Michinomiya Hirohito

Japanese Emperor during World World II. After the Japanese surrender to the United States in 1945, General MacArthur decided to keep the emperor in place to facilitate the transition of Japan to a democracy." Considered a living god by his people, Hirohito assumed the Japanese throne in 1926 after a period of five years as regent for his ailing father. He was enthroned in Kyoto on Nov. 10, 1928. Even though he was Emperor of Japan, he was unable, or unwilling, to control the Japanese military. In 1945, After the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he persuaded the military to surrender in order to save his nation further destruction. In his public statements at that time, the Emperor declared his humanity. This allowed the Japanese people latitude in choosing their new form of government. The result was a parliamentery government with a titular emperor. The Allies had demanded unconditional surrender, but the Japanese government agreed to surrender if the Emperor could retain his throne. Hirohito was allowed to keep his title and position as emperor until his death. The Emperor died of cancer at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Jan. 7, 1989. During the long reign of Hirohito, Japan changed from a militaristic, expansionist nation to one of the world's most peaceful and greatest economic powers. It is tragic that so many had to die to effect this positive transition.

Birth Location: 
Tokyo, Japan
Birth Date: 
4/29/1901
Death Location: 
Tokyo, Japan
Death Date: 
1/7/1989