Profession: Emperor of Japan
Why Famous: Primarily referred to in Japan by his posthumous name Emperor Shōwa. Hirohito was the Emperor of Japan from 1926 to 1989, encompassing the entire period of World War II and its recovery. As emperor during the war, Hirohito saw Japan's empire expand rapidly through Asia, embarking on wars in China and the Pacific before suffering defeat and eventually surrender in 1945.
Though the degree of his personal involvement in wartime decisions remains a subject of debate for historians, the Allied powers decided not to prosecute him for Japan's numerous war crimes; General Douglas MacArthur worked with him in the post-war era to ensure the return of a stable, democratic Japan. In return Japan's constitution forbid the use of war and Hirohito renounced his divine status.
During the post-war period he became a symbol of Japan's rapid reconstruction and emergence as one of the largest economies in the world.
- 1922-11-25 Crown Prince Hirohito of Japan becomes Regent of Japan in his ailing father's stead
- 1923-12-27 Emperor Hirohito of Japan narrowly evades an assassination attempt by a Korean independence activist, Lee Bong-chang
- 1926-12-25 Crown Prince Hirohito of Japan assumes the throne upon his father, Emperor Yoshihito's, death
- 1928-11-10 Emperor Hirohito of Japan's possession of the Imperial Regalia is publicly confirmed
- 1941-11-30 Japanese Emperor Hirohito consults with admirals Shimada and Nagano
- 1941-12-01 Japanese Emperor Hirohito signs declaration of war
- 1945-08-10 Japan announces willingness to surrender to Allies, provided Emperor Hirohito's status remains unchanged
- 1945-08-11 Allies refuse Japan's offer to surrender on the condition that Emperor Hirohito retains his status
- 1945-08-12 Emperor Hirohito of Japan informs the imperial family that he has decided to surrender
- 1945-09-27 US General and head of the Allied occupation of Japan, Douglas MacArthur, meets Emperor Hirohito in Tokyo for the first time
- 1946-01-01 Emperor Hirohito of Japan announces he is not a god
- 1946-11-03 Emperor Hirohito proclaims a new Japanese constitution
- 1947-05-03 Japan's post-war constitution goes into effect, granting universal suffrage, stripping Emperor Hirohito of all but symbolic power and outlawing Japan's right to make war
- 1950-02-01 USSR demands condemnation of Emperor Hirohito for war crimes
- 1971-10-09 Japanese Emperor Hirohito visits the Netherlands
- 1975-10-09 Emperor Hirohito of Japan visits San Francisco