A biography of Emperor Hirohito is in its final stages of editing and compilation and is expected to be finished by late March according to the Imperial Household Agency. The wartime emperor was 87 years old when he passed away in 1989 and was referred to as “Showa” after his death. The biography will detail his life from birth up until a few years after he passed away and will be submitted to Emperor Akihito for approval.
The biography was started back in the 1990s but was delayed as new material surfaced that caused delays in the project. The researchers and writers were then granted a five-year extension in 1998. The agency extended the work on the biography to three more years in 2011 and Grand Steward Noriyuki Kazaoka said that the entire life record of the emperor would be made public if a motion for information disclosure is filed. Most biographies are written to serve as references for current emperor of the time, in this case, Emperor Akihito.
Publication of the complete volume, which is roughly made up of 18 parts, will be chosen through bidding this year and an abridged version is also in the works. He also confirmed that the volumes would not censure or withhold any record as opposed to Emperor Taisho’s biography, published from 2002 to 2011, which contained a lot of obscurities. As the agency used a lot of sources and materials which have not been made public before including diaries of staff and aides and doctors’ records, it is anticipated that the public and academic researchers will expect information that will shed light on the state of the nation and the emperor’s mind before, during and after the Second World War.