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© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Hirohito: Selected full-text books and articles

Hirohito: The Emperor and the Man
Edwin P. Hoyt.
Praeger Publishers, 1992
Hirohito and War: Imperial Tradition and Military Decision Making in Prewar Japan
Peter Wetzler.
University of Hawaii Press, 1998
In the Service of the Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army
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
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
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
David Rees.
Praeger Publishers, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 14 "The Emperor Seeks Peace"
Prompt and Utter Destruction: Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs against Japan
J. Samuel Walker.
University of North Carolina Press, 1997
Government Leaders, Military Rulers, and Political Activists
David W. Del Testa.
Oryx Press, 2001
Librarian’s tip: "Hirohito" begins on p. 82
The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II
Iris Chang.
Penguin Books, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "Judgment Day"
Emperor Hirohito and Shōwa Japan: A Political Biography
Stephen S. Large.
Routledge, 1992
The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb
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
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
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
Donald Calman.
Routledge, 1992
Librarian’s tip: "Emperor Hirohito" begins on p. 188
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