Akihito is the eldest son and the fifth child of Emperor Hirohito (the Shōwa Emperor) and Empress Kōjun. Titled Prince Tsugu (継宮 Tsugu-no-miya?) as a child, he was raised and educated by his private tutors and then attended the elementary and secondary departments of the Peers' School (Gakushūin) from 1940 to 1952. Unlike his predecessors in the Imperial Family, he did not receive a commission as an Army officer, at the request of his father, Hirohito. In June 1953, Crown Prince Akihito represented Japan at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in London.
Then-Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko made official visits to thirty-seven countries. As an Imperial prince, Akihito compared the role of Japanese royalty to that of a robot; and he expressed the hope that he would like to help in bringing the Imperial family closer to the people of Japan.
After the death of Emperor Hirohito on 7 January 1989, the crown prince received the succession (senso). Emperor Akihito formally acceded to the throne (sokui) on 12 November 1990. In 1998, during a state visit to the United Kingdom, he was invested with The Most Noble Order of the Garter.
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