Emperor Hirohito of Japan (1901-1945) was the 124th Emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 1926 to 1945. During the Second World War, Japan under the leadership of Emperor Hirohito formed military alliances with Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Nationalist Spain, forming the Axis powers in the process.
Hirohito's involvement in the war and his influence over the military government is still debated, in Asia and the Pacific many consider him just as bad, if not worse than Adolf Hitler, while others believe the military government acted against his wishes.
On December 11,1941 the Japanese Navy and Air Force launched a surprise attack on the US Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The next day Japan launched an invasion of Hong Kong. Japan and its Emperor was now fully committed to the war effort. The Emperor did his best to boost the morale of the Japanese people and the soldiers and sailors going off to the fight, with the first year or so being easy, with all the news returning being good. However by 1943, the situation had changed dramatically, and it is argued how well the Emperor understood what was going on in the war. Historians will probably always debate whether Prime Minister Tojo kept the bad news from reaching the ears of the Emperor or if Hirohito knew of the tide turning against Japan. When the Emperor lost both of his sons in American bombing raid in 1944, he soon became very depressed, shutting himself away from all but a few individuals.
With the war drawing to a close, and Japan's defeat imminent, Hirohito took his own life in the tradition of the Samurai in 1945. Without its Emperor Japan surrendered in shortly after, with Hirohito's younger brother Nobuhito as the new ruler of Japan.