The Emperor in 2016
|Emperor of Japan|
|Reign||7 January 1989 – present|
|Enthronement||12 November 1990|
|Heir apparent||Crown Prince Naruhito|
23 December 1933 |
Tokyo Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan
|Spouse||Michiko Shōda (m. 1959)|
|Issue||Crown Prince Naruhito
Fumihito, Prince Akishino
|House||Imperial House of Japan|
Akihito (明仁, Japanese: [akiçito]; English pronunciation (help·info); born 23 December 1933) is the current Emperor of Japan. He succeeded to the Chrysanthemum Throne upon his father Hirohito (Emperor Shōwa)'s death on 7 January 1989. According to Japan's traditional order of succession, he is the 125th member of the world's oldest reigning dynasty.
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 be established. If the Emperor abdicates as planned, he will receive the title of Jōkō (上皇), an abbreviation of Daijō Tennō (太上天皇, Retired Emperor), and a new era will be established.
Life and work
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. He expressed the desire to help bring the Imperial family closer to the people of Japan.
Upon the death of Emperor Hirohito on 7 January 1989, Akihito acceded (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 the 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.
In response to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami and the Fukushima I nuclear crisis, the Emperor made an 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 denied that there was any official plan for the monarch to abdicate. A potential abdication by the Emperor would require an amendment to the Imperial Household Law, 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.
|Wikinews has related news: Japan's National Diet passes law allowing Emperor Akihito to abdicate within three years|
On 19 May 2017, the bill that would allow Akihito to abdicate was issued by the Japanese government's cabinet. On 8 June 2017, the National Diet passed a one-off bill allowing Akihito to abdicate, and for the government to begin arranging the process of handing over the position to Crown Prince Naruhito. The Japanese government announced in December 2017 that Akihito will abdicate on 30 April 2019. On 18 December 2017, the Imperial Household Agency confirmed that Akihito will move to Akasaka Palace upon abdication.
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, breaking more than 2,600 years of tradition. 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).
The announcement about the then-Crown Prince Akihito's engagement and marriage to the then-Ms. Michiko Shōda drew opposition from traditionalist groups, because Shōda came from a Roman Catholic family. Although Shōda was never baptized, she was educated in Catholic schools and seemed to share the faith of her parents. Rumors also speculated that Empress Kōjun had opposed the engagement. After the death of Empress Kōjun in 2000, Reuters reported that she was one of the strongest opponents of her son's marriage, and that in the 1960s, she had driven her daughter-in-law and grandchildren to depression by persistently accusing her of not being suitable for her son.
According to the Constitution of Japan, Akhito is "the symbol of the state and the unity of the (Japanese) people." Unlike other constitutional monarchs, his function is defined as entirely representative and ceremonial in nature, without even a nominal role in government. He is limited to acting in matters of state as delineated in the Constitution, and even in those matters, he is bound by the requirements of the Constitution and the binding advice of the Cabinet. For instance, while he formally appoints the Prime Minister, he is required to appoint the person designated by the Diet, without the option to decline appointment.
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.
Since succeeding to the throne, Akihito has made an effort to bring the Imperial family closer to the Japanese people. He and Michiko have made official visits to eighteen countries and to all forty-seven Prefectures of Japan.
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 in 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 Imperial Majesty|
|Spoken style||Your Imperial 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 Imperial Majesty The Emperor
If the abdication goes as expected, Akihito's title will be "Daijō Tennō", or "Jōkō" in short.
- 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. As of 2006 this order is аbolished.
- Zaire is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- 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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- 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.
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- Decree 1K-974
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55. ^ www.sunstar.com.ph/network/news/2017/10/20/japan-emperor-abdication-set-march-2019-570435
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Akihito|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Emperor Akihito.|
|Wikinews has related news: Japanese Emperor makes live television appearance after earthquake|
- Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress at the Imperial Household Agency website
- Press Conference on the occasion of His Majesty's Birthday (2016)
- 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
|Order of precedence in Japan|
as the Sovereign
The Crown Prince