He was made regent in 1921 and succeeded his father, the Taisho Emperor (Yoshihito), in 1926. He married Princess Nagako Kuni in 1924. His first son and heir, Akihito, was born in 1933.
He reigned as divine sovereign as Japan fought in China and WW II. In 1945 he made the radio broadcast announcing unconditional surrender. Despite pressure to try him for war crimes he retained the throne, but was transformed from imperial sovereign to constitutional monarch. Hirohito explicitly rejected the traditional claim that the Emperor of Japan was divine, a descendant of the Sun Goddess.