Hirohito, Shōwa, born 29-04-1901 in the Aoyama Palace in Tokyo, Prince Hirohito was the first son of Crown Prince Yoshihito, the future Emperor Taishō and Crown Princess Sadako. Emperor Hirohito’s father was the Taisho Emperor, Yoshihito. His mother, Empress Teimei, was Princess Sadako, the fourth daughter of Prince Michitaka Kujo. He became crown prince in 1916. After graduating from the Crown Prince’s School in 1921, he travelled in Europe for six months, a tour without precedent for a Japanese crown prince. In November 1921, after his return to Japan, he became Regent for his father, who was ill. In 1924, he married Princess Nagako. Two years later, when the Taisho Emperor died, Crown Prince Hirohito became Emperor of Japan. His enthronement ceremony took place in Kyoto in November 1928.
Starting from the Mukden Incident in 1931 in which Japan staged a sham “Chinese attack” as a pretext to invade Manchuria, Japan occupied Chinese territories and established puppet governments. Such “aggression was recommended to Hirohito” by his chiefs of staff and prime minister Fumimaro Konoe, and Hirohito never personally objected to any invasion of China. During the 14-year Japanese invasion of China, the Chinese suffered more than 35 million military and nonmilitary casualties. 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 Kotohito, and minister of the army, Hajime Sugiyama, were mostly about the time it could take to crush Chinese resistance.
According to Akira Fujiwara, Hirohito endorsed the policy of qualifying the invasion of China as an “incident” instead of a “war”; therefore, he did not issue any notice to observe international law in this conflict (unlike what his predecessors did in previous conflicts officially recognized by Japan as wars), and the Deputy Minister of the Japanese Army instructed the chief of staff of Japanese China Garrison Army on 5 August not to use the term “prisoners of war” for Chinese captives. This instruction led to the removal of the constraints of international law on the treatment of Chinese prisoners. The works of Yoshiaki Yoshimi and Seiya Matsuno show that the Emperor also authorized, by specific orders, the use of chemical weapons against the Chinese. During the invasion of Wuhan, 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 on 14 May condemning Japanese use of toxic gas.
WWII buffs don’t usually mention Hirohito in the same breath with Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini. We tend not to see him as a dictator as such, or even as much of a militarist. Japanese tradition considered the emperor to be divine in Japanese tradition, and gods don’t get their hands dirty in day-to-day politics. Think about it: The Allied war-crimes trials didn’t execute the emperor for deciding to attack Pearl Harbor and launch aggressive war in 1941. They targeted, convicted, and executed his prime minister, Hideki Tojo,
instead. Insofar as Hirohito cuts much of a public figure in the west, it’s as a ruler who was against the war in 1941, who decided to end it in 1945 (commanding the Japanese people to “endure the unendurable” and surrender), and who lived out the rest of his long life as a beloved, gentle, and rather eccentric butterfly collector.
The imperial messages of 15-08-1945, concluding hostilities in World War II, and of 01-01-1946, declaring that the Emperor is a mortal, until the end of 1945, the Emperor was revered as a god, were epoch-making events in the history of Japan. The constitution of 1947 determined that the Emperor would no longer have political power, which would rest with the people. During the long and eventful reign of Hirohito, Japan emerged from a period of military expansion, and entered a new period of international cooperation, during which it became one of the world’s three greatest economic powers. In September-October 1971, Hirohito met with President Nixon in Anchorage, Alaska, and then toured western Europe, marking the first trip abroad for a reigning emperor. Son-in-law of Emperor Meiji and uncle by marriage of Emperor Showa, Hirohito, Prince Asaka
on 06-05-1909, he married Nobuko Princess Fumi, 07-08-1891 – 03-11-1933, the eighth daughter of the Emperor, was commander of Japanese forces in the final assault on Nanking, now Nanjing, then the capital city of Nationalist China, in December 1937. He was implicated in the Nanjing massacre but never charged. Asaka Yasuhiko died of natural causes on 13-04-1981 at his home in Atami, Shizuoka prefecture. He was 93 years old.
In his youth, Emperor Hirohito developed an interest in marine biology that he continued to pursue during his reigning years. His work included the classification of sea animals and plants at the Biological Institute in the Imperial Palace and the collecting of plants at Nasu and Hayama. He published numerous scholarly works dealing with his scientific research. Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako
had seven children and had seven children, two sons and five daughters.
Death and burial ground of Hirohito, Shōwa, Emperor.
On 22-09-1987, the Emperor underwent surgery on his pancreas after having digestive problems for several months. The doctors discovered that he had duodenal cancer. The Emperor appeared to be making a full recovery for several months after the surgery. About a year later, however, on 19-09-1988, he collapsed in his palace, and his health worsened over the next several months as he suffered from continuous internal bleeding. The Emperor died at 6:33 AM on 7 January 1989 at the age of 87. The announcement from the grand steward of Japan’s Imperial Household Agency, Shoichi Fujimori, revealed details about his cancer for the first time. Hirohito was survived by his wife, his five surviving children, ten grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
At the time of his death he was both the longest-lived and longest-reigning historical Japanese emperor, as well as the longest-reigning monarch in the world at that time.
On 24 February, the Emperor’s state funeral was held, and unlike that of his predecessor, it was formal but not conducted in a strictly Shinto manner. A large number of world leaders attended the funeral. Hirohito is buried in the Musashi Imperial Graveyard in Hachiōji, alongside his father, Emperor Taishō.