Living Person
Nationality: Japan
Date of Birth: 1933
Religion: Shintoism
Occupation: Author of Non-Fiction, Marine Biologist
Parents: Hirohito, Emperor Showa
Nagako, Empress Kojun
Spouse: Michiko Shōda
Children: Naruhito (Emperor Reiwa)
Fumihito, Prince Akishino Sayako,
Princess Nori
Relatives: Yoshihito, Emperor Taisho (grandfather)
House: Yamato
Political Office: Emperor of Japan (Abdicated 2019)
Turtledove Appearances:
Joe Steele
POD: 1878;
Relevant POD: July, 1932
Novel or Story?: Novel only
Type of Appearance: Contemporary references
Nationality: Constitutional Monarchy of Japan (born in Japan)

Akihito (明仁?, born 23 December 1933), known in retirement as Joko (平成) or Emperor Emeritus, was the 125th Emperor of Japan (天皇 tennō?) according to Japan's traditional order of succession. Akihito ascended the throne in 1989 upon the death of his father, Hirohito, Emperor Showa. He will be known as Emperor Heisei upon his death.

During the U.S. occupation of Japan after World War II, Crown Prince Akihito received an education in the English language and Western customs. Like his father, Akihito has a degree in marine biology, and has published several papers.

In the Summer of 2016, Akihito began publicly implying that he intended to abdicate due to failing health. To avoid a constitutional crisis, the Japanese parliament enacted legislation in June 2017 to allow Akihito to abdicate. In December 2017, it was announced that Akihito would abdicate in favor of his son Naruhito on 30 April 2019. On that date he took on the status of Emperor Emeritus.

Akihito in Joe Steele[]

Constitutional Emperor Akihito

Despite his youth, the 12-year-old Akihito was proclaimed Emperor of the Constitutional Monarchy of Japan ("South Japan") by the United States after the death of his father Hirohito in Spring 1946. In truth, it was the U.S. military who actually ran the country under General Dwight D. Eisenhower.[1]

Akihito's subjects resented this state of affairs. Flyers depicting Akihito as a ventriloquist's dummy in Eisenhower's lap were posted by Japanese citizens, despite their illegality.[2]

Akihito's reign coincided with the Japanese War (1948-49), in which his nominal subjects did not acquit themselves against their former countrymen from the north. Ultimately, it was the U.S. that kept Akihito on his throne.[3]

Literary comment[]

Akihito and the Constitutional Monarchy are not mentioned in the short story, where the government of South Japan is undefined.

See also[]


  1. Joe Steele, pg. 325, HC.
  2. Ibid., pg. 337.
  3. Ibid., pg. 364.
Royal offices
Preceded by
Hirohito, Emperor Showa
Emperor of Japan
Succeeded by
Naruhito, Emperor Reiwa
Royal offices
(Joe Steele)
Preceded by
as Emperor of Japan
Emperor of the Constitutional Monarchy of Japan
Succeeded by
Incumbent at novel's end, 1953