Emperor Akihito - Fast Facts
Here's a look at the life of Emperor Akihito of Japan.
Personal: Birth date: December 23, 1933
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
Birth name: Tsugunomiya Akihito
Father: Emperor Hirohito
Mother: Empress Nagako Kuni
Marriage: Michiko Shoda (April 10, 1959 - present)
Children: Nori no miya Sayako Naishinnô, Princess Sayako (April 8, 1969) (aka Princess Nori); Akishino no miya Fumihito Shinnô, Prince Akishino (November 30, 1965); Hiro no miya Naruhito Shinnô, Crown Prince Naruhito (February 23, 1960)
Education: private tutors, Gakushuin "Peers School" (1940 - 1952), Gakushuin University (1952 - 1956 no degree awarded)
Other Facts: The Chrysanthemum Throne is the oldest hereditary monarchy in the world. Records show the imperial line to be an unbroken one for fourteen centuries. Akihito is the 125th Emperor of Japan, a direct descendant of Japan's first emperor Jimmu, circa 660 BC.
He is the world's only monarch with the title Emperor.
Akihito is the fifth child and first son of Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako. Akihito means shining pinnacle of virtue, Tsugunomiya means prince of the august succession and enlightened benevolence means.
He is the first Japanese crown prince to marry a commoner.
2,500 dignitaries from 158 countries attended the Sokui-no-Rei enthronement ceremony. The ceremony lasted about 30 minutes and the event cost the Japanese people about $80 million (Y10 billion).
Timeline: 1936 or 1937 - Is separated from his parents, in accordance with Japanese custom at the time, raised and educated by chamberlains and tutors.
1950 - The Imperial Household Agency begins compiling a list of suitable candidates for marriage. By 1958 the list has about 800 names.
1952 - Officially invested with the title Kotaishi Denka, Crown Prince, and declared the rightful heir to the throne.
1953 - Represents Japan at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and visits thirteen other countries in Europe and North America.
January 7, 1989 - Accepts possession of the sacred sword, beads and mirror of the Sun-Goddess Amaterasu Omikami, upon the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito.
May 24, 1990 - In Tokyo during a banquet for visiting South Korean President Roh Tae Woo, Akihito's "deepest regret" for the 35-year occupation of Korea, (1910 -1945) is expressed.
November 12, 1990 - Ascends to the Chrysanthemum Throne as the 125th Emperor of Japan, one year and ten months after the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito.
1992 - A state visit to China revives memories of Japan's brutal 14-year occupation of China (1931-1945), but no formal apology is offered.
1998 - A state visit to London brings out many demonstrations by British WWII prisoners-of-war demanding a formal apology and compensation for the treatment of POWs at the hands of Japanese soldiers.
June 16, 2000 - Akihito's mother, Nagako Kuni, the Empress Dowager of Japan dies.
December 1, 2001 - The birth of a daughter to Crown Prince Naruhito highlights the country's discussion on the law of succession. Japan's 1948 constitution allows for a male line of succession only. All of the Emperor's grandchildren are female.
January 18, 2003 - Successfully undergoes surgery for prostate cancer that had been diagnosed in December of 2002.
September 6, 2006 - Birth of his first grandson, Prince Hisahito, the first male heir born into the imperial family in 40 years. The last male heir was born November 30, 1965, Prince Akishino, the child's father.
July 14 - 16, 2009 - Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visit Hawaii. They do not visit Pearl Harbor, but lay a wreath at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific for veterans of both world wars, the Korean and Vietnam conflicts.
November 13, 2009 -- Along with Empress Michiko, meets President Barack Obama in Japan.
March 16, 2011 - Emperor Akihito delivers a pre-recorded televised speech in the wake of Japan's devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis. He urges the Japanese people to, "never give up hope, take care of themselves, and live strong for tomorrow."
November 6, 2011 - Hospitalized after suffering from a fever and bronchitis.
February 18, 2012 - Undergoes successful coronary artery bypass surgery.