Akihito Biography

(125th Emperor of Japan)

Birthday: December 23, 1933 (Capricorn)

Born In: Tokyo, Japan

Akihito is a former emperor of Japan. Being a member of the ‘Imperial House of Japan,’ Akihito served as the 125th emperor of Japan from 7 January 1989 to 30 April 2019. He was one of the very few emperors of the modern world who earned the reputation of being an ideal leader. Akihito’s peace-loving nature became evident when he decided to make peace with China and other Asian nations almost immediately after succeeding his father. Even the leaders of other powerful nations and sections of media have praised Akihito for being a humble man in spite of hailing from a royal background. When the devastating Tsunami sent shockwaves across Japan, Akihito’s inspiring speech instilled a ray of hope in the lives of many people who were shattered by the catastrophe. Other than being a member of the ‘Imperial House,’ Akihito is also known for being a scholar. Many of his research papers on molecular biology have been published in various science journals. He was also involved in specialized studies concerning ‘Gobiidae,’ a form of fish, and its taxonomy.
Quick Facts

Age: 90 Years, 90 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Michiko (m. 1959)

father: Hirohito

mother: Empress Ko-jun

siblings: Atsuko Ikeda, Kazuko Takatsukasa, Masahito, Sachiko, Shigeko Higashikuni, Takako Shimazu

children: Crown Prince Naruhito, Fumihito, Naruhito, Prince Akishino, Sayako Kuroda, Yoshiki Kuroda

Born Country: Japan

Emperors & Kings Japanese Men

Height: 1.65 m

City: Tokyo, Japan

More Facts

education: Gakushuin University

awards: 2009 - Nishan-e-Pakistan
Golden Pheasant Award
Order of the Three Stars

  • 1

    What is Akihito known for?

    Akihito is known for being the 125th Emperor of Japan, ascending to the Chrysanthemum Throne in 1989.
  • 2

    What significant event marked Akihito's reign?

    One significant event during Akihito's reign was his address to the nation in 2011 following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
  • 3

    What is Akihito's stance on environmental issues?

    Akihito has shown a keen interest in environmental issues and has been an advocate for conservation and protection of nature.
  • 4

    How did Akihito contribute to improving relations with other countries?

    Akihito played a key role in fostering international relations through visits to various countries and promoting goodwill and peace.
  • 5

    What role did Akihito play in preserving Japan's cultural heritage?

    Akihito has been actively involved in efforts to preserve Japan's cultural heritage, including promoting traditional arts and crafts.
Childhood & Early Life
Akihito was born on December 23, 1933, in Tokyo, Japan, to Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako. He was originally named Prince Tsugu, but the name was changed later. He was the eldest son and the fifth born child of his parents.
Akihito was initially taught by private tutors. Later on, he attended ‘Peers School,’ where he studied for 12 years, between 1940 and 1952. It is also said that he left Japan for a brief period to learn English from American author Elizabeth Gray Vining.
In 1952, Akihito went to ‘Gakushuin University’ to pursue his degree. However, he did not complete his studies. The same year, he was crowned as the prince at the ‘Tokyo Royal Palace.’
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After he was officially crowned the prince, Akihito attended the coronation ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II as a representative of Japan in 1953. He also visited many American and European nations during this period.
Akihito succeeded his father Hirohito as the emperor of Japan in 1989 after the latter’s death. He not only became the 125th person to be crowned as the supreme leader, but also inherited prized possessions of the royal family. These possessions included mirror of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu Omikami, the royal sword, and beads.
Merely three months after the demise of his father, Akihito came up with statements of apologies to all those Asian nations which had suffered because of Japan. The first nation to receive Akihito’s goodwill gesture was China.
In 2011, after a devastating earthquake that left Japan in shambles, Akihito addressed his countrymen with an inspiring televised speech in a bid to provide hope and spread positivity.
Akihito became an honorary member of the esteemed ‘Linnean Society of London’ in 1980. He was also a research associate at the ‘Australian Museum’ and ‘The Research Institute for Natural Science of Argentina.’
Japan's bicameral legislature (National Diet) enacted a special law in June 2017 that would allow Akihito to abdicate. On December 1, 2017, Akihito formalized his intentions, and on April 30, 2019, he stepped down as Japan’s emperor and passed the throne to Crown Prince Naruhito.
Major Works
Other than managing his official duties, Akihito also took a keen interest in marine biology. Popular scientific journals, such as ‘Japanese Journal of Ichthyology’ and ‘Gene’ had published several papers written by Akihito.
Awards & Achievements
Akihito received several awards in his long tenure as the emperor of Japan. Notable among these are ‘Collar and Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum,’ ‘Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure,’ and ‘The Golden Medal of Merit of the Japanese Red Cross.’
Personal Life & Legacy
Akihito got married to Michiko Shoda, the daughter of a milling company owner, in 1959. The couple has three children – two sons named Naruhito and Fumihito, and a daughter named Sayako Kuroda.
Though he is blessed with few grandchildren, Akihito and the rest of the nation were particularly excited about the birth of his grandson Hisahito. Hisahito is the first male child born in the royal family after a long period of 41 years. The birth of the young prince took place in 2006.
In 2011, Akihito was admitted to a hospital due to frequent complaints of fever and bronchitis. The very next year, he underwent a bypass heart surgery.
Facts About Akihito
Akihito is an accomplished marine biologist, having studied the taxonomy of a specific species of goby fish, the Awaous guamensis.
He is known for his love of music and is a skilled cellist, having even performed in public concerts.
Akihito is a prolific author, having published several books on topics ranging from history to nature conservation.
He is the first Japanese emperor to marry a commoner, Empress Michiko, breaking centuries-old tradition.
Akihito is a dedicated environmentalist and has been actively involved in raising awareness about conservation efforts in Japan and around the world.

See the events in life of Akihito in Chronological Order

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