|Emperor of Japan|
|Reign||7 January 1989 – present|
|Enthronement||12 November 1990|
|Heir apparent||Crown Prince Naruhito|
23 December 1933|
Tokyo City, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan
|Spouse||Michiko Shōda (m. 1959)|
Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan|
Fumihito, Prince Akishino
Sayako Kuroda formerly Sayako, Princess Nori
|House||Imperial House of Japan|
|Japanese Imperial Family|
Akihito (明仁, born 23 December 1933) ( English pronunciation ) is the reigning Emperor of Japan (天皇 Tennō). He is the 125th emperor of his line according to Japan's traditional order of succession. Akihito succeeded his father Shōwa and acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne on 7 January 1989.
In Japan, the Emperor is never referred to by his given name, but rather is referred to as "His Majesty the Emperor" (天皇陛下 Tennō Heika) which may be shortened to "His Majesty" (陛下 Heika). In writing, the Emperor is also referred to formally as "The Reigning Emperor" (今上天皇 Kinjō Tennō). The Era of Akihito's reign bears the name "Heisei" (平成), and according to custom he will be renamed "Emperor Heisei" (平成天皇 Heisei Tennō; see "posthumous name") by order of the Cabinet after his death. At the same time, the name of the next era under his successor will also be established.
Akihito was born in the Tokyo Imperial Palace, Tokyo City, Japan, and is the elder son and the fifth child of the Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito) and Empress Kōjun (Nagako). Titled Prince Tsugu (継宮 Tsugu-no-miya) as a child, he was raised and educated by his private tutors and then attended the elementary and secondary departments of the Peers' School (Gakushūin) from 1940 to 1952. Unlike his predecessors in the Imperial family, he did not receive a commission as an army officer, at the request of his father, Hirohito.
During the American firebombing raids on Tokyo in March 1945, Akihito and his younger brother, Prince Masahito, were evacuated from the city. During the American occupation of Japan following World War II, Prince Akihito was tutored in the English language and Western manners by Elizabeth Gray Vining. He briefly studied at the Department of Political Science at Gakushuin University in Tokyo, though he never received a degree.
Akihito was heir-apparent to the Chrysanthemum Throne from the moment of his birth. His formal Investiture as Crown Prince (立太子礼 Rittaishi-no-rei) was held at the Tokyo Imperial Palace on 10 November 1952. In June 1953 Akihito represented Japan at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in London.
Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko made official visits to thirty-seven countries. As an Imperial prince, Akihito compared the role of Japanese royalty to that of a robot; and, he expressed the hope that he would like to help in bringing the Imperial family closer to the people of Japan.
Upon the death of Emperor Hirohito on 7 January 1989, his eldest son the Crown Prince Akihito succeeded (senso) to the throne, with an enthronement ceremony taking place (sokui) on 12 November 1990. In 1998, during a state visit to the United Kingdom, he was invested with UK Order of the Garter.
On 23 December 2001, during his annual birthday meeting with reporters, the Emperor, in response to a reporter's question about tensions with Korea, remarked that he felt a kinship with Koreans and went on to explain that, in the Shoku Nihongi, the mother of Emperor Kammu (736–806) is related to Muryeong of Korea, King of Baekje, a fact that was considered taboo.
Emperor Akihito underwent surgery for prostate cancer on 14 January 2003. Since succeeding to the throne, Emperor Akihito has made an effort to bring the Imperial family closer to the Japanese people. The Emperor and Empress of Japan have made official visits to eighteen countries and to all forty-seven Prefectures of Japan.
In response to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami and the Fukushima I nuclear crisis, the Emperor made a historic televised appearance urging his people not to give up hope and to help each other. The Emperor and Empress also made a visit on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 to a temporary shelter housing refugees of the disaster, in order to inspire hope in the people. This kind of event is also extremely rare, though in line with the Emperor's attempts to bring the Imperial family closer to the people. Later in 2011 he was admitted to hospital suffering from pneumonia. In February 2012 it was announced that the Emperor would be having a coronary examination; he underwent successful heart bypass surgery on 18 February 2012.
On 13 July 2016, national broadcaster NHK reported that the Emperor intended to abdicate in favor of his eldest son Crown Prince Naruhito within a few years, citing his age; an abdication within the Imperial Family has not occurred since Emperor Kōkaku abdicated in 1817. However, senior officials within the Imperial Household Agency have denied that there is any official plan for the monarch to abdicate. A potential abdication by the Emperor would require an amendment to the Imperial Household Act, which currently has no provisions for such a move. On 8 August 2016, the Emperor gave a rare televised address, where he emphasized his advanced age and declining health; this address is interpreted as an implication of his intention to abdicate.
Marriage and family
In August 1957, he met Michiko Shōda on a tennis court at Karuizawa near Nagano. The Imperial Household Council (a body composed of the Prime Minister of Japan, the presiding officers of the two houses of the Diet of Japan, the Chief Justice of Japan, and two members of the Imperial family) formally approved the engagement of the Crown Prince to Michiko Shōda on 27 November 1958. At that time, the media presented their encounter as a real "fairy tale", or the "romance of the tennis court". It was the first time a commoner would marry into the Imperial Family. The engagement ceremony took place on 14 January 1959, and the marriage on 10 April 1959.
The Emperor and Empress have three children: sons Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan (born 23 February 1960, formerly The Prince Hiro) and Fumihito, Prince Akishino (born 30 November 1965, formerly The Prince Aya) and daughter Mrs. Sayako Kuroda (born 18 April 1969, formerly The Princess Nori).
Despite being strictly constrained by his constitutional position, he also issued several wide-ranging statements of remorse to Asian countries, for their suffering under Japanese occupation, beginning with an expression of remorse to China made in April 1989, three months after the death of his father, Emperor Shōwa.
In June 2005, the Emperor visited the island of Saipan (part of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory), the site of a battle in World War II from 15 June to 9 July 1944 (known as the Battle of Saipan). Accompanied by Empress Michiko, he offered prayers and flowers at several memorials, honoring not only the Japanese who died, but also American soldiers, Korean laborers, and local islanders. It was the first trip by a Japanese monarch to a World War II battlefield abroad. The Saipan journey was received with high praise by the Japanese people, as were the Emperor's visits to war memorials in Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Okinawa in 1995.
On 6 September 2006, the Emperor celebrated the birth of his first grandson, Prince Hisahito, the third child of the Emperor's younger son. Prince Hisahito is the first male heir born to the Japanese imperial family in 41 years (since his father Prince Akishino) and could avert a possible succession crisis as the Emperor's elder son, the Crown Prince Naruhito, has only one daughter, Princess Aiko. Under Japan's male-only succession law, Princess Aiko is not eligible for the throne. The birth of Prince Hisahito could mean that proposed changes to the law to allow Aiko to ascend the Chrysanthemum Throne will not go through after being temporarily shelved following the announcement of Princess Kiko's third pregnancy in February 2006. The supporters of changes criticized the current law as it placed a burden on the few aging males old enough to perform royal duties as females left the family.
In extension of his father's interest in marine biology, the Emperor is a published ichthyological researcher, and has specialized studies within the taxonomy of the family Gobiidae. He has written papers for scholarly journals such as Gene and the Japanese Journal of Ichthyology.
He has also written papers about the history of science during the Edo and Meiji eras, which were published in Science and Nature. In 2005, a newly described goby was named Exyrias akihito in his honour.
- Member of the Ichthyological Society of Japan
- Foreign member of the Linnean Society of London (1980)
- Honorary member of the Linnean Society of London (1986)
- Research associate of the Australian Museum
- Honorary member of the Zoological Society of London (1992)
- Honorary member of the Research Institute for Natural Science of Argentina (1997)
- Honorary degree of the Uppsala University (2007)
Titles, styles, honours and arms
|Reference style||His Majesty|
|Spoken style||Your Majesty|
Titles and styles
- 23 December 1933 – 10 November 1952: His Imperial Highness The Prince Tsugu
- 10 November 1952 – 7 January 1989: His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince
- 7 January 1989 – present: His Majesty The Emperor
- National honours
- Collar and Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum
- Grand Cordon of The Order of the Rising Sun with the Paulownia Blossoms (renamed Grand Cordon of The Order of the Paulownia Flowers from 2003)
- Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure
- Order of Culture
- The Golden Medal of Merit of the Japanese Red Cross
- The Golden Medal of Honorary Member of the Japanese Red Cross
- Foreign honours
- FR Yugoslavia split into Serbia and Montenegro.
- Other awards
- The Royal Society King Charles II Medal
- Golden Pheasant Award of the Scout Association of Japan (1971)
|Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan||23 February 1960||9 June 1993||Masako Owada||Aiko, Princess Toshi|
|Fumihito, Prince Akishino||30 November 1965||29 June 1990||Kiko Kawashima|| Princess Mako of Akishino|
Princess Kako of Akishino
Prince Hisahito of Akishino
|Sayako, Princess Nori||18 April 1969||15 November 2005||Yoshiki Kuroda|
|Ancestors of Akihito|
Akihito's patriline is the line from which he is descended father to son.
- The Emperor's Birthday
- Imperial Household Agency
- Imperial House of Japan
- Japanese era name
- List of Emperors of Japan
- List of longest reigning current monarchs
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- "National Day of Japan to be celebrated". Embassy of Japan in Pakistan. 7 December 2007. Archived from the original on 2 February 2008. Retrieved 28 December 2007.
- "Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress". Imperial Household Agency. 2002. Archived from the original on 1 December 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2007.
- "Those Apprentice Kings and Queens Who May – One Day – Ascend a Throne," The New York Times. 14 November 1971.
- Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, p. 44.
- "Press Conference on the Occasion of His Majesty's Birthday". Imperial Household Agency. Archived from the original on 25 May 2008. Retrieved 7 July 2008.
- Chotiner, Isaac (8 August 2016). "What Does the Japanese Emperor Do? And will Japan let him stop doing it?". Slate.
- "Akihito has successful cancer operation". BBC News. BBC. 18 January 2003. Retrieved 28 December 2007.
- "Six days later, Japanese still confronting magnitude of quake crisis". CNN. 29 April 2011.
- "Message from His Majesty The Emperor". The Imperial Household Agency. 16 March 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
- Japanese Emperor visits evacuation center Archived 14 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Japan's Emperor Akihito leaves Tokyo hospital". BBC News. 24 November 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
- "Emperor Akihito to have coronary examination". Mainichi Daily News. 1 February 2012.
- "Report: Japan's Emperor undergoes successful cardiac bypass". CNN. 18 February 2012.
- "天皇陛下 「生前退位」の意向示される ("His Majesty The Emperor Indicates His Intention to 'Abdicate'")" (in Japanese). NHK. 13 July 2016. Archived from the original on 13 July 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
- "Japanese Emperor Akihito 'wishes to abdicate'". BBC News. 13 July 2016. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
- "Message from His Majesty The Emperor". The Imperial Household Agency. 8 August 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
- "Japan's Emperor Akihito hints at wish to abdicate". BBC News. 8 August 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
- Fukada, Takahiro, "Emperor — poise under public spotlight", Japan Times, 24 November 2009, p. 3.
- « The Girl from Outside », Time, 23 March 1959
- Brooke, James (June 28, 2005). "Visiting Saipan, Japan's Emperor Honors Dead". New York Times. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
- "Life in the Cloudy Imperial Fishbowl", Japan Times'.' 27 March 2007.
- "The Future of Japan's Dwindling Imperial Family". Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- Hamilton, Alan. "Palace small talk problem solved: royal guest is a goby fish fanatic", The Times (London). 30 May 2007
- PubMed Search Results
- Akihito (October 1992). "Early cultivators of science in Japan". Science. 258 (5082): 578–80. doi:10.1126/science.1411568. PMID 1411568.
- His Majesty The Emperor of Japan (July 2007). "Linnaeus and taxonomy in Japan". Nature. 448 (7150): 139–140. doi:10.1038/448139a. PMID 17632886.
- "Reply to a parliamentary question about the Decoration of Honour" (PDF) (in German). p. 1298. Retrieved November 2012. Check date values in:
- Persondetaljer - Hans Kejserlige Højhed Akihito. borger.dk.
- "Akihito". Bearers of decorations. president. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
- Presidency, table of recipients of the Order of the Three Stars since 2004.
- Decree 1K-974
- Embassy of Japan in Nepal
- Volkskrant, State visit of Netherlands in Japan, 1991, Group Photo
- The Royal Forums, State visit of Japan in Norway, May 2005, Photo
- "Cidadãos Estrangeiros Agraciados com Ordens Portuguesas" (in Portuguese). presidencia.pt. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- "Noblesse et Royautés" (French), State visit of Spain in Japan, November 2008
- Getty Images, State visit of Sweden in Japan, 03/2007, Group photo
- "Ancestry in Genealogics.org".
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- Kunaicho | Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress
- Press Conference on the occasion of His Majesty's Birthday (2015)
- Complete transcript (U.S. English and Japanese) and audio mp3 and video of 'Do Not Lose Hope' Address to the Nation at AmericanRhetoric.com
AkihitoBorn: 23 December 1933
|Emperor of Japan
Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan
|Order of precedence in Japan|
as the Sovereign
| Succeeded by|
The Crown Prince