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Hirohito; Leader or Bystander

             Through much of history, the strength of a nation has been determined by the strength of its leader. Despite the appearance of holding power, leader's often are undermined by their own subjects as the case of Emperor Hirohito of Japan. It is true that during his reign Japan has seen a territorial expansion in Asia not unlike that of Genghis Khan's Mongolia or Julius Caesar's Rome but the question remains whether Hirohito played an active role in that expansion. Though often regarded as the people's emperor, Hirohito has proven to be less of a leader in times of war and more of a bystander at the mercy of his underlings. .
             A leader is as strong as his will but in the case of Emperor Hirohito, his will was in places far from military and warfare. As the son of Emperor Taisho and Crown Prince, Hirohito found comforts in the studies of science, mathematics, ethics, geography, and literature often studying in his native Japanese as well as Chinese. It was during his studies that Crown Prince Hirohito first began questioning the validity of an emperor's divinity. Hirohito's interests in the sciences had fueled his new belief that the throne was not connected to holiness and despite attempts to be persuaded otherwise by Prince Kimmochi Saionji, Hirohito held steadfast with the realities of science. His lack of interest in ruling Japan became increasingly apparent as his father, Emperor Taisho, became unfit for public appearance because of bouts of alcoholism and memory loss and Hirohito was looked upon to make the appearances for him. .
             Controversy is inherent with any leader but the controversy surrounding Crown Prince Hirohito began as soon as it was evident he was to rule Japan. As the issue of a bride arose, rivaling officials concerned with Hirohito's choice of a bride in Princess Nagako of the Kuniyoshi family began an attempt to undermine the prince's decision. Articles were published deeming the Kuniyoshi family medically inferior and "likely to sell out to the whites-.

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