Hirohito (hērō´hētō), 1901–89, emperor of Japan. He was made regent in 1921 and succeeded his father, Yoshihito (the Taishō emperor), in 1926. He married (1924) Princess Nagako Kuni (1903–2000); a son and heir, Prince Akihito, was born in 1933. For 20 years he reigned as sovereign as Japan went to war in China and the Pacific, and in 1945 he made an unprecedented radio broadcast announcing Japan's unconditional surrender to the Allies. Under Allied occupation, he retained the throne, but was transformed from imperial sovereign to democratic symbol. The constitution of 1946 made him "symbol of the state and of the unity of the people," and he became familiar as a marine biologist, family figure, and greeter of foreign heads of state. His Showa ( "enlightened peace" ) reign was the longest and one of the most turbulent in Japan's history.

See D. Irokawa, The Age of Hirohito (1995); H. P. Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan (2000).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Hirohito: Selected full-text books and articles

Hirohito: The Emperor and the Man By Edwin P. Hoyt Praeger Publishers, 1992
In the Service of the Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army By Edward J. Drea University of Nebraska Press, 1998
Librarian's tip: Chap. 12 "Chasing a Decisive Victory Emperor Hirohito and Japan's War with the West"
The Japanese Monarchy: Ambassador Joseph Grew and the Making of the "Symbol Emperor System," 1931-1991 By Nakamura Masanorit; Herbert P. Bix; Jonathan Baker-Bates; Derek Bowen M.E. Sharpe, 1992
Librarian's tip: "The Emperor's 'Declaration of Humanity'" begins on p. 109
Aftermath of War: Americans and the Remaking of Japan, 1945-1952 By Howard B. Schonberger Kent State University Press, 1989
Librarian's tip: Chap. 1 "Joseph C. Grew: The Emperor of Japan and Planning the Occupation"
The Defeat of Japan By David Rees Praeger Publishers, 1997
Librarian's tip: Chap. 14 "The Emperor Seeks Peace"
Government Leaders, Military Rulers, and Political Activists By David W. Del Testa Oryx Press, 2001
Librarian's tip: "Hirohito" begins on p. 82
Temporarily FREE! The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb By Dennis D. Wainstock Praeger, 1996
Librarian's tip: Chap. 1 "Japan's Peace Moves: Tojo and Koiso Cabinets"
Partners for Democracy: Crafting the New Japanese State under MacArthur By Ray A. Moore; Donald L. Robinson Oxford University Press, 2002
Librarian's tip: Chap. 2 "'This Fundamental Problem': MacArthur Saves Hirohito"
The Second World War: Ambitions to Nemesis By Bradley Lightbody Routledge, 2004
Librarian's tip: Chap. 37 "The Bomb"
The Nature and Origins of Japanese Imperialism: A Reinterpretation of the Great Crisis of 1873 By Donald Calman Routledge, 1992
Librarian's tip: "Emperor Hirohito" begins on p. 188
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator
Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.