Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Royal Profile: Emperor Akhito of Japan

Emperor Akihito of Japan was born 23 December 1923 as the eldest son and fifth child of Emperor Hirohito (the Showa Emperor) and Empress Kōjun {Source}. He had 5 sisters and one brother{Source}:
  1. Princess Teru (1925-1961)
  2. Princess Hisa (1927-1928)
  3. Princess Taka (1929-1989)
  4. Princess Yori (1931-)
  5. Prince Hitachhi (1935-)
  6. Princess Suga (1937-)

He was known as Prince Tsugu as a child (like his granddaughter is Princess Toshi today){Source}. He was educated primarily by private tutors before attending Gakushūin School from 1940-1952{Source}.He briefly studied Political Science at Gakushuin University, but never received a degree{Source}. He has written papers for scholarly journals, namely Gene and the Japanese Journal of Ichthyology{Source}.

Unlike the emperors before him, he did not receive a commission in the Japanese Army at the request of his father{Source}. When he was 22 years old, he and his brother were evacuated from Japan during the WWII battles with The Americans{Source}. During the American occupation of Japan, he was tutored in English and Western manners{Source}.


His formal investiture as Crown Prince of Japan took place in November 1952, when he was 28 (a month and some before his 29th birthday) years old{Source}. In June of the following year, he represented Japan at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, and visited Queen Elizabeth for her Diamond Jubilee again in 2012{Source}. Since then, he along side his wife, then Crown Princess Michiko, who he married in 1959 have visited 37 countries on official visits{Source}.
His father died in January 1989, and he was formally invested as Emperor almost two years later, in November 1990{Source}. In 1998, during a state visit to the United Kingdom, he was invested with The Most Noble Order of the Garter.
Like most "normal people", the Emperor has had a few health scares in his life time. In January 2003, he underwent treatment for prostate cancer. In 2011, he suffered pneumonia and was admitted to the hospital. In 2012, he underwent heart bypass surgery.

He shares a birthday with Queen Silvia of Sweden.

Together, with his wife, he has the following children and grandchildren:

  1. Crown Prince Naruhito (1960, titled Prince Hiro)
    1. Crown Princess Masako (1963)
      1. Princess Aiko, Princess Toshi (2001)
  2. Prince Akishino (1965, titled Aya-no-miya or Prince Aya)
    1. Princess Mako ( 1991) 
    2. Princess Kako (1994)
    3. Prince Hisahito (2006) 
  3. The former Princess Nori ( 1969, titled Nori-no-miya or Princess Nori)
He holds numerous orders from 48 different countries. He also holds several Japanese orders.

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