Featured Report: Emperor Hirohito // Pacific Paratrooper #AceHistoryDesk reports

Emperor Hirohito, on white horse, January 1940

Japanese public broadcast service, NHK has obtained documents showing that former Emperor Hirohito repeatedly felt sorry about World War II and tried, unsuccessfully, to express his feelings by using the word “remorse” in a 1952 speech.

The records of conversations with Hirohito spanning several years were kept by Michiji Tajima, a top Imperial Household Agency official who took office after the war.

Although it’s not surprising that Hirohito had deep regrets about the war, the documents highlight how painfully strong such emotions had been.

Journals and notebooks kept by Michiji Tajima, a former top Imperial Household Agency, are seen in Tokyo on Monday, Aug. 19, 2019.
KYODO NEWS VIA AP

The Imperial Household Agency declined to comment on the report.

As he was preparing his 1952 speech at a ceremony to commemorate Japan’s return to independence with the end of the U.S. occupation, Hirohito insisted to Tajima that he “must include the word remorse” in his speech, according to NHK.

That wish was relayed to then-Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, who advised against it, NHK said.

Yoshida’s views were that people needed to look to the future and any reference sounding like an apology would give the wrong impression.

World War II, which ended with Japan’s 1945 surrender following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was fought in the name of the emperor. The man who had wanted nothing more out of life than to be a Marine Biologist, was considered divine.

After the war, the U.S. occupation allowed the emperor to stay on, although without any political powers but as a symbol of the state.

In this Jan. 26, 2016, file photo, Japan’s Emperor Akihito, right, and Crown Prince Naruhito, left, walk at Haneda international airport in Tokyo. Emperor Akihito, abdicated on April 30, 2019, in the first such abdication in about 200 years. The emperor will be 85. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

The documents show that Hirohito felt that, instead of surrender, he wished he had been able to end the war earlier. He also privately expressed horror at the atrocities committed by the Japanese military, according to the documents. But he also told Tajima that the military was so powerful that he couldn’t influence it.

Hirohito died of cancer in 1989 at age 87. He was succeeded by his son Akihito, who recently abdicated, passing the Chrysanthemum Throne to his son Naruhito. Both Akihito and Naruhito have publicly expressed remorse for the war.

From: Stars and Stripes magazine, YURI KAGEYAMA | Associated Press | Published: August 20, 2019

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

K. Beltz – Villas, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ Co./674 Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Wallace Crane – Manchester, NH; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Robert Felton – Green Bay, WI; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star

Lewis Gentry – Cookeville, TN; US Army, WWII, PTO, C/O cook, medic & Chaplin’s asst.

Mohammed S. Haitham – US Navy, KIA (Pensacola, FL)

George Kessel – Fargo, ND; US Army, WWII, ETO, 26th Infantry Division, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

James Masters – Bourne, MA; US Air Force, Vietnam, SSgt., radioman, Bronze Star

Victor ‘Pat’ Tumlinson – Raymondville, TX; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Cameron Walters – GA; US Navy, KIA (Pensacola, FL)

Joshua C. Watson – AL; US Navy, US Naval Academy graduate, KIA (Pensacola, FL)

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Source: // Pacific Paratrooper

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