Akihito: The Son Also Rises

He is a slight, unprepossessing figure who has passed most of his life puttering contentedly beyond the reach of history's spotlight. His time has < been spent writing monographs on the goby (a spiny-finned fish of the Gobiidae family), playing the cello and raising his two sons and one daughter. His official duties have kept him fitfully in the public eye but not in the popular imagination. As Crown Prince Akihito ascends Japan's Chrysanthemum Throne, he remains a mystery to his countrymen and a cipher to the world.

Akihito was born on Dec. 23, 1933, the long-awaited first son of Hirohito...

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