Cultural Literacy: Emperor Hirohito

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Emperor Hirohito, the longest-lived and longest-reigning Japanese emperor and one of the longest-reigning monarchs in the history of the world.

Emperor Showa, as he is now known in Japan, ascended to the throne on Christmas Day, 1926. He sat on the throne, therefore, during Japan’s imperial expansion, the nation’s militarism in the 1930s, the Second Sino-Japanese War, and, of course, the “Day of Infamy,” the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. In other words, he was culpable in the acts that drew the United States into World War II. He was also culpable, then, in Japanese war crimes during that conflict as well. However, the degree of his culpability appears to be subject of intense and ongoing scholarly debate.

So he presents an interesting case study in war crimes, guilt, culpability and historical memory among other concepts and topics.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

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