22 Facts About Akihito


Akihito presided over the Heisei era, Heisei being an expression of achieving peace worldwide.


Akihito has made efforts to bring the imperial family closer to the Japanese people, and has made official visits to all forty-seven prefectures of Japan and to many of the remote islands of Japan.


Akihito has a keen interest in natural life and conservation, as well as Japanese and world history.


Akihito abdicated in 2019, citing his advanced age and declining health, and assumed the title Emperor Emeritus.


At age 89, Akihito is the longest-lived verifiable Japanese emperor in recorded history.


Prince Akihito was born on 23 December 1933 at 6:39 am in the Tokyo Imperial Palace as the fifth child and eldest son of Emperor Showa and Empress Kojun.


Akihito was tutored in the English language and Western manners by Elizabeth Gray Vining during the Allied occupation of Japan, and later briefly studied at the department of political science at Gakushuin University in Tokyo, though he never received a degree.


Akihito was the heir apparent to the Chrysanthemum Throne from birth.


In June 1953, Akihito represented Japan at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in London in his first journey abroad.


Akihito later completed his university education as a special student in 1956.


Akihito expressed the desire to help bring the Imperial family closer to the people of Japan.


Under the Constitution of Japan, Akihito's role was entirely representative and ceremonial in nature, without even a nominal role in government; indeed, he was not allowed to make political statements.


Akihito was limited to acting in matters of state as delineated in the Constitution.


Akihito has never visited Yasukuni Shrine, continuing his predecessor's boycott from 1978, due to its enshrinement of war criminals.


In December 2021, Akihito celebrated his 88th birthday, making him the longest-living verifiable Japanese emperor in recorded history.


Emperor Akihito underwent surgery for prostate cancer on 14 January 2003.


Akihito has written papers for scholarly journals such as Gene, Ichthyological Research, and the Japanese Journal of Ichthyology.


Akihito has written papers about the history of science during the Edo and Meiji eras, which were published in Science and Nature.


In 2021, the Imperial Household Agency announced Akihito had discovered two new species of goby fish.


In 1965, then-Crown Prince Akihito sent 50 Nile tilapia to Thai emperor Bhumibol Adulyadej in response to a request for fish that could solve malnutrition issues in the country.


Akihito's patriline is the line from which he is descended father to son.


Patrilineal descent is the principle behind membership in royal houses, as it can be traced back through the generations, which means that Akihito is a member of the Imperial House of Japan.