|Succession:||Emperor of Japan|
|Reign:||7 January 1989 – present|
|Coronation:||12 November 1990|
|Successor:||Crown Prince Naruhito|
|Issue:||Crown Prince Naruhito|
|House:||House of Yamato|
|Birth Date:||23 December 1933|
|Birth Place:||Tokyo, Japan|
In Japan, the emperor is never referred to by his given name, but rather is referred to as "His Imperial Majesty the Emperor" which may be shortened to . In writing, the emperor is also referred to formally as . The Era of Akihito's reign bears the name "Heisei" (Japanese: 平成), and according to custom he will be renamed "Emperor Heisei" (平成天皇 Heisei tennō; see "posthumous name") by order of the cabinet after his death. At the same time, the name of the next era under his successor will also be established.
Akihito is the eldest son and the fifth child of Emperor Hirohito (the Shōwa Emperor) and Empress Kōjun. Titled as a child, he was raised and educated by his private tutors and then attended the elementary and secondary departments of the Peers' School (Gakushūin) from 1940 to 1952. Unlike his predecessors in the Imperial Family, he did not receive a commission as an Army officer, at the request of his father, Hirohito.
During the American firebombing raids on Tokyo in March 1945, he and his younger brother, HIH Prince Masahito, were evacuated from the city. During the American occupation of Japan following World War II, Prince Akihito was tutored in English and Western manners by Elizabeth Gray Vining. He briefly studied at the Department of Political Science at Gakushuin University in Tokyo, though he never received a degree. Although he was Heir-Apparent to the Chrysanthemum Throne from the moment of his birth, his formal was held at the Tokyo Imperial Palace on 10 November 1952. In June 1953, Crown Prince Akihito represented Japan at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in London.
Then-Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko made official visits to thirty-seven countries. As an Imperial prince, Akihito compared the role of Japanese royalty to that of a robot; and he expressed the hope that he would like to help in bringing the Imperial family closer to the people of Japan.
After the death of Emperor Hirohito on 7 January 1989, the crown prince received the succession (senso). Emperor Akihito formally acceded to the throne (sokui) on 12 November 1990. In 1998, during a state visit to the United Kingdom, he was invested with The Most Noble Order of the Garter.
On 23 December 2001, during his annual birthday meeting with reporters, the Emperor, in response to a reporter's question about tensions with Korea, remarked that he felt a kinship with Koreans and went on to explain that in the Shoku Nihongi the mother of Emperor Kammu (736–806) is related to Muryeong of Korea, King of Baekje.
Emperor Akihito underwent surgery for prostate cancer in January 2003. Since succeeding to the throne, Emperor Akihito has made an effort to bring the Imperial Family closer to the Japanese people. The Emperor and Empress of Japan have made official visits to eighteen countries, as well as all forty-seven Prefectures of Japan.
In response to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami and the Fukushima I nuclear crisis, the Emperor made a historic televised appearance urging his people not to give up hope and to help each other. The Emperor had never been featured in a prerecorded televised message before, and so this event is historic and showed the scale of this disaster. The Emperor and the Empress also made a visit on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 to a temporary shelter housing refugees of the disaster, in order to inspire hope in the people. This kind of event is also extremely rare, though in line with the Emperor's attempts to bring the Imperial Family closer to the people.
Later in 2011 he was admitted to hospital suffering from pneumonia. In February 2012, it was announced that the Emperor would be having a coronary examination. He underwent successful heart bypass surgery on 18 February 2012.
|Royal Name:||Emperor Akihito|
|Dipstyle:||His Imperial Majesty|
|Offstyle:||Your Imperial Majesty|
On 10 April 1959, he married Michiko Shōda (born 24 October 1934), the eldest daughter of Hidesaburo Shōda, the president and later honorary chairman of Nisshin Flour Milling Company. The new Crown Princess was the first commoner to marry into the imperial family. The Emperor and the Empress have three children:
Despite being strictly constrained by his constitutional position, he also issued several wide-ranging statements of remorse to Asian countries, for their suffering under Japanese occupation, beginning with an expression of remorse to China made in April 1989, three months after the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito.
In June 2005, the Emperor visited the US territory of Saipan, the site of a battle in World War II from 15 June to 9 July 1944 (Battle of Saipan). Accompanied by Empress Michiko, he offered prayers and flowers at several memorials, honoring not only the Japanese who died, but also American soldiers, Korean laborers, and local islanders. It was the first trip by a Japanese monarch to a World War II battlefield abroad. The Saipan journey was received with high praise by the Japanese people, as were the Emperor's visits to war memorials in Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Okinawa in 1995.
On 6 September 2006, the Emperor celebrated the birth of his first grandson, Prince Hisahito, the third child of the Emperor's younger son. Prince Hisahito is the first male heir born to the Japanese imperial family in 41 years (since his father Prince Akishino) and could avert a possible succession crisis as the Emperor's elder son, the Crown Prince, has only one daughter, Princess Aiko. Under Japan's current male-only succession law, Princess Aiko is not eligible for the throne. The birth of Prince Hisahito could mean that proposed changes to the law to allow Aiko to ascend the Chrysanthemum Throne will not go through after being temporarily shelved following the announcement of Princess Kiko's third pregnancy in February 2006.
In extension of his father's interest in marine biology, the Emperor is a published ichthyological researcher, and has specialized studies within the taxonomy of the family Gobiidae. He has written papers for scholarly journals, namely Gene and the Japanese Journal of Ichthyology.
He has also written papers about the history of science during the Edo and Meiji eras, which were published in Science and Nature. In 2005, a newly described goby was named Exyrias akihito in his honour.
|Order of the Supreme Sun|
|Decoration for Services to the Republic of Austria Grand Star|
|Order of al-Khalifa Collar|
|Order of Leopold Grand Cordon|
|Order of the Southern Cross Grand Collar|
|Order of Valour Grand Cordon|
|Order of the Merit of Chile Grand Collar|
|Order of the Cross of Boyaca Grand Collar|
|National Order of the Leopard Grand Cordon|
|Order of the Ivory Coast Grand Cordon|
|Order of the White Lion 1st Class (Civil Division) with Collar Chain|
|Order of the Elephant Knight Grand Cross|
|Order of the Nile Grand Collar|
|Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana The Collar of the Cross|
|Order of Solomon Grand Collar|
|Order of the White Rose Grand Cross with Collar|
|Légion d'honneur Grand Cross|
|Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany Grand Cross, Special Class|
|Order of the Redeemer Grand Cross|
|Order of Merit of Hungary Grand Cross|
|Order of the Falcon Grand Cross with Collar|
|Star of Adipurna 1st Class|
|Order of Merit of the Republic Grand Cross with Cordon|
|Order of Hussein ibn' Ali Collar|
|Order of the Golden Eagle|
|Order of the Golden Heart|
|Order of Mubarak the Great Collar|
|Order of the Three Stars Commander Grand Cross with Chain |
|Order of the Star of Africa Knight Grand Band|
Order of the Pioneers of the Republic Knight Grand Band
|Order of Vytautas the Great the Great Grand Cross with Collar|
|Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau Knight|
|Order of the Lion Grand Commander|
|Order of the Crown of the Realm|
|National Order Grand Cordon|
|Order of the Aztec Eagle Grand Collar|
|Order of Muhammad Grand Collar|
|Order of Ojaswi Rajanya|
|Order of the Netherlands Lion Knight Grand Cross|
|Order of the Federal Republic Grand Cordon|
|Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav Grand Cross with Collar|
|Order of Oman Superior Class|
|Nishan-e-Pakistan 1st Class|
|Order of Manuel Amador Guerrero Gold Collar|
|Order of the Sun Grand Cross in Brilliants|
|Philippine Legion of Honor Chief Commander|
|Order of the White Eagle|
|Order of Prince Henry Grand Collar|
|Collar of Independence|
|Order of the Lion Grand Cordon|
|Order of Good Hope Grand Cross in Gold|
|Order of the Golden Fleece Knight|
Order of Charles III
|Royal Order of the Seraphim Knight|
|The Most Auspicious Order of the Rajamitrabhorn|
The Most Illustrious Order of the Royal House of Chakri
|Order of the Republic of Gambia Grand Commander|
|Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise First Class|
|Collar of the Federation|
|Stranger 984th Knight of Order of the Garter|
|Commonwealth realms||Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order|
Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal
|Order of the Yugoslav Star|
|Order of the Leopard Grand Cordon|
Akihito's patriline is the line from which he is descended father to son.