|House||Imperial House of Japan|
|Born||25 Jun 1902|
|Died||24 Jan 1953|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbasePrince Yasuhito was born in Aoyama Palace, Tokyo, Japan as the second son of Emperor Taisho. He was educated at the exclusive Gakushuin alongside of his older brother Crown Prince Hirohito, who would become Emperor Showa in the future, and his younger brother Prince Nobuhito. In 1917, Prince Yasuhito enrolled in the Central Military Preparatory School, and then in 1922 the Imperial Japanese Army Academy. On 26 May 1922, he was made the head of the new Chichibu branch of the imperial family. In Oct 1922, he was made a second lieutenant in the 1st Imperial Guard Division. In 1925, he went to Britain to study at Magdalen College of Oxford University. While in Britain, King George V decorated him with the Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order. He returned to Japan in Jan 1927 following the death of his father. Between the time of his brother Prince Hirohito's coronation and the birth of Prince Akihito (the current Emperor of Japan as of time of this writing) in Dec 1933, Prince Yasuhito was the heir presumptive to the throne. On 28 Sep 1928, he married Setsuko Matsudaira, the daughter of ambassador Yasuhito Matsudaira and descendant of the line of daimyo of Aizu. In 1930, he was promoted to the rank of captain upon graduation from the Army War College. In Aug 1935, he was promoted to the rank of major and commanded the 31st Infantry Division at Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture, northern Honshu, Japan. He was known to be a conservative nationalist who wished to suspend the constitution and consolidate all power to the throne, so that when the 26 Feb 1936 coup attempt failed, he and his wife were sent on a tour to Europe to escape criticism. In May 1937, Prince Yasuhito and Princess Setsuko represented Japan at the coronation of British King George VI at Westminster Abbey. Subsequently, they visited King Gustav V of Sweden and Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. The tour in Europe ended with Prince Yasuhito's visit in Nuremberg, Germany, where he attended the Nazi rally and met Adolf Hitler. Although Prince Yasuhito actively courted Hitler to improve the relationship of the two nations, he had little respect the German leader. "Hitler is an actor, it will be difficult to trust him", he said to his military aide Masaharu Homma in private. In Aug 1937, when WW2 began one month earlier in Asia with the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War, he was appointed battalion commander of 31st Infantry Regiment. In early 1938, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel, then in Aug 1939 colonel. He served in Manchuria and China Proper until Jun 1940, when he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. At the rank of major general, he spent the remainder of WW2 at his villa in Gotemba, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan on the eastern foot of Mount Fuji. After the war, he was made an ordinary citizen. He spent his effort promoting various sports in Japan, and was made honorary head of many athletic organizations. He was also made honorary president of both the Japan-British Society and the Swedish Society of Japan. Yasuhito died at his Kugenuma villa in Fujisawa, Kanagawa, Japan in 1953. His remains were cremated and the ashes buried at Toshimagaoka Cemetery, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo on 12 Jan 1953. For his efforts in the promotion of rugby in Japan, the Tokyo Rugby Stadium was renamed Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium, and a statue of Yasuhito in a rugby uniform was erected there.
Last Major Revision: Jul 2007
Yasuhito Interactive Map
|25 Jun 1902||Yasuhito was born.|
|24 Jan 1953||Yasuhito passed away.|
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