Emperor Showa and Empress Kojun

Emperor Showa and Empress Kojun
Emperor Showa and Empress Kojun
(Photo: Imperial Household Agency)

Emperor Showa

Emperor Showa was born on 29 April 1901 at the Aoyama Detached Palace in Tokyo, the first son of Emperor Taisho. His Majesty's given name was Hirohito, and he was titled Prince Michi (Michi-no-Miya). On 30 July 1912, upon the demise of the Emperor Meiji, Prince Michi assumed the title of Crown Prince. From March 1921 the Crown Prince visited the countries of Europe for six months and upon his return to Japan, from 25 November 1921, assumed the Regency, owing to the illness of Emperor Taisho. On 26 January 1924, he married Princess Nagako, the first daughter of Late Prince Kuniyoshi of Kuni.

Upon the demise of Emperor Taisho on 25 December 1926, the Prince Regent ascended the throne as the 124th Emperor of Japan. The enthronement ceremonies (Sokui no Rei)took place in Kyoto in November 1928.

After WWII, in accordance with the Constitution of Japan, the Emperor was positioned as the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people. Accordingly, Emperor Showa performed his duties as stipulated in the Constitution on the advice and approval of the Cabinet, including receiving the credentials of foreign ambassadors, attesting the appointment of Ministers of State and other high officials, welcoming foreign Heads of State and other eminent foreign guests, and granting audiences. In the post-war period, Emperor Showa would visit the regions of Japan, to offer encouragement to the people who had been defeated in the war. Such occasions included the spring tree planting festival and the autumn National Athletic Festival, when Emperor Showa and Empress Kojun paid visits to observe the regional situation. In addition, in order to improve international friendly relations, the Emperor and Empress made visits to European countries in 1971 and the United States of America in 1975.

In 1976 and 1986, the 50th and 60th jubilee commemorations took place respectively.

During times when his schedule permitted, Emperor Showa continued his study of marine biology into both plants and animals and published many papers on this subject.

In September 1987 Emperor Showa was admitted to the Imperial Household Hospital and was operated on to remove an obstruction in the bowel tract. After being discharged from hospital Emperor Showa recovered to the extent that he was able to perform some of his official duties. However, in September 1988 his condition took a turn for the worse and although his will to recuperate remained strong, at 6:33am on 7 January 1989 at the Fukiage Palace, Emperor Showa passed away, succumbing to duodenal cancer. He was 87 years old and was posthumously named Emperor Showa.

The funeral ceremony of Emperor Showa was held on 24 February 1989 as a state ceremony in the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. In addition, on the same day the Imperial family performed funeral rites for Emperor Showa, the Sojoden no Gi (at the same place) and the Ryosho no Gi (within the Musashino Imperial Graveyard ). His Majesty's Mausoleum was named the Musashino no Misasagi.

1901 29 April Birth
1912 30 July Granted the title of Crown Prince
1916 3 November Ceremony of Investiture (Rittaishi no Rei)
1919 7 May Coming of Age Ceremony (At the age of 18) (Seinen Shiki)
1921 25 November Assumed the Regency
1924 26 January Marriage (to HIH Princess Nagako, first daughter of HIH Prince Kuniyoshi of Kuni)
1926 25 December Accession to the Throne
1928 10 November Ceremony of Enthronement (Sokui no Rei)
1928 14/15 November Great Feast of Enthronement (Daijosai)
1989 7 January Demise

Compositions of Emperor Showa

  • Title: Miyama Kiri Shima
  • Date of Publication: 3 November 1951
  • Editor: The Mainichi Newspapers Co., Ltd.
  • Publisher: The Mainichi Newspapers Co., Ltd.

Compositions and Poetry by Emperor Showa and Empress Kojun

  • Title: Akebono-shu
  • Date of Publication: 30 April 1974
  • Editor: Osamu Kimata
  • Publisher: The Yomiuri Newspapers Co., Ltd.

Empress Kojun

The Empress Kojun was born on 6 March 1903 in the Azabu district of Tokyo, the eldest daughter of Late Prince Kuniyoshi of Kuni and was given the name Nagako.

On 26 January 1924 Empress Kojun married Emperor Showa, who was Crown Prince at the time. On 25 December 1926 upon the demise of Emperor Taisho, Emperor Showa ascended to the throne and Empress Kojun became Empress.

Empress Kojun counted painting, calligraphy and poetry among her pastimes, and Her Majesty's paintings and poetry were published and also displayed in exhibitions.

On becoming Empress Dowager upon the demise of Emperor Showa on 7 January 1989, Empress Kojun was often visited by members of the Imperial Family, including Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress and spent quiet days recollecting the days she spent with Emperor Showa. During the night of 14 June 2000, Her Majesty began to ail from respiratory problems and received medical attention, but on 16 June, Her Majesty's condition suddenly worsened, and she passed away at 4:46pm due to old age at the Fukiage Omiya Palace. Her Majesty was 97 years old and was posthumously named Empress Kojun.

On 25 July 2000 the funeral ceremony for Empress Kojun was held as a private ceremony of the Imperial Family, and various funeral rites were performed such as the Renso no Gi (the Sojoden no Gi within the Toshimagaoka Imperial Graveyard and the Ryosho no Gi within the Musashino Imperial Graveyard). The name assigned to Her Majesty's Mausoleum is the Musashino no Higashi no Misasagi.

Collections of Paintings

Title Date Published Editor Publishing Company
Toen Gashu 6 March 1967 Imperial Household Agency Benrido
Kinposhu 3 November 1969 Japanese Red Cross Society The Asahi Newspapers Co., Ltd.
Kinposhu Revision 30 May 1989 Imperial Household Agency The Asahi Newspapers Co., Ltd.

Compositions and Poetry by Emperor Showa and Empress Kojun

  • Title: Akebono-shu
  • Date of Publication: 30 April 1974
  • Editor: Shu Kimata
  • Publisher: The Yomiuri Newspapers Co., Ltd.