(b. 1933)

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(b. 23 Dec. 1933).

125th Emperor of Japan 1989–  Emperor Akihito's early life was unconventional by the standards set by his predecessors. His early school career at the peers' school, the Gakushûin, was disrupted by World War II, in which he was forced to spend long periods outside Tokyo to escape Allied bombing raids. After 1945, the future ruler of Japan was tutored by Elizabeth Vining, an American Quaker and children's author. His marriage to Michiko Shôda, following a much-publicized romance begun on the tennis courts, was also largely unprecedented in that Crown Princess Michiko was the first commoner to marry into the imperial house. During his time as Crown Prince Akihito participated in numerous royal visits, cementing Japan's ties with the rest of the world. On his accession to the throne, he emphasized his commitment to the principles enshrined in the Japanese Constitution, his rule being known as the Heisei period (‘perfect peace’). In 2001, his son, Crown Prince Naruhito, ensured the imperial succession as Crown Princess Masako gave birth to a baby girl. In 2006, his younger son, Prince Akishino, and his wife, Princess Kiko, gave birth to a son, who under current laws would succeed Crown Prince Naruhito.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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