Emperor Meiji (Mutsuhito) 明治天皇 (睦仁), (b. 03/11/1852, d. 30/07/1912)
One of Japan's most famous emperor, Mutsuhito supervised the modernization and Westernization of Japan, in what would bring the country from feudal backwaters to world superpower. Mutsuhito received the posthumous name of Meiji, meaning "enlightened rule".
Born just eight months before commodore Matthew Perry and his black ships came to ask the opening of Japan to foreign trade, the future emperor Meiji was not originally destined to reign. Son of Emperor Komei and the lady-in-waiting Nakayama Yoshiko, he received the title of Sachi no miya (Prince Sachi). Not until his adoption in July 1860 by Asako Nyogo (later Empress Dowager Eisho), the principal consort of Emperor Komei, was he made officially Crown Prince (Kotaishi) and Imperial Prince (Shinno).
After the Satsuma and Choshu rebellion, 15-year old Mutsuhito was to ascend the throne as the monarch of the newly established Meiji government (see Meiji Restoration).
Emperor Meiji's role in the states affairs remained limited, as he delegated most of his power to a group of oligarchs known as the genro (elderly statesmen), such as Ito Hirobumi or Yamagata Aritomo.
Emperor Mutsuhito died in 1912 and was suceeded by his son, Yoshihito.