Hirohito, the 124th emperor of Japan who lead World War II

In the East Asia, Japan won the World War I had Korea, Taiwan, some parts of China that was possessed by Germany before the World War I. After the WWI, Japan became the popular industrial country. However, by the concern of US, they stopped the export of the oil and iron ore to Japan and it made a difficult in the industry of Japan. Therefore, Japan attacked the East South Asia, where the typical raw material production area, and join the World war II. During this time the emperor of Japan, whose name is Hirohito – Michinomiya Hirohito as the real name – lead the soldiers to the war.
Hirohito (Michinomiya Hirohito)

  • Nationality : Japan
  • Birth –Death : April 29th, 1901 – January 7th, 1989
  • Job : The king of Japan (Dishow)
  • Wife : Guninomiya Nagako (Cousin)
  • He was the longest-reigning monarch in Japan’s history.
  • Hirohito was born at the Aoyama Palace in Tokyo and was educated at the Peers’ School and at the Crown Prince’s Institute. Early in life he developed an interest in marine biology, on which he later wrote several books. In 1921 he visited Europe, becoming the first Japanese crown prince to travel abroad. Upon his return he was named prince regent when his father, the Taisho emperor, retired because of mental illness. In 1924 Hirohito married the princess Nagako Kuni.

At that time in Japan was the Shouwa(しょうわ) period, so the royal authority was still strong. A king ruled the country and ordered anything what he wanted. Michinomiya Hirohito was the first son of the Dieshou(Japanese king). After his father (Yoshihito) died in 47 years old, Hirohito became the 124th king of Japan.
The first part of Emperor Shōwa's reign as sovereign (between 1926 and 1945) saw an increase in the power of the military within the government, through both legal and extralegal means. The Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy had held veto power over the formation of cabinets since 1900, and between 1921 and 1944, there were no fewer than sixty-four incidents of right-wing political violence.
The assassination of moderate Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi, in 1932, marked the end of any real civilian control of the military. This was followed by an attempted military coup in February 1936, the February 26 Incident, mounted by junior Army officers of the Kōdōha faction who had the sympathy of many high-ranking officers including Prince Chichibu (Yasuhito), one of the emperor's brothers. The coup occurred when the militarist faction lost ground in Diet elections, and resulted in the murder of a number of high government and Army officials. Emperor Hirohito angrily assumed a major role in confronting the rebels. When Chief Aide-de-camp Shigeru Honjō informed him of the revolt, the emperor immediately ordered that it be put down, and referred to the officers as rebels (bōto). Shortly thereafter, he ordered Army minister Yoshiyuki Kawashima to suppress the rebels within one hour, and he asked for reports on the situation to be made every thirty minutes. The next day, when told by Honjō that little progress was being made by the high command in quashing the rebels, the emperor told him "I myself will lead the Konoe Division and subdue them." This was not necessary; on February 29, the rebellion was suppressed.
From the 1930s, the military clique held almost all political power in Japan, and pursued policies that eventually led Japan to fight the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937) and World War II (1945).
Many historians have asserted that Emperor Hirohito personally had grave misgivings about war with the United States and opposed Japan's alliance with Germany and Italy, but was powerless to resist the military figures who dominated the armed forces and the government. Other historians claim that Emperor Hirohito might have been involved in the planning of Japan's expansionist policies from 1931 to World War II, in closed meetings with his cabinet and military advisers. Historical perception of the emperor may have been distorted by the secrecy in which he lived before World War II, and the efforts of the Allies to redefine the role of the Emperor after the war.2.png
According to the traditional view, Emperor Shōwa was deeply concerned by the decision to place "war preparations first and diplomatic negotiations second," and he announced his intention to break with tradition. At the Imperial Conference on September 5, 1941, he directly questioned the chiefs of the Army and Navy general staffs, a quite unprecedented action. Nevertheless, all speakers at the Imperial Conference were united in favor of war rather than diplomacy. Baron Yoshimichi Hara, President of the Imperial Council and the emperor's representative, then questioned them closely, producing replies to the effect that war would only be considered as a last resort from some, and silence from others. At this point, Emperor Hirohito astonished all present by addressing the conference personally, and in breaking the tradition of Imperial silence left his advisers, "struck with awe." (Prime Minister Konoe's description of the event.) Emperor Shōwa stressed the need for peaceful resolution of international problems, expressed regret at his ministers' failure to respond to Baron Hara's probings, and recited a poem written by his grandfather, Emperor Meiji which, he said, he had read "over and over again: Methinks all the people of the world are brethren, then. Why are the waves and the wind so unsettled nowadays?"
Recovering from their shock, the ministers hastened to express their profound wish to explore all possible peaceful avenues.
Near the end of the war, in 1945, Japan was close to defeat and the country's leaders were divided between those wishing to surrender, and those insisting on a desperate defense of the home islands against an anticipated Allied invasion. Emperor Hirohito settled the dispute in favor of those who wanted peace. On August 15, 1945, he broke the precedent of imperial silence by making a national radio broadcast to announce Japan's acceptance of the Allies' terms of surrender. In a second historic broadcast on January 1, 1946, Hirohito publicly repudiated the traditional quasi-divine status of Japan's emperors.
To do these works, Hirohito needed the proponent that can always support him. During his reign, he got 2 people who he can believe in any situation.
1. Minobe Tatsukichi, (born May 7, 1873, Hyōgo prefecture, Japan—died May 23, 1948, Tokyo), legal expert who reinterpreted the position of the imperial institution within the Japanese constitution as that of an “organ of state.” This view of the emperor, who until that time had been considered the divine embodiment of the state, greatly altered Japanese political theory.


2. Hideki Tojo was born in 1884 and died in 1948. Hideki Tojo was Prime Minister of Japan when the attack on Pearl Harbour took place plunging the Far East into a war which was to end with the destruction of Hiroshima in August 1945. For his part in leading Japan into World War 2, Tojo was executed as a war criminal.

Many people say Hirohito was a weak pacifist. They say the power of the old Japanese military was enormous, so the king had to agree their idea. However, this is the wrong idea. At a Japanese writing festival, the <Monologue of Shouwa king> was announced in December 1990. This is the relics of ‘Derasaki hidenari’, that worked at the Japanese palace. He was a crucial character of international translator between Japan and US. This monologue was written after Derasaki and other 4 vassals listened what Hirohito said. This was written from March 18th, 1946 to April 8th. They wrote directly what Hirohito said or thought during the war.
The argument was why they leaved this document. Two ideas were emerge, one was the ‘simple monologue’, and the other one was ‘Justification about the war’. However, another book revealed Japanese mind. There was another monologue that was found by the NHK team, that was taken custody by a daughter of Bonner Fellers. This was the same monologue written by English. Why did they make this book into English? This became the big reason for the idea that ‘The monologue was just the prepared excuse of the war’. More surprised fact is this book was made by the order of Hirohito.

*Did he have a weak power to control the country?

In February 26th, 1936, there was a rebellion between the new generation and old military generation. The new military people of 148 killed the old people who disagreed about the war. The military spokesmen ‘Kawasima Yosiyouki’ imposed the king not to deny those 148 young soldiers. But, Hirohito was really mad at this happening and said he will participated the war by himself. Also, when the military power was the peak, he intervened at the political affair quite easily.
*Was he a pacifist?
While he governed the land, he agreed to the idea of the military to stir up the war. He did not punished any soldier who did the overact behavior to the other country. He did not care whether his military killed much people, pillaged women, or despoiled the estate. He rather liked these soldiers and when the vassals disagree to this happening, he dismissed them. After the war, Hirohito removed all documents that could be the evidence that he led the war. And he ordered some people to suicide saying that Hirohito was a pacifist and this were all the military’s fault.
*The books about Hirohito
There is a book called “HIROHITO AND THE MAKING OF MORDEN JAPEN”. Bix, Herbert P. wrote this book. In this book, the author wrote from the birth to the death of Hirohito. Be the king in 1926 and experienced the World War 2, surrendered after got the bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This book gives totally different perspective that people had – asserts that he was the virtual leader of the war. The author Herbert Bix says every reason why Hirohito should not get the exoneration.