Hirohito was the 124th Emperor of Japan, his reign beginning in December 25, 1926 and lasting until his death in 1989. In Japan, he is officially referred to as Emperor Showa and or Showa Emperor, the word Showa being the name of the era in which he reigned.
Hirohito was born in the Aoyama Palace in Tokyo. He was the first son of Crown Prince Yoshihito and Crown Princess Sadako. Upon the death of Emperor Meiji, Hirohito's grandfather, his father took the thrown. In 1924, Hirohito married his distant cousin Nagako Kuni, the future Empress Kojun. They had two sons and five daughters. On December 25, 1926, Hirohito took the thrown after the death of his father. His father's death saw the end of the Taisho era and the beginning of the Showa Era.
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When Hirohito began his leadership, Japan was already one of the great powers, ranking as the ninth largest economy in the world, the third largest naval country, and one of the five permanent members of the council of the League of Nations. He was the head of state during Japan's imperial expansion and involvement in World War II. After the war, he became the symbol of the new state.
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In September 1987 it was discovered Hirohito had duodenal cancer. He appeared to making a full recovery, however, a year later he collapsed in his palace and his health quickly declined thereafter. In January 1989 the emperor died, bringing the end of the Showa era. His funeral was held on February 24th and was attended by a larger number of world leaders, such as George Bush, French President Francois Mitterrand, the Duke of Edinburgh and many others. Hirohito was succeeded by his son, Akihito.