Hirohito (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Hirohito, in an unprecedented action, made the decision that ended World War II in the Pacific. Thereafter, he provided the symbolic leadership that facilitated the recovery of Japan from the devastation of the war, while first renouncing a divine status for himself and then promulgating the new democratic constitution for his nation.
Hirohito was born barely three decades after the fall of the Tokugawa system that had ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867. His grandfather, posthumously known as the Emperor Meiji, was the symbol of the new order that succeeded the feudal Tokugawa regime. As with emperors and heirs apparent of the time, the newborn was given the suffix “hito” (benevolence) and a name by which his reign would be known posthumously: Showa (Enlightened Peace). Again following custom, only a few months after birth, the infant was placed in the care of a trusted aristocratic family—and eventually, a second.
Showa, as he should now be called, had an elitist education. In 1906, a private school was organized for him, his younger brother, and selected classmates. In 1908, he was sent to the Gakushuin or Peers’ School, an elementary school for aristocratic offspring, similar to Britain’s Eton. There, he came under the influence of Count Marusuke Nogi, a naval hero and Hirohito’s first role model. Yet the direct influence was short-lived: In 1912, on the eve of Emperor...
(The entire section is 2149 words.)
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Hirohito (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: Hirohito failed to halt the aggressive militarism of his military ministers but did much to smooth Japan’s transition from militaristic empire to economic giant.
Hirohito was the eldest of four sons of the Taishō Emperor, Yoshihito (r. 1912-1926), and was raised in a manner befitting a modern monarch. He was educated at the Peers School and was privately tutored in the French language, Chinese and Japanese classics and history, world history, economics, and military affairs.
By temperament and interests a scholar, Hirohito had nevertheless been inculcated with military virtues by the leading army and naval officers who were responsible for his education. As a part of this education, Hirohito became the first Japanese crown prince to travel abroad, visiting Great Britain and western Europe in 1921.
The Taishō Emperor died on December 25, 1926. Hirohito was enthroned in November, 1928, just as the Japanese army was beginning a series of aggressive interventions in China, which eventually led to the overthrow of Chinese rule in Manchuria, in 1931, and to the initiation of formal warfare, in 1937. Though Hirohito himself was a moderate and a supporter of constitutionalism, he believed, just as most Japanese did, that the Chinese war was justified and that war with the United States was inevitable because it refused to acknowledge Japanese equality in international affairs...
(The entire section is 477 words.)
Hirohito (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
Hirohito was the emperor of Japan from 1926 to 1989. His reign encompassed a period of Japanese
militarism that resulted in Japan's participation in WORLD WAR II, the United States' dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the United States' military occupation of Japan following Japan's defeat. After World War II, Hirohito's authority changed, and he was reduced to a ceremonial figure.
Hirohito was born in Tokyo on April 29, 1901, and was educated in Japan. He became emperor on December 25, 1926, at a time when Japanese parliamentary government suggested that democracy and international cooperation would continue to grow. However, forces within the military sought to dominate the government and embark on a course of expansionism within Asia. Though he had private misgivings about the rise of militarism, Hirohito took no action to stop the generals. His advisers were concerned that imperial opposition would lead to the military overthrow of the monarchy.
As the 124th direct descendant of Japan's first emperor, Jimmu, Hirohito was considered sacred and was referred to as Tenno...
(The entire section is 629 words.)