Michinomiya Hirohito was born on 29th April 1901 and became Emperor Showa of Japan on 25th December 1926 and reigned until his death on 7th January 1989 when he was succeeded by his fifth child and eldest son, Akihito. He led his country into the Second World War by the end of which Hirohito noted "the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage." After the conclusion of hostilities, he was forced to renounce his status as a divine being and instead took on the role of effective constitutional monarch, a role that led him to taking centre stage in managing his country's recovery and, by the time of his death, Japan had become the world's second-largest economy and became the first reigning emperor to travel beyond Japan.
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