Hirohito was the 124th Emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 25 December 1926, until his death on 7 January 1989. He was succeeded by Akihito. In Japan, reigning emperors are known as "the Emperor" and he is now referred to by his posthumous name, Emperor Shōwa; the word Shōwa is the name of the era coinciding with the Emperor's reign, after which he is known according to a tradition dating to 1912. The name Hirohito means "abundant benevolence". At the start of his reign, Japan was one of the great powers—the ninth-largest economy in the world, the third-largest naval power, one of the four permanent members of the council of the League of Nations, he was the head of state under the Constitution of the Empire of Japan during Japan's imperial expansion and involvement in World War II. After Japan's surrender, he was not prosecuted for war crimes as many other leading government figures were, his degree of involvement in wartime decisions remains controversial.
During the post-war period, he became the symbol of the new state under the post-war constitution and Japan's recovery, by the end of his reign, Japan had emerged as the world's second largest economy. Born in Tokyo's Aoyama Palace on 29 April 1901, Hirohito was the first son of 21-year old Crown Prince Yoshihito and 17-year old Crown Princess Sadako, he was the grandson of Yanagihara Naruko. His childhood title was Prince Michi. On the 70th day after his birth, Hirohito was removed from the court and placed in the care of the family of Count Kawamura Sumiyoshi, a former vice-admiral, to rear him as if he were his own grandchild. At the age of 3, Hirohito and his brother Chichibu were returned to court when Kawamura died – first to the imperial mansion in Numazu, Shizuoka back to the Aoyama Palace. In 1908, he began elementary studies at the Gakushūin; when his grandfather, Emperor Meiji, died on 30 July 1912, Hirohito's father, assumed the throne and Hirohito became the heir apparent. At the same time, he was formally commissioned in both the army and navy as a second lieutenant and ensign and was decorated with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Chrysanthemum.
In 1914, he was promoted to the ranks of lieutenant in the army and sub-lieutenant in the navy to captain and lieutenant in 1916. He was formally proclaimed Crown Prince and heir apparent on 2 November 1916. Hirohito attended Gakushūin Peers' School from 1908 to 1914 and a special institute for the crown prince from 1914 to 1921. In 1920, Hirohito was promoted to the rank of Major in the army and Lieutenant Commander in the navy. In 1921, Hirohito took a six-month tour of Western Europe, including the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium. After his return to Japan, Hirohito became Regent of Japan on 29 November 1921, in place of his ailing father, affected by a mental illness. In 1923, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the army and Commander in the navy, to army Colonel and Navy Captain in 1925. During Hirohito's regency, a number of important events occurred: In the Four-Power Treaty on Insular Possessions signed on 13 December 1921, the United States and France agreed to recognize the status quo in the Pacific, Japan and Britain agreed to terminate formally the Anglo-Japanese Alliance.
The Washington Naval Treaty was signed on 6 February 1922. Japan withdrew troops from the Siberian Intervention on 28 August 1922; the Great Kantō earthquake devastated Tokyo on 1 September 1923. On 27 December 1923, Daisuke Namba attempted to assassinate Hirohito in the Toranomon Incident but his attempt failed. During interrogation, he claimed to be a communist and was executed but some have suggested that he was in contact with the Nagacho faction in the Army. Prince Hirohito married his distant cousin Princess Nagako Kuni, the eldest daughter of Prince Kuniyoshi Kuni, on 26 January 1924, they had five daughters. The daughters who lived to adulthood left the imperial family as a result of the American reforms of the Japanese imperial household in October 1947 or under the terms of the Imperial Household Law at the moment of their subsequent marriages. On 25 December 1926, Hirohito assumed the throne upon Yoshihito's, death; the Crown Prince was said to have received the succession. The Taishō era's end and the Shōwa era's beginning were proclaimed.
The deceased Emperor was posthumously renamed Emperor Taishō within days. Following Japanese custom, the new Emperor was never referred to by his given name, but rather was referred to as "His Majesty the Emperor", which may be shortened to "His Majesty". In writing, the Emperor was referred to formally as "The Reigning Emperor". In November 1928, the Emperor's ascension was confirmed in ceremonies which are conventionally identified as "enthronement" and "coronation"; the first part of Hirohito's reign took plac
The Emperor's Birthday
The Emperor's Birthday is a national holiday in the Japanese calendar celebrated on the birthday of the reigning Emperor, 23 December, as Emperor Akihito was born on that day in 1933. Akihito is due to retire on 30 April 2019, meaning that the holiday will not be observed in 2019, its next celebration will be on the birthday of Crown Prince Naruhito. During the reign of Emperor Hirohito, the Emperor's birthday was observed on 29 April; that date remained a public holiday, posthumously renamed Greenery Day in 1989 and Shōwa Day in 2007. Prior to World War II, it was called Tenchōsetsu, "Tenchō Festival". Tenchōsetsu paralleled Chikyūsetsu, "Chikyū Festival", which referred to the Empress consort's birthday; the two names originate from the Chinese idiom 天長地久, borrowed from Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching during the reign of Emperor Kōnin, meaning "The sky and the earth, the universe is eternal", expressed a hope for the eternal longevity of the reigning Emperor. After the war, the new government renamed it to Tennō tanjōbi, in less formal language with a more literal meaning in 1948, when it was established as a holiday by law.
Under the law, the National Diet must convene and change the holiday date before the reigning Emperor's birthday becomes a public holiday. Thus, there exists a small chance that the former Emperor's birthday may come before the change can be made. On the Emperor's birthday, a public ceremony takes place at the Imperial Palace, where the gates of the palace are opened to public traffic; the Emperor, accompanied by the Empress, several other members of the imperial family appear on a palace balcony to acknowledge the birthday congratulations of crowds of festive well-wishers waving tiny Japanese flags. Only on this occasion and on 2 January may the general public enter the inner grounds of the Imperial Palace; when the Emperor ceases his greeting, the crowd starts waving the flags again and the Imperial Family waves back. The Imperial Household Agency His Majesty's Birthday Receptions Visit of the General Public to the Palace for His Majesty's Birthday
Obon or just Bon is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honour the spirits of one's ancestors. This Buddhist-Confucian custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their ancestors' graves, when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars, it has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon-Odori. The festival of Obon lasts for three days; when the lunar calendar was changed to the Gregorian calendar at the beginning of the Meiji era, the localities in Japan reacted differently and this resulted in three different times of Obon. "Shichigatsu Bon" is based on the solar calendar and is celebrated around 15 July in eastern Japan, coinciding with Chūgen. "Hachigatsu Bon" is based on the lunar calendar, is celebrated around the 15th of August and is the most celebrated time. "Kyū Bon" is celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, so differs each year.
"Kyū Bon" is celebrated in areas like the northern part of the Kantō region, Chūgoku region and the Okinawa Prefecture. These three days are not listed as public holidays but it is customary that people are given leave. Obon is a shortened form of Ullambana, it implies great suffering. The Japanese believe they should ameliorate the suffering of the "Urabanna". Bon Odori originates from the story of Maha Maudgalyayana, a disciple of the Buddha, who used his supernatural powers to look upon his deceased mother, he was suffering. Disturbed, he went to the Buddha and asked how he could release his mother from this realm. Buddha instructed him to make offerings to the many Buddhist monks who had just completed their summer retreat, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month; the disciple did this and, saw his mother's release. He began to see the true nature of her past selflessness and the many sacrifices that she had made for him; the disciple, happy because of his mother's release and grateful for his mother's kindness, danced with joy.
From this dance of joy comes Bon Odori or "Bon Dance", a time in which ancestors and their sacrifices are remembered and appreciated. See also: Ullambana Sutra; as Obon occurs in the heat of the summer, participants traditionally wear yukata, or light cotton kimonos. Many Obon celebrations include a huge carnival with rides and summer festival food like watermelon. Families sent their ancestors' spirits back to their permanent dwelling place under the guidance of fire: this rite was known as sending fire. Fire marks the commencement as well as the closing of the festival. Bon Odori, meaning Bon dance, is a style of dancing performed during Obon. A Nenbutsu folk dance to welcome the spirits of the dead, the style of celebration varies in many aspects from region to region; each region has a local dance, as well as different music. The music can be songs pertinent to the spiritual message of Obon, or local min'yō folk songs; the Bon dance will look and sound different from region to region. Hokkaidō is known for a folk-song known as "Sōran Bushi".
The song "Tokyo Ondo" takes its namesake from the capital of Japan. "Gujo Odori" in Gujō in Gifu Prefecture is famous for all night dancing. "Gōshū Ondo" is a folk song from Shiga Prefecture. Residents of the Kansai area will recognize the famous "Kawachi ondo". Tokushima in Shikoku is famous for its "Awa Odori", in the far south, one can hear the "Ohara Bushi" of Kagoshima; the way in which the dance is performed is different in each region, though the typical Bon dance involves people lining up in a circle around a high wooden scaffold made for the festival called a yagura. The yagura is also the bandstand for the musicians and singers of the Obon music; some dances proceed clockwise, some dances proceed counter-clockwise around the yagura. Some dances reverse during the dance. At times, people face the move towards and away from it. Still some dances, such as the Kagoshima Ohara dance, the Tokushima Awa Odori proceed in a straight line through the streets of the town; the dance of a region can depict the area's specialization.
For example, the movements of the dance of the Tankō Bushi of old Miike Mine in Kyushu show the movements of miners, i.e. digging, cart pushing, lantern hanging, etc.. All dancers perform the same dance sequence in unison. There are other ways; some dances involve the use of different kinds of fans, others involve the use of small towels called tenugui which may have colourful designs. Some require "kachi-kachi" during the dance; the "Hanagasa Odori" of Yamagata is performed with a straw hat, decorated with flowers. The music, played during the Bon dance is not limited to Obon music and min'yō; the Bon dance tradition is said to have started in the years of the Muromachi period as a public entertainment. In the course of time, the original religious meaning has faded, the dance has become associated with summer; the Bon dance performed in the Okinawa Islands is known as eisā. The
The traditional China calendar, or Former Calendar, Traditional Calendar or Lunar Calendar, is a lunisolar calendar which reckons years and days according to astronomical phenomena. It is defined by GB/T 33661-2017, "Calculation and promulgation of the Chinese calendar", issued by the Standardisation Administration of China on 12 May 2017. Although modern day China uses the Gregorian calendar, the traditional Chinese calendar governs holidays in China and in overseas Chinese communities, it lists the dates of traditional Chinese holidays and guides people in selecting auspicious days for weddings, moving, or starting a business. Like Chinese characters, variants of this calendar are used in different parts of the Chinese cultural sphere. Korea and the Ryukyu Islands adopted the calendar, it evolved into Korean and Ryukyuan calendars; the main difference from the traditional Chinese calendar is the use of different meridians, which leads to some astronomical events—and calendar events based on them—falling on different dates.
The traditional Japanese calendar derived from the Chinese calendar, but its official use in Japan was abolished in 1873 as part of reforms after the Meiji Restoration. Calendars in Mongolia and Tibet have absorbed elements of the traditional Chinese calendar, but are not direct descendants of it. Days begin and end at midnight, months begin on the day of the new moon. Years begin on the second new moon after the winter solstice. Solar terms govern the end of each month. Written versions in ancient China included stems and branches of the year and the names of each month, including leap months as needed. Characters indicated whether a month was short; the traditional Chinese calendar was developed between 771 and 476 BC, during the Spring and Autumn period of the Eastern Zhou dynasty. Before the Zhou dynasty, solar calendars were used. One version of the solar calendar is the five-elements calendar. A 365-day year was divided into five phases of 73 days, with each phase corresponding to a Day 1 Wu Xing element.
A phase began followed by six 12-day weeks. Each phase consisted of two three-week months. Years began followed by a bǐngzǐ day and a 72-day fire phase. Other days were tracked using the Yellow River Map. Another version is a four-quarters calendar. Weeks were ten days long, with one month consisting of three weeks. A year had 12 months, with a ten-day week intercalated in summer as needed to keep up with the tropical year; the 10 Heavenly Stems and 12 Earthly Branches were used to mark days. A third version is the balanced calendar. A year was 365.25 days, a month was 29.5 days. After every 16th month, a half-month was intercalated. According to oracle bone records, the Shang dynasty calendar was a balanced calendar with 12 to 14 months in a year; the first lunisolar calendar was the Zhou calendar, introduced under the Zhou dynasty. This calendar set the beginning of the year at the day of the new moon before the winter solstice, it set the shàngyuán as the winter solstice of a dīngsì year, making the year it was introduced around 2,758,130.
Several competing lunisolar calendars were introduced by states fighting Zhou control during the Warring States period. The state of Lu issued its own Lu calendar. Jin issued the Xia calendar in AD 102, with a year beginning on the day of the new moon nearest the March equinox. Qin issued the Zhuanxu calendar, with a year beginning on the day of the new moon nearest the winter solstice. Song's Yin calendar began its year on the day of the new moon after the winter solstice; these calendars are known as the six ancient calendars, or quarter-remainder calendars, since all calculate a year as 365 1⁄4 days long. Months begin on the day of the new moon, a year has 12 or 13 months. Intercalary months are added to the end of the year; the Qiang and Dai calendars are modern versions of the Zhuanxu calendar, used by mountain peoples. After Qin Shi Huang unified China under the Qin dynasty in 221 BC, the Qin calendar was introduced, it followed most of the rules governing the Zhuanxu calendar, but the month order was that of the Xia calendar.
The intercalary month, known as the second Jiǔyuè, was placed at the end of the year. The Qin calendar was used into the Han dynasty. Emperor Wu of Han r. 141 – 87 BC introduced reforms halfway through his reign. His Taichu Calendar defined a solar year as 365 385⁄1539 days, the lunar month was 29 43⁄81 days; this calendar introduced the 24 solar terms. Solar terms were paired, with the 12 combined periods known as climate terms; the first solar term of the period was known as a pre-climate, the second was a mid-climate. Months were named for the mid-climat
Shōwa Day is a Japanese annual holiday held on April 29. It honors the birthday of Emperor Shōwa, the reigning emperor from 1926 to 1989. Shō means “shining” or “bright”, wa means “peace”, signifying the "enlightened peace" that citizens receive. According to the now defunct Democratic Party of Japan, the purpose of the holiday is to encourage public reflection on the turbulent 63 years of Hirohito's reign. Coincidentally, Shōwa Day happens on the same date that in 1948 the Allies' International Military Tribunal for the Far East condemned key officials of the Imperial government during World War II to death, including former Prime Minister Hideki Tojo. Emperor Hirohito died on January 7, 1989. April 29 was subsequently no longer celebrated as The Emperor's Birthday but instead as Greenery Day, part of Japan's Golden Week. After a series of failed legislative attempts beginning in 2000, the April 29 holiday was renamed Shōwa Day in 2007, Greenery Day was moved from April 29 to May 4. According to the then-main opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan, the holiday encourages public reflection on the turbulent 63 years of Hirohito's reign rather than glorifying the emperor himself.
Hirohito's reign saw, among other things, the end of the Taishō Democracy, the 1931 Japanese invasion of Manchuria, a period of "government by assassination" including the attempted coups of May 15, 1932 and February 26, 1936, the rise of the totalitarian Taisei Yokusankai, World War II, the post-war occupation, the 1964 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, the North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens, the Japanese post-war economic miracle. Holidays of Japan Japanese calendar Meaning of Shōwa
Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan
Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan is the elder son of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, which makes him the heir apparent to the Chrysanthemum Throne. Naruhito is expected to succeed his father as Emperor on 1 May 2019, following the latter's abdication on 30 April 2019. According to Japan's traditional order of succession, if he ascends the throne on that date, he will become the 126th emperor of the world's oldest monarchy, he will become Japan's first emperor, born after World War II. At the naming of the new Japanese era on 1 April 2019, it was announced that Naruhito will reign over the Reiwa era. Naruhito was born on 23 February 1960 at 4:15 pm in the Imperial Household Agency Hospital in Tokyo Imperial Palace; the prince quipped, "I was born in a barn inside the moat". His mother, Empress Michiko, is a convert to Shinto from Roman Catholicism. Prior to Naruhito's birth, the announcement about the-then Crown Prince Akihito's engagement and marriage to the then-Ms. Michiko Shōda had drawn opposition from traditionalist groups, because Shōda came from a Roman Catholic family.
Although Shōda was never baptized, she was educated in Catholic schools and seemed to share the faith of her parents. Rumors speculated that Empress Kōjun had opposed the engagement. After the death of Naruhito's paternal-grandmother Empress Kōjun in 2000, Reuters reported that she was one of the strongest opponents of her son's marriage, that in the 1960s, she had driven her daughter-in-law and grandchildren to depression by persistently accusing her of not being suitable for her son. Naruhito's childhood was reported to be happy, he enjoyed such diverse hobbies as music, mountain climbing, riding, he played with the children of the royal chamberlain, he was a fan of the Yomiuri Giants in the Central League, his favorite player being No. 3-turned-team manager Shigeo Nagashima. One day, Naruhito found the remains of an ancient roadway on the palace grounds, sparking a lifelong fascination with the history of transportation, which would provide the subject of his bachelor's and master's degrees in history.
He said, "I have had a keen interest in roads since childhood. On roads you can go to the unknown world. Since I have been leading a life where I have few chances to go out roads are a precious bridge to the unknown world, so to speak."In August 1974, when the prince was 14, he was sent to Melbourne, Australia for a homestay. Naruhito's father the Crown Prince Akihito, had a positive experience there on a trip the year before and encouraged his son to go as well, he stayed with the family of businessman Colin Harper. He got along with his host brothers, riding around Point Lonsdale, playing violin and tennis, climbing Uluru together. Once he played violin for dignitaries at a state dinner at Government House hosted by Governor-General Sir John Kerr; when Naruhito was four years old he was enrolled in the prestigious Gakushūin school system, where many of Japan's elite families and narikin send their children. In senior high, Naruhito joined the geography club. Naruhito graduated from Gakushuin University in March 1982 with a Bachelor of Letters degree in History.
In July of the next year he entered a three-month intensive English course before entering Merton College, Oxford University, in the United Kingdom, where he would study until 1986. Naruhito would not, submit his thesis A Study of Navigation and Traffic on the Upper Thames in the 18th Century until 1989, he revisited these years in his book, The Thames and I – a Memoir of Two Years at Oxford. Among his sightseeing destinations were some 21 historic pubs, including the Trout Inn and The White Hart. Naruhito joined the Japan Society and the drama society, was the honorary president of the karate and judo clubs, he played inter-college tennis, seeding number three out of six on the Merton team, took golf lessons from a pro. In his three years at Merton he climbed the highest peaks in three of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom: Scotland's Ben Nevis, Wales' Snowdon and Scafell Pike in England. While at Oxford, Naruhito was able to go sightseeing across Europe and meet many of its royalty, including the British royal family.
The relaxed manners of the United Kingdom's royals amazed him: "Queen Elizabeth II, he noted with surprise, poured her own tea and served the sandwiches." He went skiing with Liechtenstein's Hans-Adam II, holidayed on Majorca in the Mediterranean with Juan Carlos I, sailed with Norway's Harald and Sonja and Beatrix of the Netherlands. Upon his return to Japan, Naruhito would enroll once more in Gakushūin University to earn a Master of Humanities degree in History earning his degree in 1988. Naruhito first met Masako Owada at a tea for Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo in November 1986, during her studies at the University of Tokyo; the prince was captivated by her, arranged for them to meet several times over the next few weeks. Because of this, they were pursued relentlessly by the press throughout 1987. Despite the Imperial Household Agency's disapproval of Masako, her attending Balliol College, for the next two years, Naruhito remained interested in Masako, he would go on to propose to her three times before the Imperial Palace announced their engagement on 19 January 1993.
The wedding took place on 9 June the same year at the Imperial Shinto Hall in Tokyo before 800 invited guests, including many of Europe's heads of state and royalty, an estimated media audience of 500 million people around the world. After the wedding, the couple moved on the Akasaka Estate in Minato, Tokyo. By the time of their marriage, Naruhito's grandfather Emperor Shōwa had d