Emperor Hirohito: The Longest Emperor of Japan and Traces of His History

Hirohito, the 142nd Emperor of Japan, played a major role in many historical events. This man, who is also known by his posthumous name Emperor Showa, was the emperor with the longest reign in Japanese history, from 1926 to 1989. Under his leadership, Japan was involved in various wars. Starting from the Manchuria Incident (1931), the Nanking Incident (1937), World War II, and Pearl Harbor. During his reign, Japan also invaded several countries, such as Indonesia, South Korea, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Burma and Malaya.

Hirohito or Michinomiya Hirohito was born at Aoyama Castle, Tokyo, April 29, 1901. He was the first son of Emperor Yoshihito and Empress Teimei. Hirohito was educated at Peers and the Crown Prince Institute. In his youth, he was interested in developing marine biology. Starting from there, Hirohito then began to write several books. In 1921, Hirohito went to Europe. He became the first Japanese crown prince to go abroad. After returning to Japan, he was made Prince Regent, after his father retired due to mental illness.

Then, in 1924, Hirohito married Princess Nagako Kuni. Hirohito was appointed Emperor of Japan on December 25, 1926, after his father died. During his father's reign as emperor, his era was called the Showa era, which means peace and enlightenment. Instead, a number of wars raged under Hirohito's leadership. Here are some of them.

In Hirohito's era, there was the Manchurian Incident or Mukden Incident. This was an incident that occurred in South Manchuria when a Japanese-owned railroad was bombed by a Japanese junior officer. This attack was a strategy so that Japan could invade China. Throughout the early 20th century, Japan had maintained special rights in Manchuria. They also felt that regional neutrality was necessary for the defense of the Japanese colonies. The Japanese were worried that their position in Manchuria would be threatened by China.

On the night of September 18, 1931, Japanese troops used the pretext of an explosion along the Japanese-controlled South Manchurian Railway to occupy Mukden. Although this attack did not damage the railroad, the Japanese put up resistance in what was deemed a "Chinese attack". The Japanese army began an artillery barrage on the Chinese garrison the next day. Within five months of the Mukden Incident, Japanese imperial troops had invaded all the major cities in the provinces of Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang.

Hirohito's era was also marked by the Nanking Incident, which occurred on December 13, 1937 to January 1938. The Nanking Incident was a mass killing and mass rape by the Japanese army against the residents of Nanking, which became the capital of China at that time. During this period of incidents, between 40,000 and over 300,000 Chinese civilians were killed by imperial Japanese troops. Victims during the Japanese invasion of China did not only occur among men, but also women. At least 20,000 women and girls were raped by the Japanese military.

The Japanese leader did not want the United States to intervene too much in its actions in the war in the Asia Pacific.

Pearl Harbor was attacked by about 300 Japanese fighters, both bombers and torpedo planes. A total of 188 US aircraft, three cruisers, three destroyers, one anti-aircraft training ship and one minelayer were destroyed. Japan's action received support from the axis countries, Germany and Italy.


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