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Taisho Emperor

Yoshihito, the Taisho Emperor (August 31, 1879 - December 25, 1926, r. 1912-1926), was the 123rd Emperor of Japan. He was the surviving son of Emperor Meiji by Yanagiwara Naruko, a lady-in-waiting at the Imperial Palace. Emperor Meiji's consort, Empress Shoken (Haruko), was officially regarded as his mother. He received personal name of Yoshihito and the title Haru no miya (Prince Haru) by the emperor on September 6, 1879. He was officially declared heir apparent on August 31, 1887 and had his formal investiture as crown prince on November 3, 1888.

On May 25, 1900, Crown Prince Yoshihito married Sadako (b. at Tokyo June 25, 1884, d. at Omiya Palace, Tokyo May 17, 1951), the daughter of Prince Kujo Mitchitaka [peer], the head of the five senior branches of the Fujiwara clan. The marriage produced four sons: the future Emperor Showa (Hirohito), Prince Chichibu (Yasuhito), b. May 26, 1902, d. January 4, 1953; Prince Takamatsu (Nobuhito), b. March 1, 1905, d. February 3, 1987; and Prince Mikasa (Takahito), b. December 2, 1915.

Yoshihito had contracted meningitis shortly after birth, leaving him in poor health both physically and mentally. (There are also rumors of lead poisoning.) He was kept out of view from the public as much as possible, even after his ascension to the throne in 1912. On one of the rare occasions he was seen in public, the 1913 opening of the Diet, he famously rolled his prepared speech into a telescope and stared at the assembly through it instead of reading it. After 1919, he undertook no official duties, and Hirohito was named Prince Regent in 1921.

Upon his death, he was succeeded by his son, Hirohito.

Preceded by:
Mutsuhito, the Meiji Emperor
List of Japanese Emperors Succeeded by:
Hirohito, the Showa Emperor

See also: Taisho period