order of the Golden Fleece is an order of chivalry founded in Bruges by Philip III, Duke of Burgundy in 1430, to celebrate his marriage to the Portuguese princess Infanta Isabella of Portugal, daughter of King John I of Portugal. It evolved as one of the most prestigious orders in Europe...

  • Honorary General
    General
    A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

     in the British Army
    British Army
    The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

    ; conferred in May 1921
  • Honorary Field Marshal in the British Army; conferred in June 1930, revoked in 1941.
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of London

Scientific publications

  • (1967) A review of the hydroids of the family Clathrozonidae with description of a new genus and species from Japan.
  • (1969) Some hydroids from the Amakusa Islands.
  • (1971) Additional notes on Clathrozoon wilsoni Spencer.
  • (1974) Some hydrozoans of the Bonin Islands
  • (1977) Five hydroid species from the Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea.
  • (1983) Hydroids from Izu Oshima and Nijima.
  • (1984) A new hydroid Hydractinia bayeri n. sp. (family Hydractiniidae) from the Bay of Panama.
  • (1988) The hydroids of Sagami Bay collected by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan.
  • (1995) The hydroids of Sagami Bay II. (posthumous)

See also

  • Gyokuon-hōsō
    Gyokuon-hoso
    The , lit. "Jewel Voice Broadcast", was the radio broadcast in which Japanese emperor Hirohito read out the , announcing to the Japanese people that the Japanese Government had accepted the Potsdam Declaration demanding the unconditional surrender of the Japanese military at the end of World War II...

  • Japanese nationalism
    Japanese nationalism
    encompasses a broad range of ideas and sentiments harbored by the Japanese people over the last two centuries regarding their native country, its cultural nature, political form and historical destiny...

  • Empire of Japan
    Empire of Japan
    The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

  • The Sun
    The Sun (film)
    The Sun is a 2005 Russian biographical film surrounding Japanese Emperor Shōwa during the final days of World War II. The film is the third drama in director Aleksandr Sokurov's trilogy following on the leaders of Russia and Germany's .-Plot:Towards the conclusion of the Second World War, Japan...

    —a biographical film about the Emperor
  • Otoya Yamaguchi
    Otoya Yamaguchi
    was a Japanese ultranationalist, a member of a right-wing Uyoku dantai group, who assassinated Inejiro Asanuma by wakizashi on October 12, 1960 at Tokyo's Hibiya Hall during a political debate in advance of parliamentary elections...


External links

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