Skip to comments.New Memo Reveals Japanese Leaders' Thoughts on Eve of Pearl Harbor
Posted on 07/31/2018 11:28:01 AM PDT by Jagermonster
A used bookshop owner in Japan found the memo tucked away in a journal. The document gives the first glimpse into conversation between Emperor Hirohito and Prime Minister Hideki Tojo on the eve of the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Tokyo A newly released memo by a wartime Japanese official provides what a historian says is the first look at the thinking of Emperor Hirohito and Prime Minister Hideki Tojo on the eve of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that thrust the United States into World War II.
While far from conclusive, the five-page document lends credence to the view that Hirohito bears at least some responsibility for starting the war.
At 8:30 p.m. in Tokyo, just hours before the attack, Tojo summoned two top aides for a countdown to war briefing. One of them, Vice Interior Minister Michio Yuzawa, wrote an account three hours after the meeting was over.
"The emperor seemed at ease and unshakable once he had made a decision," he quoted Tojo as saying.
To what extent Hirohito was responsible for the war is a sensitive topic in Japan, and the bookseller who discovered the memo kept it under wraps for nearly a decade before releasing it to Japan's Yomiuri newspaper, which published it last week. Hirohito was protected from indictment in the Tokyo war crimes trials during a US occupation that wanted to use him as a symbol to rebuild Japan as a democratic nation. Hirohito died in 1989 at age 87 after 62 years on the throne.
"It took me nine years to come forward, as I was afraid of a backlash," said bookshop owner Takeo Hatano, who handled the document carefully as he showed it to Associated Press journalists. "But now I hope ...
(Excerpt) Read more at csmonitor.com ...
I think I have read that after the war the Japanese people and especially the leaders learned the valuable lesson of NOT listening to ‘yes-men’ and people who only tell you what you want to hear.
I think they blame that reason most of all for the Japanese Emperor not believing he could lose the war until he woke up to find two of his cities missing.
Interesting, but far from conclusive.
It is not clear that Hirohito even knew of the eminent attack on the U.S. at Pearl Harbor.
Hirohito should have been hanged after the war. He was responsible for starting the war in the Pacific, and for all the atrocities the conquered countries and POWs suffered. That he survived well into my adulthood is one of the major crimes of the 20th century.
Hirohito was up to his ears in planning the war. Only MacArthour saved him from the noose to use him as a figure head. Read The Japanese Imperial conspiracy for the full history.
The emperor had less real power in Japan than most believe.
The military had far more power.
Tojo was in the camp of “let us use the military to get the natural resources we need/want”.
I would have guessed that the word “baka” was thrown around a lot.
Still, using Hirohito to authorize the surrender and then rally the Japanese during the American occupation probably saved a million American and Japanese lives by obviating the need for an invasion.
No, McArthur did the right thing and the proof is that the Japaneese prople came around to establishing a western style democracy that is the envy of Asia.
David Bergamini was the first AFAIK to suggest the Showa Emperor (Hirohito) was the driving force behind the war in general and the war in the Pacific in particular, at a time when Edwin O. Reischauer had spent 20 years peddling the idea that the Emperor had been co-opted by a bunch of “militarists,” in large part because WWII morphed into the Cold War and we needed Japan to be our forward megabase against the Soviet Union and China in east Asia.
[Hirohito should have been hanged after the war. He was responsible for starting the war in the Pacific, and for all the atrocities the conquered countries and POWs suffered. That he survived well into my adulthood is one of the major crimes of the 20th century.]
My only question about the Pearl Harbor attack is what did Hillary Clinton get out of it?
Hirohito kept believing he could get a victory that would lead to a negotiated peace up to the fall of Okinawa in June 45’.
Took Nagasaki though for him to finally put his foot down and say ‘enough’.
Hirohito bears some responsibility?? Wow. I don’t know what to think — Jim Nabors, or Claude Rains?
wait a minute, I thought the Germans bombed pearl harbor??!
In the cold dawn the day Tojo was hanged, a reporter observed,
“Hmm...there’s a little nip in the air this morning.”
I’m not sure how willing he was. He did attempt suicide at the time of his arrest. He was then ridiculed by his countrymen for failing in the attempt.
I have his book, which wasn't all that easy since I was living in Japan at the time. It has been furiously denounced as a "polemic", "debunked", and "historically inaccurate" by the usual apologist "experts", but those few items I was able to check on, checked out. Not sure just what to say about it, but if Bergamini was correct about his principal thesis, Hirohito was at least aware of the planning long before the attack took place, more so than Tojo, who wasn't considered reliable at the time and swung for it later. (He had it coming, too, but not necessarily for that.)
Bergamini and his mother, father, and sister were prisoners in a Japanese concentration camp in the Philippines for the duration of the war, which may have influenced his attitude a little (yeah, just a bit) and the general consensus that his scholarship is suspect is not something I trust any more uncritically than I do his thesis. Japan is, even now, a very closed society at the upper strata.
You're on a roll.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.