Monday, May 28, 2012

"whosoever looketh on a woman to lust" - Imperial Rescript on the Declaration of War

A Tokyo Downtown View

Imperial Rescript on the Declaration of War

In the evening edition released on December 9, 1941 (Japan Time), Japanese newspapers supplied the Declaration of War delivered by the Emperor as the Imperial Navy attacked US naval bases in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the US, just a day before in the Japan time.
Imperial Rescript on the Declaration of War
(released by the Cabinet at 1100 hours on 8 December 1941)

We, by grace of heaven, Emperor of Japan, seated on the throne of a line unbroken for ages eternal, enjoin upon ye, our loyal and brave subjects:

We hereby declare war on the United States of America and the British Empire. The men and officers of our Army and Navy shall do their utmost in prosecuting the war, our public servants of various departments shall perform faithfully and diligently their appointed tasks, and all other subjects of ours shall pursue their respective duties; the entire nation with a united will shall mobilize their total strength so that nothing will miscarry in the attainment of our war aims.

To insure the stability of East Asia and to contribute to world peace is the far-sighted policy which was formulated by our great Illustrious Imperial Grandsire and Our Great Imperial Sire succeeding him, and which we lay constantly to heart.

To cultivate friendship among nations and to enjoy prosperity in common with all nations have always been the guiding principles of our Empire's foreign policy. It has been truly unavoidable and far from our wishes that our Empire has now been brought to cross swords with the United States and Great Britain.

More than four years have passed since China, failing to comprehend the true intentions of our Empire, and recklessly courting trouble, disturbed the peace of East Asia and compelled our Empire to take up arms. Although there has been reestablished the National Government of China, with which Japan has effected neighborly intercourse and cooperation, the regime which has survived at Chungking, relying upon United States and British protection, still continues its fratricidal opposition.

Eager for the realization of their inordinate ambition to dominate the Orient, both the United States and Britain, giving support to the Chungking regime, have aggravated the disturbances in East Asia. Moreover, these two powers, inducing other countries to follow suit, increased military preparations on all sides of our Empire to challenge us. They have obstructed by every means possible our peaceful commerce, and finally resorted to a direct severance of economic relations, menacing gravely the existence of our Empire.

Patiently have we waited and long have we endured, in the hope that our Government might retrieve the situation in peace, but our adversaries, showing not the least spirit of conciliation, have unduly delayed a settlement and, in the meantime, they have intensified the economic and political pressure to compel thereby our Empire to submission.

This trend of affairs would, if left unchecked, not only nullify our Empire's efforts of many years for the sake of the stabilization of East Asia, but also would endanger the very existence of our nation. The situation being such as it is, our Empire for its existence and self-defense has no other recourse but to appeal to arms and to crush every obstacle in its path.

The hallowed spirits of our Imperial ancestors guarding us from above, we rely upon the loyalty and courage of our subjects in our confident expectation that the task bequeathed by our forefathers will be carried forward, and that the sources of evil will be speedily eradicated and an enduring peace immutably established in East Asia, preserving thereby the glory of our Empire.

Imperial sign-manual and seal.
8 December 1941. 
Prime Minister, Home Minister
and War Minister,                        Tojo Hideki
Education Minister,                      Hashida Kunihiko
Minister of State,                       Suzuki Teiichi
Agriculture and Forestry
Minister and Overseas Affairs
Minister,                                Ino Hiroya
Welfare Minister,                        Koizumi Chikahiko
Justice Minister,                        Iwamura Michiyo
Navy Minister,                           Shimada Shigetaro
Foreign Minister,                        Togo Shigenori
Communications Minister,                 Terajima Ken
Finance Minister,                        Kaya Okinori
Commerce and Industry Minister,          Kishi Nobusuke
Railways Minister,                       Hatta Yoshiaki
The Main Body of the Declaration of War against the US and the UK

The portion in boldface was not originally specified in this imperial note when the Tojo Cabinet decided to launch war against the US on December 1, 1941.  (An Imperial Navy fleet including six aircraft carriers had already started to sail on the North Pacific Ocean from a bay in Etorofu island of the southern Kurile Islands on November 26.)  This decision of opening war was made in conference held before the Emperor on December 1, where the above declaration was officially adopted there.  But on December 5, Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, a full general of the Imperial Army, visited the Imperial Palace to talk with the Emperor.  When he returned, Tojo called grand chamberlain Shuichi Inada to come to his office.  Then Tojo asked Inada, the administrative head of the imperial house, to change the declaration, since the Emperor said to Tojo, "The Empire of Japan and the UK have been in friendly relationship since the era of the Meiji Emperor.  When I was the crown prince, I traveled to England and was welcomed very kindly by the British royal family.  I never forgot their hospitality.  It  is very hard for me to get adversarial with England.  Therefore, I order you to make it clear in the declaration that it is not my will to make this war." But Inada replied, "As there is the sentence,  "It has been truly unavoidable," it is clear that the Emperor does not want the war.  Isn't it enough?"  General Tojo pressed, saying, "Not it isn't.  It is an instruction by the Emperor."  Accordingly Inada proposed to add the expression: "and far from our wishes that our Empire has now been brought to cross swords with the United States and Great Britain."

In 1948 in the Tokyo Tribunal of War Criminals held after surrender of the Empire of Japan, the above explanation was made by General Tojo as a proof that the Emperor did not want the war and thus was not responsible for the Pacific stage of WWII.  Accordingly, prosecutors of the Tribunal never tried to indite the Emperor. 

Nonetheless, the above English translation is not so correct.  It must have been translated from the original Japanese sentence in the following way:
"There is condition that has made it unavoidable to cross swords with the United States and Great Britain; Indeed, nonetheless, how can it be true will of the Emperor?"
Conference before the Emperor in the Era of WWII

(to be continued...)

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Mat 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.