Akihito (明仁?, born 23 December 1933) is the current Emperor (天皇, tennō?) of Japan, and the 125th Emperor according to Japan's traditional order of succession. He acceded to the throne in 1989, and is the 19th most senior monarch or lifelong leader. He is the world's only reigning monarch whose title is customarily translated into English as "Emperor".
In Japan, the Emperor is never referred to by his given name, but rather is referred to as "His Imperial Majesty the Emperor" which may be shortened to "His Imperial Majesty" (陛下, heika?). In writing, the emperor is also referred to formally as "The Reigning Emperor" (今上天皇, kinjō tennō?). The Era of Akihito's reign bears the name "Heisei" (平成), and according to custom he will be renamed "Emperor Heisei" (平成天皇; see "posthumous name") after his death by order of the cabinet, in which the name of the next era under his successor will also be established.
Akihito is the eldest son and the fifth child of Emperor Showa and Empress Kōjun. Titled Prince Tsugu (継宮, Tsugu-no-miya?) as a child, he was raised and educated by his private tutors and then attended the elementary and secondary departments of the Peers' School (Gakushuin) from 1940 to 1952. Unlike his precedents in the Imperial Family, he did not receive a commission as an Army officer, at the request from his father, Hirohito.