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Emperor Akihito Fast Facts

By CNN Library
December 11, 2014 -- Updated 1729 GMT (0129 HKT)
Japanese Emperor Akihito turns 80 on December 23. Akihito is the 125th Emperor of Japan, a direct descendant of Japan's first emperor Jimmu, circa 660 B.C. Here, we take a look at the life of the world's only monarch with the title of emperor.
Japanese Emperor Akihito turns 80 on December 23. Akihito is the 125th Emperor of Japan, a direct descendant of Japan's first emperor Jimmu, circa 660 B.C. Here, we take a look at the life of the world's only monarch with the title of emperor.
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(CNN) -- Here's a look at the life of Emperor Akihito of Japan.

Personal:
Birth date: December 23, 1933

Birth place: Tokyo, Japan

Birth name: Tsugunomiya Akihito

Father: Emperor Hirohito

Mother: Empress Nagako Kuni

Marriage: Michiko Shoda (April 10, 1959-present)

Children: Nori no miya Sayako Naishinnô, Princess Sayako (April 8, 1969) (aka Princess Nori); Akishino no miya Fumihito Shinnô, Prince Akishino (November 30, 1965); Hiro no miya Naruhito Shinnô, Crown Prince Naruhito (February 23, 1960)

Education: private tutors, Attended Gakushuin "Peers School," 1940-1952; Attended Gakushuin University, 1952-1956

Other Facts:
The Chrysanthemum Throne is the oldest hereditary monarchy in the world. Records show the imperial line to be an unbroken one for fourteen centuries. Akihito is the 125th Emperor of Japan, a direct descendant of Japan's first emperor Jimmu, circa 660 BC.

He is the world's only monarch with the title Emperor.

Akihito is the fifth child and first son of Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako. Akihito means shining pinnacle of virtue, and Tsugunomiya means prince of the august succession and enlightened benevolence.

He is the first Japanese crown prince to marry a commoner.

2,500 dignitaries from 158 countries attended the Sokui-no-Rei enthronement ceremony in 1990. The ceremony lasted about 30 minutes and the event cost the Japanese people about $80 million (Y10 billion).

Timeline:
1936 or 1937 - Is separated from his parents, in accordance with Japanese custom at the time, raised and educated by chamberlains and tutors.

1950 - The Imperial Household Agency begins compiling a list of suitable candidates for marriage. By 1958 the list has about 800 names.

1952 - Officially invested with the title Kotaishi Denka, Crown Prince, and declared the rightful heir to the throne.

1953 - Represents Japan at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and visits thirteen other countries in Europe and North America.

January 7, 1989 - Accepts possession of the sacred sword, beads and mirror of the Sun-Goddess Amaterasu Omikami, upon the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito.

May 24, 1990 - In Tokyo during a banquet for visiting South Korean President Roh Tae Woo, Akihito's "deepest regret" for the 35-year occupation of Korea, (1910-1945) is expressed.

November 12, 1990 - Ascends to the Chrysanthemum Throne as the 125th Emperor of Japan, one year and ten months after the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito.

October 1992 - State visit to China. It is the first visit to China by a Japanese monarch. Emperor Akihito says he deplores the Japanese treatment of the Chinese - before and during World War II - but does not apologize.

May 1998 - A state visit to London triggers demonstrations by British WWII prisoners-of-war demanding a formal apology and compensation for the treatment of POWs at the hands of Japanese soldiers.

June 16, 2000 - Akihito's mother, Nagako Kuni, the Empress Dowager of Japan dies, at age 97.

December 1, 2001 - The birth of a daughter to Crown Prince Naruhito highlights the country's discussion on the law of succession. Japan's 1948 constitution allows for a male line of succession only. All of the Emperor's grandchildren are female.

January 18, 2003 - Successfully undergoes surgery for prostate cancer that had been diagnosed in December of 2002.

September 6, 2006 - Birth of his first grandson, Prince Hisahito, the first male heir born into the imperial family in 40 years. The last male heir was born November 30, 1965, Prince Akishino, the child's father.

July 14-16, 2009 - Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visit Hawaii. They do not visit Pearl Harbor, but lay a wreath at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific for veterans of both world wars, the Korean and Vietnam conflicts.

November 13, 2009 - Along with Empress Michiko, meets President Barack Obama in Japan.

December 2010 - Admits to having hearing problems.

March 16, 2011 - Emperor Akihito delivers a pre-recorded televised speech in the wake of Japan's devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis. He urges the Japanese people to, "never give up hope, take care of themselves, and live strong for tomorrow."

November 6, 2011 - Hospitalized after suffering from a fever and bronchitis.

February 18, 2012 - Undergoes successful coronary artery bypass surgery.

April 2013 - Contributes a 350-page paper on Gobiodei, a Japanese fish, to the "Fishes of Japan with Pictorial Keys to the Species, a fish encyclopedia."

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