The Imperial Household Agency has made public a multi-volume record of the life of Emperor Hirohito — posthumously known as Emperor Showa — who reigned from 1926 to 1989. The 61-volume, 12,000-page record, whose compilation took more than 24 years, follows the late Emperor’s activities day by day, including the tumultuous years of the Sino-Japanese War of the 1930s and ’40s, and World War II.

The early part of his reign was characterized by the rise of militarism in Japan, which led the nation on the path to war. Although the record contains only a few new discoveries, studying the life of Emperor Hirohito cannot be separated from the act of taking a hard look at and deeply reflecting on what Japan did in its war years.

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