Hirohito - Immediately After the War


In 1945, American planes dropped bomb after bomb on Japan.  Still, Japan would not surrender.

After the first atomic bomb was dropped, on Hiroshima, Japan did not surrender.  When the Soviet Union thereafter declared war on Japan, the government did not surrender.  The second atomic bomb, on Nagasaki, caused leaders to reconsider.

On August 15, 1945 - just before noon - the Japanese people heard their Emperor tell them to "bear the unbearable."  He was referring to surrender.  The war was over.

The country was absolutely devastated, at war's end.  People were concerned how they would even get their next meal.

Some Japanese people wondered if the Emperor would abdicate.  Others began to question the wisdom of such things as kamikaze pilots.  Still others thought the Emperor himself should commit harakiri - that is, commit suicide.

Documents evidencing high-ranking decision-making were burned, but a new chapter in the country's history began during the American occupation.  During that phase - according to some historians - a "whitewash that wrote Hirohito's role out of the war" emerged as a central philosophy of post-war management.

On August 30, 1945 General MacArthur arrived in Japan.  He would lead seven years of occupation. 

One of his first decisions was to summon the Emperor.  In September of 1945, MacArthur ordered a photograph of himself and Hirohito.  That photo, which was published around the world, demonstrated who was in charge of Japan.

The Emperor, thus, had a new role.  A story emerged that Hirohito had been misled by his generals.  Twenty-eight arrest warrants were issued, but none - on MacArthur's explicit instructions - included the Emperor's name.  He was worried about the impact such actions would have had on the people of Japan.

Indirect rule, during the Occupation, therefore emerged as MacArthur's preferred method of doing business in Japan.  He thought it was indispensable to maintain Hirohito as Emperor.

MacArthur also launched a democratic system of government for Japan and appointed a group of U.S. military officers to write a Constitution for the country.  Not everyone agreed with the wisdom of that approach.  Those who seemed opposed were ordered to take a "rest and recreation" trip.

Meanwhile ... high-ranking members of Japan's war-making military began to take themselves out of Japan's future.  Some took poison; others employed more violent means to end their own lives.

See, also:

Hirohito - Emperor of Japan

Hirohito - As a Young Man

Hirohito - Conduct During the War

Hirohito - Was He Responsible for the Pacifc War?


Media Credits

Clip from the BBC series, produced and directed by Tim Robinson, "As it Happened" - episode, "Emperor Hirohito."  Copyright, BBC, all rights reserved.  Clip provided here as fair use for educational purposes and to acquaint new viewers with the program.  Subtitles by Hiroko Moore and Brenden Dannaher, copyright SBS Australia.


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"Hirohito - Immediately After the War" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Jun 16, 2019.
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