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\nAkihito's father, Emperor Hirohito, died on Jan. 7, 1989, at the age of 87. Akihito ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne and became emperor of Japan on …Nov. 12, 1990, at the age of 56, in an elaborate ritual which was attended by representatives of 158 countries. He is the first Japanese emperor to marry a commoner, in a romantic match, rather than the customary arranged marriage. His children are Crown Prince Naruhito, Prince Akishino, and Princess Nori. (MORE)