Mother: Empress Nagako Kuni
Marriage: Michiko Shoda (April 10, 1959-present)
Education: Attended Gakushuin University, 1952-1956
The Chrysanthemum Throne is the oldest hereditary monarchy in the world. Records show the imperial line to be unbroken for fourteen centuries. Akihito is the 125th Emperor of Japan, a direct descendant of Japan’s first emperor Jimmu, circa 660 BC.
Akihito is the fifth child and first son of Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako. Akihito means “shining pinnacle of virtue,” and Tsugunomiya means “prince of the august succession and enlightened benevolence.”
He is the first Japanese crown prince to marry a commoner.
2,500 dignitaries from 158 countries attended the Sokui-no-Rei enthronement ceremony in 1990. The ceremony lasted about 30 minutes and the event cost the Japanese people about $80 million (Y10 billion).
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.
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.
May 1998 – A state visit to London triggers 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, at age 97.
January 18, 2003 – Successfully undergoes surgery for prostate cancer that was diagnosed in December 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 on November 30, 1965, Prince Akishino, the child’s father.
December 2010 – Admits to having hearing problems.
February 18, 2012 – Undergoes successful coronary artery bypass surgery.
April 2013 – Contributes a 350-page paper on Gobiodei, a Japanese fish, to the “Fishes of Japan with Pictorial Keys to the Species, a fish encyclopedia.”