Thursday, June 18, 2015

"John had said unto Herod" - A Letter from Emperor of Japan to his Son in 1945


A Letter from Emperor of Japan to his Son in 1945

On September 9, 1945, namely three weeks after the Empire of Japan surrendered to the US, the Emperor wrote a personal letter to his son, the crown prince of the Imperial Family.

At the time, the crown prince was 11 years old.  He was in a notable resort place in Nikko, 150 km north of Tokyo, under protection of a special platoon of the Imperial Army.  However, the Emperor, known Hirohito overseas, continued to live in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo with the Empress.

On  the other hand, General MacArthur arrived at Tokyo the day before, though he landed at Atsugi Air Base, west of Tokyo, on August 30 and he was in Yokohama since then.  So, the Emperor wrote this personal letter in a tense situation; there was a possibility that General MacArthur would order US soldiers to arrest the Emperor or requested him to resign.

"I appreciate your letter.  I am glad to see that you are healthy and fine with your spirit kept unfaltering.

Our nation is facing a difficult time, but I am fine so that you must feel at ease.  I think I should have told you why I had made such a decision (to surrender) and explained the circumstances.  But I refrained from it, since I thought my explanation would have been very different from what you had heard from your teachers.  Now I want you to forgive me for keeping silence.  Here I want you to hear my word about the causes of the defeat (of the Empire):

Our people placed too much trust in the Empire and took the US and the UK lightly.

Our military men put too much weight on spirit and forgot science.

In the era of the Emperor of Meiji (my grandfather), there were many great generals and admirals such as Yamagata, Oyama, Yamamoto, etc., but in this war, like Germany in the First World War, our military men became so rampant without taking an overall view of the war and only thought about advancement without realizing a need to retreat, which is the cause for the defeat.
If we had continued the war, we would not be able to protect the three sacred emblems of the Imperial Family and had our people killed in vain.  Therefore, keeping back my tears, I decided to (put an end to the war and) secure seeds of the nation.

Lord steward Hozumi has great commonsense; you may ask him about any part of this letter you cannot comprehend.

It will become chilly.  Take care of your health and spirit.  I hope you to study well.

September 9, from Father
To Akihito"

Fortunately, the Emperor of Showa was neither arrested nor forced to resign by General MacArthur.  He kept his imperial position till 1989 when he died of illness as Emperor of Japan in Tokyo.

The crown prince Akihito took over, and as incumbent Emperor, he lives in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo with the Empress.  It seems that he very much respects the Pacifist Constitution of Japan whose draft was reportedly drawn up under the supervision of General MacArthur.

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Mar 6:18 For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife.
Mar 6:19 Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not:
Mar 6:20 For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.