Birthday of Emperor Akihito

Birthday of Emperor Akihito

The Birthday of Emperor Akihito is celebrated on December 23 every year in Japan. It aims to celebrate the life and reign of Emperor Akihito, the 125th emperor of Japan, whose reign lasted from January 7, 1989, to April 30, 2019. Akihito ascended the throne after his father, Emperor Hirohito passed away. The duration of his reign is known as the ‘Heisei’ era, which translates to ‘become peace’ — an expression of striving for peace across the world. Emperor Akihito ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne at the tail-end of the Japanese economic miracle. The yen was at an all-time high, and money was flowing into the economy. It was also during his reign that Japan experienced its ‘Lost Decade,’ a period of great economic difficulty after Japan’s bubble economy burst.


Akihito was born on December 23, 1933, in Tokyo as the eldest son of Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako. During the Allied occupation of Japan, Akihito was tutored in English. He was the heir-apparent to the throne from the moment he was born; however, he was only officially appointed as the crown prince in 1952. He was married to Michiko Shoda in 1959 and had three children with her — Naruhito, Fumihto, and Sayako. Akihito ascended the Chrysanthemum throne on January 7, 1989.

Only three months after the death of Emperor Hirohito, Akihito began issuing statements of remorse to several Asian countries for the suffering they experienced under Japanese occupation, beginning with China. He also made attempts to bring the imperial family closer to the Japanese people.

On July 13, 2016, it was first reported that Akihito was planning to abdicate the throne. This marked a massive milestone in the Japanese imperial family as the last time the family had witnessed an abdication was in 1817. The one-off bill allowing the abdication was passed on June 8, 2017, and the throne was passed on to Akihito’s oldest son, the current emperor Naruhito on April 30, 2019.

Birthday of Emperor Akihito
Birthday of Emperor Akihito


December 23, 1933

Prince Akihito is born.

Crown Prince

Akihito is appointed as the Japanese crown prince.

January 17, 1989
Becoming Emperor

Akihito ascends to the throne.

April 30, 2019

Akihito abdicates the Chrysanthemum throne.


How old is Akihito?

He is 88 years old.

How old was Akihito when he became emperor?

Akihito was 56 when he became the emperor of Japan.

Who was the first emperor of Japan?

Jimmu Tennō was the first emperor of Japan.


  1. Learn about Emperor Akihito’s reign

    You can celebrate the day by reading about Emperor Akihito’s long and eventful reign. You never know what you might discover.

  2. Read about Japanese imperialism

    Akihito spent considerable time issuing statements of remorse to countries Japan had colonized. Learn about Japanese imperialism to understand why.

  3. Visit Japan

    Though there may be little to no official festivities, visit Japan to understand the legacy of Akihito’s reign. Not only will the history be interesting, culturally it is a beautiful country.

Birthday of Emperor Akihito
Birthday of Emperor Akihito


  1. It is illegal to make clones

    It is illegal to experiment with cloning human beings in Japan!

  2. Illegal to gamble

    It is also illegal to gamble in Japan.

  3. Professional people pushers

    The city of Tokyo hires workers to push people inside trains during rush hours.

  4. Power naps at work

    Taking power naps during the workday is an encouraged practice in Japan.

  5. Waistline monitoring

    As per law, the waistlines of Japanese citizens between the ages of 40 and 74 are measured by the government annually.


  1. It honors an important figure in Japanese history

    Emperor Akihito is an important figure in modern Japanese history. This day honors him and his legacy.

  2. It’s a reminder of the post-war Japanese legacy

    Japan has an interesting post-war history. The Birthday of Emperor Akihito is a reminder of that.

  3. It’s a reminder of imperial existence

    The Birthday of Emperor Akihito is a reminder that monarchies continue to exist worldwide. They are not relics of the past as one may think them to be.

    Birthday of Emperor Akihito
    Birthday of Emperor Akihito

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