New Year’s Day, Japan 1946

January 1 2011

The Emperor Hirohito did not seem to have forfeited his hold on the allegiance of the Japanese people by his public declaration to them, on New Year’s Day 1946, that he was not a god but a man. [Footnote: In his rescript of that date, the Emperor Hirohito declared: “The ties between us and our people have always stood upon mutual trust and affection. They do not depend upon mere legends and myths. They are not predicated on the false conception that the Emperor is divine and that the Japanese people are superior to other races and fated to rule the World” (English text published in The New York Times, 1st January, 1946).]

See Times archive here and here. Japan had surrendered to the Allies on August 14 by accepting the Potsdam Declaration. It signed an Instrument of Surrender on the deck of USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2. The first American troops had set foot on the mainland (Atsuki airfield near Tokyo) on August 28.

Tokyo, Winter 1946, by a soldier in the Occupation, Samuel Lieberman:

“The trees shine bare in winter’s sun,
Old bricks lie bruised in frozen mud
And look upon steel beams they once bestrode.
Old women sit among their tangerines and colored cloths
Beside a bridge that holds out broken arms
To grasp each bank.”

See Charles Tuttle, editor, Japan: Theme and Variations, A Collection of Poems by Americans, Tokyo, Tuttle, 1959 and website by David Ewick and Irene De Angelis, Emerging from Absence: An Archive of Japan in English-Language Verse.

A Study of History, Vol VII, OUP, 1954

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