Ascending the Chrysanthemum throne in 1926, Hirohito served as Emperor of Japan during the turbulent era of World War II. Though he himself was a quiet and scholarly man, he could not prevent the Japanese military's eventual drift into the policies that led to war, nor did he appear to exert much control over how the war was waged. He did, however, succeed in securing Japan's surrender, in an effort to prevent the total destruction of his country.
Following the war, Hirohito renounced both the concept of imperial divinity and claims to authority other than completely ceremonial. He was, however, accorded the status of "symbol of the state" by Japan's post-war constitution and remained a well-loved figure until his death.