Profession: Emperor of Japan
Why Famous: Akihito reigned as the Emperor of Japan from 1989 until his abdication in 2019, when he was succeeded by his son, Naruhito. Per Japanese imperial tradition, he will be formally known as Emperor Heisei upon his death. He succeeded his father, Hirohito, the wartime emperor, in 1989.
Known for his interest in marine biology, Akihito is a published scholar, having written articles for journals such as Science and Nature. His reign was marked by a personal touch to ruling, particularly in images of him and his wife meeting victims of disasters such as the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, as well as his commitment to pacifism in the face of a swing toward right-wing government in Japan.
In 2016 he made a rare television address where he expressed a desire to abdicate due to advanced age and failing health. The Japanese parliament passed legislation allowing him to become the first Japanese emperor to abdicate since Emperor Kōkaku in 1817. His abdication ceremony took place on April 30, 2019, and he was succeeded by Naruhito on May 1, who will govern in the Reiwa period.
- 1959-04-10 Japan's Crown Prince Akihito marries commoner Michiko Shoda
- 1989-01-07 Akihito becomes the 125th Emperor of Japan after the death of his father Horohito
- 1990-11-12 Crown Prince Akihito is formally installed as Emperor Akihito of Japan, becoming the 125th Japanese monarch.
- 1992-10-23 Emperor Akihito becomes the first Emperor of Japan to stand on Chinese soil
- 2017-06-11 Japan passes law allowing Emperor Akihito to abdicate
- 2019-04-30 Japanese Emperor Akihito declares his abdication at a ceremony in Tokyo which officially takes effect the following day
- 2019-05-01 Naruhito officially succeeds his father Akihito as the Emperor of Japan after the latter abdicated due to ill health