Today, we dive into the boyhood of Emperor Hirohito. What’s it like growing up always knowing that your life is a political tool? How do you process your middle school principal killing himself in a show of loyalty to your grandfather?

Listen to the episode here.


Bix, Herbert. Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan.

Wetzler, Peter. Hirohito and War: Imperial Tradition and Military Decision Making in World War II Japan.

Large, Stephen. Emperor Hirohito and Showa Japan: A Political Biography.


Prince Michi (young Hirohito) as a young boy.

Akasaka Palace’s state guest house. The Palace grounds are quite large, and include the small Aoyama palace where Hirohito was born.

The first of the Emperor’s three younger brothers, Yasuhito, Prince Chichibu. Yasuhito was sent to live with Kawamura Sumiyoshi alongside Hirohito, and attended Gakushuin with him.

The Gakushuin front gate in the imperial period. This photo is from 1933. It was and remains one of Japan’s most elite schools.

General Nogi Maresuke during his tenure as the chancellor of the Gakushuin.

Hirohito in his youth. I can’t find a definitive date for this, but I would guess early 20s.