Hirohito, Prince Michi (迪宮裕仁親王 Michi no miya Hirohito shinnō), was born in Aoyama, Minato, Tokyo, Japan, on April 28, 1901. He was the son of then-Crown Prince Yoshihito and Crown Princess Sadako. He was a member of the Imperial Family.
70 days after his birth, Prince Michi was removed from the imperial court and placed under the care of the family of Kawamura Sumiyoshi, who was to raise him as if he was his grandson. After Kawamura's death, Michi and his brother, Yasuhito, then Prince Atsu, were returned to the imperial court. Prince Michi studied at Gakushūin from 1908 to 1914.
His father assumed the throne as Emperor in 1912 when Michi's grandfather died. At the same time, Michi was commissioned into the military, eventually rising to the rank of Colonel in the army and Navy Captain in the navy. He was formally proclaimed the Crown Prince on November 2, 1916.
In 1921, the Crown Prince toured Western Europe for six months. Upon returning to Japan, he was made Regent to his ailing father who had a mental illness.
On December 27, 1923, Daisuke Nanba made a failed attempt to assassinate the Crown Prince in the Toranomon Incident. Nanba was executed for his role in the incident.
On January 26, 1924, the Crown Prince married his 14th cousin 3x removed Princess Nagako Kuni. Their first daughter Shigeko, Princess Teru, was born on December 6, 1925. She married Prince Morihiro Higashikuni on October 10, 1943. However, she left the Imperial Family in 1947 as her husband was demoted to commoner status.
On December 25, 1926, the Crown Prince succeeded to the throne upon his father's death, thereby beginning the Shōwa Period in Japanese history. His second daughter, Sachiko, Princess Hisa, was born on September 10, 1927, but died suddenly on March 6, 1928. Another daughter, Kazuko, Princess Taka, was born on September 30, 1929, and married a commoner, Toshimichi Takatsukasa, on May 21, 1950. After that, his daughter Atsuko, Princess Yori, was born on March 7, 1931. She, like Kazuko, left the Imperial Family when she married Takamasa Ikeda on October 10, 1952.
Another assassination attempt was made on the Emperor when a hand grenade was thrown by Lee Bong-chang during the Sakuradamon Incident on January 9, 1932. Still, he survived. After recovering from the second assassination attempt, he had a son, Akihito, Prince Tsugu, on December 23, 1933. He became the Crown Prince and married Michiko Shōda on April 10, 1959. Another son, Masahito, Prince Yoshi, was born on November 28, 1935. He was ordained Prince Hitachi and married Hanako Tsugaru on September 30, 1964. His youngest child, Takako, Princess Suga, was born on March 2, 1939. She left the Imperial Family upon marrying Hisanaga Shimazu on March 3, 1960.
The Emperor led Japan through World War II. On August 15, 1945, he delivered a surrender speech to the people of Japan. Japan then came under the occupation of the United States of America. The Emperor chose his uncle, Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni, to assist the American occupation as Prime Minister. However, Naruhiko resigned shortly after. There were several attempts by world leaders to put the Emperor on trial for war crimes, but Douglas MacArthur insisted that he retain the throne.
Although the Emperor was not put on trial, he explicitly rejected the claim that he was a divine descendant of Amaterasu. By 1946, he was no longer the imperial sovereign, but the constitutional monarch, as a new constitution was adopted. He remained an active figure after the end of World War II up until his death.
On September 22, 1987, the Emperor was hospitalized for digestive problems by undergoing surgery on the pancreas, eventually being diagnosed with duodenal cancer. Although he seemed to make a recovery, on September 19, 1988, he collapsed in his palace as he underwent internal bleeding for several months.
At 7:55 AM on January 7, 1989, the Emperor's death was officially announced by Shoichi Fujimori, thereby ending the Shōwa Period. He was posthumously renamed Emperor Shōwa (昭和天皇 Shōwa tennō) by Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu on January 31. On February 24, Shōwa's funeral was held in a formal manner. He is buried in the Musashino Imperial Graveyard in Tokyo.
Hirohito, Emperor Shōwa, was succeeded to the throne by his eldest son Akihito, who is the current Emperor of Japan.
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