Dec. 23, 1933 — Born as the eldest son of Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako, posthumously called Emperor Showa and Empress Kojun.
September 1939 — World War II begins.
Aug. 15, 1945 — Emperor Hirohito tells the nation over the radio that Japan has surrendered.
Nov. 10, 1952 — Becomes crown prince.
April 10, 1959 — Marries Michiko Shoda to become the first crown prince, and later the first emperor, to marry a commoner.
Feb. 23, 1960 — His first son, later to become Crown Prince Naruhito, is born.
Nov. 30, 1965 — His second son, later to be known as Prince Akishino, is born.
April 18, 1969 — His only daughter, later to be known as Princess Sayako, is born.
Jan. 7, 1989 — He ascends the throne following the death of his father.
Oct. 23-28, 1992 — He visits China for the first time as emperor.
April 23-26, 1993 — He visits Okinawa for the first time as emperor.
July-August 1995 — He visits memorial sites in Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Okinawa and Tokyo on the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Jan. 18, 2003 — He undergoes surgery to remove cancerous prostate gland.
June 27-28, 2005 — He visits Saipan to honor the souls of war victims on the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Nov. 24, 2005 — A government panel of experts on Imperial succession crafts a final report that proposes allowing females and their descendants to ascend the throne.
Feb. 18, 2012 — He undergoes heart bypass surgery.
April 8-9, 2015 — He visits Palau to pay tribute to the war dead on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Jan. 26-30, 2016 — He visits the Philippines to promote friendship and pay respects to the war dead.
Aug. 8, 2016 — He releases a video message on his role.