|Birth Day:||April 29, 1901|
|Death Date:||Jan 7, 1989 (age 87)|
|Birth Place:||Minato, Japan|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
As per our current Database, Hirohito died on Jan 7, 1989 (age 87).
He served in Japan's army and navy as a second lieutenant.
Born in Tokyo's Aoyama Palace (during the reign of his grandfather, Emperor Meiji) on 29 April 1901, Hirohito was the first son of 21-year-old Crown Prince Yoshihito (the future Emperor Taishō) and 17-year-old Crown Princess Sadako (the future Empress Teimei). He was the grandson of Emperor Meiji and Yanagihara Naruko. His childhood title was Prince Michi. Ten weeks after he was born, Hirohito was removed from the court and placed in the care of Count Kawamura Sumiyoshi, who raised him as his grandchild. At the age of 3, Hirohito and his brother Yasuhito were returned to court when Kawamura died – first to the imperial mansion in Numazu, Shizuoka, then back to the Aoyama Palace. In 1908 he began elementary studies at the Gakushūin (Peers School).
When his grandfather, Emperor Meiji, died on 30 July 1912, Hirohito's father, Yoshihito, assumed the throne. Hirohito became the heir apparent, and he was formally commissioned as a second lieutenant in the army and an ensign in the navy. He was also decorated with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Chrysanthemum. In 1914, he was promoted to the ranks of Lieutenant in the army and Sub-Lieutenant in the navy. In 1916, he was promoted to Captain and Lieutenant in the army and navy. Hirohito was formally proclaimed Crown Prince and heir apparent on 2 November 1916. An investiture ceremony was not required to confirm this status.
Hirohito attended Gakushūin Peers' School from 1908 to 1914 and then a special institute for the crown prince (Tōgū-gogakumonsho) from 1914 to 1921. In 1920 Hirohito was promoted to the rank of Major in the army and Lieutenant Commander in the navy.
After returning to Japan, Hirohito became Regent of Japan (Sesshō) on 29 November 1921, in place of his ailing father, who was affected by mental illness. In 1923 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the army and Commander in the navy, and army Colonel and Navy Captain in 1925.
In the Four-Power Treaty on Insular Possessions signed on 13 December 1921, Japan, the United States, Britain, and France agreed to recognize the status quo in the Pacific. Japan and Britain agreed to end the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. The Washington Naval Treaty was signed on 6 February 1922. Japan withdrew troops from the Siberian Intervention on 28 August 1922. The Great Kantō earthquake devastated Tokyo on 1 September 1923. On 27 December 1923, Daisuke Namba attempted to assassinate Hirohito in the Toranomon Incident, but his attempt failed. During interrogation, he claimed to be a communist and was executed, but some have suggested that he was in contact with the Nagacho faction in the Army.
Prince Hirohito married his distant cousin Princess Nagako Kuni (the future Empress Kōjun), the eldest daughter of Prince Kuniyoshi Kuni, on 26 January 1924. They had two sons and five daughters (see Issue).
On 25 December 1926, Hirohito assumed the throne upon the death of his father, Yoshihito. The Crown Prince was said to have received the succession (senso). The Taishō era's end and the Shōwa era's beginning (Enlightened Peace) were proclaimed. The deceased Emperor was posthumously renamed Emperor Taishō within days. Following Japanese custom, the new Emperor was never referred to by his given name but rather was referred to simply as "His Majesty the Emperor" which may be shortened to "His Majesty." In writing, the Emperor was also referred to formally as "The Reigning Emperor."
In November 1928, the Emperor's ascension was confirmed in ceremonies (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, also called the Three Sacred Treasures, which have been handed down through the centuries.
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. 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 Chinese resistance.
Hirohito narrowly escaped assassination by a hand grenade thrown by a Korean independence activist, Lee Bong-chang, in Tokyo on 9 January 1932, in the Sakuradamon Incident.
Another notable case was the assassination of moderate Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi in 1932, marking the end of civilian control of the military. The February 26 incident, an attempted military coup, followed in February 1936. It was carried out by junior Army officers of the Kōdōha faction who had the sympathy of many high-ranking officers including Prince Chichibu (Yasuhito), one of the Emperor's brothers. This revolt was occasioned by a loss of political support by the militarist faction in Diet elections. The coup resulted in the murders of several high government and Army officials.
There are scholars who support that Hirohito was exempted from the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. For example Indian jurist Radhabinod Pal opposed the International Military Tribunal and made a 1,235-page judgment. He found the entire prosecution case to be weak regarding the conspiracy to commit an act of aggressive war with brutalization and subjugation of conquered nations. Pal said there is "no evidence, testimonial or circumstantial, concomitant, prospectant, restrospectant, that would in any way lead to the inference that the government in any way permitted the commission of such offenses,". He added that conspiracy to wage aggressive war was not illegal in 1937, or at any point since. Pal supported the acquittal of all of the defendants. He considered the Japanese military operations as justified, because Chiang Kai-shek supported the boycott of trade operations by the Western Powers, particularly the United States boycott of oil exports to Japan. Pal argued the attacks on neighboring territories were justified to protect the Japanese Empire from an aggressive environment, especially the Soviet Union. He considered that to be self-defense operations which are not criminal. Pal said "the real culprits are not before us" and concluded that "only a lost war is an international crime".
In July 1939, the Emperor quarrelled with his brother, Prince Chichibu, over whether to support the Anti-Comintern Pact, and reprimanded the army minister, Seishirō Itagaki. But after the success of the Wehrmacht in Europe, the Emperor consented to the alliance. On 27 September 1940, ostensibly under Hirohito's leadership, Japan became a contracting partner of the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy forming the Axis Powers.
On 4 September 1941, the Japanese Cabinet met to consider war plans prepared by Imperial General Headquarters and decided that:
On 8 December (7 December in Hawaii), 1941, in simultaneous attacks, Japanese forces struck at the Hong Kong Garrison, the US Fleet in Pearl Harbor and in the Philippines, and began the invasion of Malaya.
An account from the Vice Interior Minister in 1941, Michio Yuzawa, asserts that Hirohito was "at ease" with the attack on Pearl Harbor "once he had made a decision."
The media, under tight government control, repeatedly portrayed him as lifting the popular morale even as the Japanese cities came under heavy air attack in 1944-45 and food and housing shortages mounted. Japanese retreats and defeats were celebrated by the media as successes that portended "Certain Victory." Only gradually did it become apparent to the Japanese people that the situation was very grim due to growing shortages of food, medicine, and fuel as U.S submarines began wiping out Japanese shipping. Starting in mid 1944, American raids on the major cities of Japan made a mockery of the unending tales of victory. Later that year, with the downfall of Tojo's government, two other prime ministers were appointed to continue the war effort, Kuniaki Koiso and Kantarō Suzuki—each with the formal approval of the Emperor. Both were unsuccessful and Japan was nearing disaster.
In early 1945, in the wake of the losses in the Battle of Leyte, 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 he had been allowed in three years, Konoe advised Hirohito to begin negotiations to end the war. According to Grand Chamberlain Hisanori Fujita, the Emperor, still looking for a tennozan (a great victory) in order to provide a stronger bargaining position, firmly rejected Konoe's recommendation.
On 22 June 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 26 July 1945, the Allies issued the Potsdam Declaration demanding unconditional surrender. 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 upon, including a guarantee of the Emperor's continued position in Japanese society. The Emperor decided not to surrender.
On 12 August 1945, the Emperor informed the imperial family of his decision to surrender. One of his uncles, Prince Yasuhiko Asaka, asked whether the war would be continued if the kokutai (national polity) could not be preserved. The Emperor simply replied "Of course." On 14 August the Suzuki government notified the Allies that it had accepted the Potsdam Declaration.
Hirohito was not put on trial, but he was forced to explicitly reject the quasi-official claim that the Emperor of Japan was an arahitogami, i.e., an incarnate divinity. This was motivated by the fact that, according to the Japanese constitution of 1889, the Emperor had a divine power over his country which was derived from the Shinto belief that the Japanese Imperial Family were the descendants of the sun goddess Amaterasu. 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. The theory of a constitutional monarchy had already had some proponents in Japan. In 1935, when Tatsukichi Minobe advocated the theory that sovereignty resides in the state, of which the Emperor is just an organ (the tennō kikan setsu), it caused a furor. He was forced to resign from the House of Peers and his post at the Tokyo Imperial University, his books were banned, and an attempt was made on his life. Not until 1946 was the tremendous step made to alter the Emperor's title from "imperial sovereign" to "constitutional monarch."
As the Emperor chose his uncle Prince Higashikuni as prime minister to assist the American 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 came of age. On 27 February 1946, the Emperor's youngest brother, Prince Mikasa (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."
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 Shigeko) or under the terms of the Imperial Household Law at the moment of their subsequent marriages (in the cases of Princesses Kazuko, Atsuko, and Takako).
For the rest of his life, Hirohito was an active figure in Japanese life and performed many of the duties commonly associated with a constitutional head of state. He and his family maintained a strong public presence, often holding public walkabouts and making public appearances on special events and ceremonies. For example, in 1947, the Emperor made a public visit to Hiroshima and held a speech in front of a massive crowd encouraging the city's citizens. He 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 (1975). He was not only the first reigning emperor to travel beyond Japan, but also the first to meet a President of the United States. His status and image became strongly positive in the United States.
In 1971 (Showa 46), the Emperor visited seven European countries, including the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Switzerland again, for 17 days from 27 September to 14 October. In this case, a special aircraft Douglas DC-8 of Japan Airlines was used unlike the previous visit by ship. Although not counted as a visit, at that time, the Emperor stopped by Anchorage, Alaska as a stopover, and met with United States President Richard Nixon from Washington, DC, at the Alaska District Army Command House at Elmendorf Air Force Base.
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 because that happened in wartime" (shikata ga nai, meaning "it cannot be helped").
In 1975, the Emperor was invited to visit the United States for 14 days from 30 September to 14 October, at the invitation of President Gerald Ford. The visit was the first such event in US–Japanese history. The United States Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard honored the state visit. Before and after the visit, a series of terrorist attacks in Japan were caused by anti-American left-wing organizations such as the East Asia Anti-Japan Armed Front.
Following the Iranian Revolution and the end of the short-lived Central African Empire, both in 1979, Hirohito found himself the last monarch in the world to bear any variation of the highest royal title "emperor."
On 27 May 1980, the Emperor wanted to express his regret about the Sino-Japanese war to former Chinese Premier Hua Guofeng who visited at the time, but was stopped by senior members of the Imperial Household Agency due to fear of backlash from far right groups.
On 7 April 1987, two years before his death, this diary entry shows the Emperor was haunted by perceived discussions about World War 2 responsibility and lost the will to live. Prince Takamatsu died in February 1987.
On 22 September 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 September 1988, he collapsed in his palace, and his health worsened over the next several months as he suffered from continuous internal bleeding. On 7 January 1989, the grand steward of Japan's Imperial Household Agency, Shoichi Fujimori, announced that the Emperor had died at 6:33 AM and 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.
After the death of Emperor Showa, on 14 February 1989 (Heisei 1), the Cabinet Committee of the House of Councilors at the time (Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita, Cabinet of Takeshita), Secretary-General of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau, Mimura Osamu (味村治) said, "There are no responsibilities for war under domestic law or international law due to the two points of no response and no prosecution in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East according to Article 3 of the Constitution of the Empire of Japan."
A January 1989 declassified British government assessment of Hirohito said the Emperor was "uneasy with Japan's drift to war in the 1930s and 1940s but was too weak to alter the course of events." The dispatch by John Whitehead, former ambassador of the United Kingdom to Japan, to Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe was declassified on Thursday 20 July 2017 at the National Archives in London. Britain's ambassador to Japan John Whitehead stated in 1989:
In the years immediately after Hirohito's death, the debate in Japan was fierce. Susan Chira reported, "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, was shot and critically wounded by a member of the ultranationalist group, Seikijuku. A year before, in 1989, Motoshima had broken what was characterized as "one of [Japan's] most sensitive taboos" by asserting that Emperor Hirohito bore responsibility for World War II.
The Emperor was succeeded by his son, the Emperor Akihito, whose enthronement ceremony was held on 12 November 1990.
On 20 July 2006, Nihon Keizai Shimbun 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 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 and Shiratori. 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.
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. The latter distinction passed to king Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand when he surpassed him in July 2008 until his own death on 13 October 2016.
In August 2018 the diary of Shinobu Kobayashi, the Emperor's chamberlain between 1974 and 2000, was released. This diary contains numerous quotes from Hirohito (see below).
Hirohito was married to Empress Kojun from 1924 until his death in 1989. Hirohito had seven children: Akihito, Prince Shigeko, Takako, Sachiko, Kazuko, and Atsuko. Akihito, the eldest, succeeded him upon his death.
Currently, Hirohito is 122 years, 1 months and 12 days old. Hirohito will celebrate 123rd birthday on a Monday 29th of April 2024. Below we countdown to Hirohito upcoming birthday.
Tale of two regions after World War II |<!-- ab 20575579 -->View<!-- ae 20575579 --> |chinadaily.com.cn
On Wednesday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addresses the joint houses of the US Congress in Washington. That day is also the official birthday of the late Japanese Emperor Hirohito; were he alive (he died in 1989) he would be celebrating his 114th birthday. It is worth reflecting on the implications of the coincidence of these two events.