July 22nd, 1946

Could not sleep right away after retiring for the night last night——had been laundering a pair of socks which I plan to use tomorrow when we leave as it matches my Palm Beach suit. It has two little holes, however, but will ask Rosie to mend them today in a hurry. The night was rather cool, so much so that towards morning had to cover myself with a woolen blanket. Got up around 5:30 for my usual operation, went back to bed again, but in a few minutes decided to get up after doing my bending-up exercise on the cot the usual 25 times and started right away to sweep and mop the room in readiness for the heavy packing facing me during the day. Finished these chores sufficiently early to finally bring down my bags from on top of the toilet-—They are both very dusty and have just let them lay on the floor for a little while until after breakfast and just before bath which Would be most suitable time to clean them.

Gave Aquino “Time” of July 8th to read yesterday am. Returned Paper to me in the afternoon. Have not started to read yet myself——think will do it on the plane homeward bound to kill time.

Last bath this morning in Sugamo. Started removing contents of trunk (#32) right after and was on this task when was called for barber. Also last haircut in Sugamo——gave barber the usual 2 pkgs and one to the other. Told him was returning to Philippines in the morning-—gave me his card. Did pretty thorough job including cleaning of nose and ears. Barber bowed deeply as I got out and shake hands with him.

Went out to morning exercise in Khaki suit expectinf Capt. Gross to call as he promised last Saturday but was called out by front office people instead. They had my letter of yesterday re my things in the office. They had identified and found most ‘of those listed except the boy scout knife and the little pencil knife that goes with Faustino’s necessaire set. Nail clipper was also missing but they found a nail file which I had forgotten to mention. They also ‘said there were three big bottles that were not in my list—told _them I purposely left them out——whisky, and yumeisu——did not care for them anymore someone could use them if desired. Tincture of Iodine bottle was also gone. Told them never mind, was satisfied to recover those they had found. Forgot to mention razor, but Pete, who was present, said he would send along the one I have been using here all this time. Things seems to be most satisfactory, for even the two Art catalogues that had been autographed they were returning presumably.

While out on morning exercise Pete came to tell us to get ready to leave by six o’clock tomorrow morning! By Jove, that means we may get home for my 27th wedding anniversary, if everything goes according to schedule—We are due in Manila by evening, and if we can be immediately released we may have a wedding anniversary dinner yet in Kawilihan tomorrow night. Hurray! What excitement and feverish preparations they must be having there now!

While writing this (11:40 am) Pete came in to say we should have everything packed by this evening. Our baggage and stuff will all be waiting for us in the office in the morning and we should first separate what we will bring along on the plane, the rest will be taken care of by them for later shipment——they will be moved out of here anyway. He glanced at the clothes on my cot and spotted the three bed sheets, said he had been looking for that stuff all over but could not find any. Offered to give him one—it’s the large size stuff 90 x 108 ——told him to take it as a souvenir from me. Accepted it reluctantly said he would send it back home to his wife. Told him I would have to leave the stuff here anyhow in the trunk, as I will not be able to carry them all on the plane. Also asked him whether I could take with the (sic) me the GI towel as a souvenir, said it would be alright I guess. I (illegible) anyhow when we leave here we will still be technically in the custody of the Army.

After lunch Col. Hardy came in while I was packing my trunk—_After nosing around several times, asked with that dirty look in_his eyes and nasty leer in his face, “What are You taking with you in the way of souvenir or message from the people here?” I said, “Nothing, except an independence message which they all signed and gave us on July 4th.” Trying to remember further, “Oh” I said, “I have a copy with me of Streeter’s sermon on a Sunday when there was no Chaplain, gave me a copy.” Let me see it, he requested. II opened up my portfolio and after sorting some of its contents I remebered it wasn’t there—had put it in my trunk—— but he saw Kindermann’s name at bottom of a typewritten page, He asked about that “Oh, that” I said, “Kindermann wants to write a history of the Philippines and he showed his outline of it to me. That’s a copy.” What papers or documents are, you taking with you? “Nothing but the letters‘ I rec’d here through your office, and I have retained copies of all letters I have sent out officially and some privately.” “=You rec’d quite a bunch of letters the other day.” “Yes,” I said, they were brought by Romulo. Then he inquired how soon I would be thru with my packing, I said “In about an hour.” I shall ‘try to put everything I leave behind here which I want shipped home in that trunk. Whatever is not there may be left here.” “Alright,” he said “I will send someone in an hour” and departed, I felt like telling him in his face I would file charges for misconduct in office against him, but hold my tongue, remembering it might be more effective and more expeditious to do it after I am free from his jurisdiction. Left It at that, but am determined to do it yet. Before I could finish packing they called me out again, this time to see Capt. Gross when I got there Hardy was talking with Gross, not know what about, but I have an idea in connection with our departure tomorrow and the things ‘we are taking along. The Capt. invited me to come in while Hardy was still inside

the room, so the colonel (illegible) went away mumbling something to the Capt. which the latter did not even bother listening to. The Capt. told me as soon as Hardy was gone —— “You hold this under your hat, but whatever you are bringing tomorrow will not be inspected much—but you had better hold it down to not more than 65 to 70 lbs. We are leaving by private plane at six in the morning. I shall Pick you up from here at about 5:45 We will leave from Atsugi around 7 to 7:30, will go direct to Manila and will be at Nielson field about 5:30 or six in the afternoon. “Without refuelling Capt?” I asked. “Without refuelling,” he affirmed Gen. MacArthur has already sent a private message about our departure, and I am sure Pres. Roxas will notify your family and they will be there to greet you when we arrive. There will be no publicity about the trip, not from here although there will be a release by the Army after you have been delivered to Pres. Roxas. That’s why I want to know certain things from you! Then he noted down my full name the positions I held during the Japanese occupation which I ‘gave as Mayor——Jan 5-23, ’42, Chairman, Jan. 23 ’42—Oct. 14, ’43 and Ambassador, Oct. 26, ’43——Aug.7, ’44. He asked when I name to Japan, date of presentation of my credentials to Emperor. When I gave it as Feb. 29th, was 1944 a leap year? He was surprised—— told it being it was and I purposely picked up that date so that there would be no anniversary of it. He smiled. As final question he asked whether I had ever held an elective post told him no, purely administrative and executive! Then We spoke on collaboration cases, He likened matter to case he says he has been working on for sometime now, mostly on his own time. Said he will go back to Manila to prosecute that case himself and will stay there for about 3 mos. This time he is only staying around 10 days with Col. Carpenter who he said was also coming with us tomorrow. I invited them both to dinner at Kawilihan if and when convenient. Said he will be glad to go but will wait until we got to Manila to decide. Said case he referred to was that of those responsible for killing of Jose Abad Santos. When I told him I had seen a report Kawakami had committed suicide, he said yes, I arrested Kawakami myself, turned him over to the Japanese police and told them to have this man come to my office at ten o’clock the next morning. That evening they came to tell me so sorry, Kawakami killed himself. But that would make no difference in the case, I am after bigger game. And Santos’ case has a direct bearing on your own. He was asked by the Japanese to cooperate and when he refused or stalled for time he was executed. They would have done the same with you. If you had not surrendered to their service, you rendered only lip service at any rate, you would not be alive today, iust like Abad Santos. Perhaps if, I had been in your place under the same circumstances I would have done the same things you did. Asked me afterwards to have my trunk ready for shipment if not tomorrow at some subsequent time.

Went back to room to finish packing and then out for afternoon exercise. Then I asked Aquino if he had any space in his bag for my bath robe which I had forgotten to put in the trunk and the darn thing is already too full for anything. When we came back he came over to get the bathrobe and also the wire for tying up his suit case.

While writing this Steinmetz came in to give me 5 pieces of Hikais cigarettes. From now on he said we will get only 5 Jap cigarettes a day. Told him, thank goodness we don’t have to take them—we are already going home!

5:45 pm. Will not write any more from now on—no more time. It’s Home! Home! Home!


July 18th, 1946

The night has been rather pleasant——there was a slight breeze blowing through the windows, and there being no more mosquitoes, slept rather well, though woke up intermittently during the middle of the night. Was awakened by the guard at little after six. Remembered instantly that today is Toto’s birthday which I had hoped I could spend in Kawilihan, but It does not appear to be in the cards yet for us to be repatriated right away.

Spent the early morning leisurely cleaning, sweeping and mopping—the room is now as spic and span as it’s possible to make it; and after breakfast and shave, cut at the picture of the Filipino flag that was in front page of Evening Herald of July 4th, pasted it on white paper and replaced with it the calendar print that was at the top of all the pictures in front of my desk, so that now the topmost picture on the wall space between the two outside windows is the Filipino flag with the legend “This Flag Now Flies Alone.” I had always regretted not having a small Filipino flag with me, of which I had plenty in the Embassy, and now, the matter is at least partially if not so satisfactorily solved, although in a way the legend is more apropos than a flag without it. Am glad that this occurred to me precisely on Toto’s and Eddie-Boy’s birthday——I shall consider it a fitting celebration in solitary commemoration as I said in one of my letters home.

Yesterday’s “Nippon Times” which I got shortly after finishing the rearrangement of pictures containing a short article on Romulo’s arrival in Tokyo Tuesday—He is supposed to have come for a conference with Gen. MacArthur and is scheduled to return to Manila today, Thursday. Wonder whether Roxas has sent him here, among other things, to take up our status under the new situation in the Philippines, even our repatriation perhaps. He could of course conceivably have come solely for consultation on Japanese occupation matters and policies in his capacity as Filipino representative in the Far Eastern Commission, but I hope he is also the bearer of the Govt’s decision as to our return to the Philippines. Whatever may be the final independent status of the Philippines for any Filipino nationals to be still held by the American (now a foreign) Army in Japan. I am sure Romulo is aware of this situation and whether he is still friendly to me or already hostile should not alter his appreciation of his duties and responsibilities as the Philippine Ambassador and Plenipotentiary both to the United Nations and the Far Eastern Commission. If it were only possible for us to see him it would help to clear matters up for us.

At breakfast we heard we have a new commanding oficer in this area. Lt. Bernard has been relieved by a lieut. Snow. At shaving time I inquired from one of the guards-—He Said Bernard has been given the command of all the MP’s in the AAA group Watching Sugamo Hqrs. and the new CO of the Blue Prison is a Lieut. White or Powers, he did not remember which. It would again take some little time for us to get acquainted with this new man. We hope he will continue Bernard’s benevolent policy towards the guests here.

Today’s “Nippon Times” which I rec’d this morning together with yesterday’s carries an AP Manila dateline reporting that ~ertain Filipinos have laid a claim to the part of North Borneo formerly under the jurisdiction of the Sultan of Sulu. Someone in London a Foreign office spokesman, on being asked about the matter replied they had not heard of it yet and must therefore suspend any comment until they do, but facetiously added as an afterthought. “I say, they only have had their independence since July 4—pretty quick work, isn’t It?” Well, quick work or not, the Filipinos will not stand for any fooling or pilfering from any damned Englishman or anybody else for that matter, I guess.

They finished putting the screens on windows in my room the last one was placed on little window inside the toilet. Didn’t do as good a job as on the big ones——the screen does not fit so well, and the carpenter forgot to put small sticks on the sides which would cover up the little openings on either side of the window. Anyhow this will now enable me to open the glass window of the toilet all the time and permit more air circulation in this muggy atmosphere. They also fixed up the flush further, as it did not close so well before.

_Nothing unusual in the afternoon. Skipped my calisthenics with Osias and Jr.——too hot, and moreover have decided to do it only three or four times a week, not everyday during the hot muggy summer. Poker in the evening after dinner- Jr. lost 50, Osias won 42, a guard lost 27, Aquino and I Won the difference.


July 17th, 1946

Night was warm & suffocating. Suffered a lot on a/c of heat during the whole night—fortunately the mosquitoes had disappeared—but must have over exercised yesterday afternoon, as I feel not only too tired, sort of worn out, but had actually sore eyes & a heavy head. The heat was still in my entire body & was perspiring all the time, so much that for first time woke up this morning with my pyjamas wet on the shoulder and armpits. Did sleep so well during the night until early this morning, and was fast asleep when Tony the guard woke me up a little after six. Proceeded slowly to do my morning routine, because the perspiration was oozing out of me “que es un gusto.”

While at bath the faucet water stopped. Aquino specially suffered the consequences because he always bathes himself with cold water and the only water available at the tub was too warm for him. There was no water in his cell either when he came back and so kept on perspiring more profusely after the bath than before. Did not mind the warm water myself-— even immersed myself in the tub and when I returned to my room found that my faucet was still working, so had a towel bath with cold water in addition before starting to powder myself in preparation for dressing.

Was taking it slowly and was only in my drawers when the lieutenant dropped in. Said he had seen the KP schedule we worked out for him—Said it was good, wanted to know everybody was satisfied with the arrangement. Told him as far as Filipino group was concerned we believed the Germans also and of course the Chinese. Asked specially about the Schweitzer’s notation. Explained to him the problem we had in placing Schweitzer in the schedule and because of his refusal to do KP duty our group had to shoulder one more duty unit that was strictly fair—so we felt we had to let the prison authorities know about it. The lieut. asked what I would do with Sch. if I were in his place——answered him I suppose I could find several ways of making him obey reasonable orders like withdrawing some of his personal privileges locking him up In his cell during movie and social hours and the like. Said well, we will try to find out what’s best to do in his case.

Tony came in afterwards and said he heard I had had some unfortunate incident. When asked what, asked in turn haven’t they taken away one of your chairs? Then he noticed I still had two—told me some German had suggested to one of the guards looking for a chair for messhall to take one of mine instead of those they had stored for themselves in one of the unused rooms. The guard took one of their chairs anyhow and told to mind their own business-—Leaves them right for being always so envious and jealous of other people.

Swelteringly hot. Told Aquino at am. exercise about my asking the lieut. for permission for him to sleep these hot nights in my room——-we to bring his cot here after dinner and take it out again next morning, or if this not possible, to leave his door open all night as he has been suffering from heat trouble. The lieut. said it might be possible for him to transfer Aquino to my room permanently, but did not think a night arrangement was possible—neither would opening of door be practicable as most everybody else would want to have something done for him. Aquino and specially Laurel thought transfering Aquino to my room would be inconvenient for both of us ——so I just kept quiet. Will let Aquino decide what he wants to do——We again wondered what was causing delay in disposition of our cases, and we felt perhaps Roxas is moving cautiously. We mentioned possibility of having Roxas and MacArthur testify at our trial if there should be one—Laurel specially wants Roxas—his testimony would be vital on war declaration count. Says he distinctly remembers Roxas telling him when Laurel said he was prepared to refuse to declare war having done so already in Tokyo even if the Japanese killed him—”You have no right to be a martyr at the expense of our lives.” Roxas’ advise was the one that weighed most in Laurel’s final decision.

Movies today was one animal funny—assassination and “Murder in the Music Hall” a Republic picture. There is a lot of beautiful ice-skating while a murder plot is running mysteriously through the picture. They had brought down one of my chairs again, so I took one up to my room too after the show –was unable to identify my own chair which was marked. Perhaps somebody else had picked it up. It makes no difference –they are all alike.

Laundry this week came back late –Monday morning, not knowing how much longer we are staying here. Sent out today in addition to ordinary laundry –my white shorts flannel pants and blue silk pajamas.

At afternoon exercise Aquino referred to Roxas’ Party platform, as carried by Phil News Digest of May to the effect that the Liberal Wing will “mercilessly” prosecute all collaborators. This plank in the Roxas platform may cause Roxas to go very slow on amnesty matter, and may lead him not to act until he is certain all important objectors to a liberal policy towards collaborationists both from American quarters and his own party have been overcome. We decided, however, to try to contact either Pedro Lopez or Justice Jaranilla here in Tokyo and ask them to find out what’s what and through them perhaps send a message to Roxas we want to be sent home as soon as possible irrespective of any plans he might have as to favorable solution of our cases. Even Laurel was ready for this step and I was assigned to write to Lopez this week inviting him to come and visit us. Will do so for this coming Friday’s mail.

Today they gave us a notice in English and Japanese that beginning Aug. 1st, “package for persons interned at Sugamo Prison will not be accepted unless accompanied by a request for said articles from the individual interned here.” Hope this does not cover pkgs. containing newspapers which Leoni and perhaps other friends may send us from time to time, or those coming by mail from the Philippines. At any rate hope we will not be here by then.

Chinese group with BaMaw, Shimizu and Tom had some kind of oriental dancing and singing exhibition. BaMaw sang the Burmese royal song, Tom danced several Geisha classical dances, Shimizu did an imitation conversation between a Geisha and a guest, Jap, and one Chinaman sang several supposedly popular Chinese songs which all seemed very weird to me. Stahmer and I a few other Germans were the principal spectators.

At poker later, Osias was the heaviest loser-—Y10 and Jr. Y12 more. Aquino and I were the winners.

i


28th August 1945

Overhead the planes were roaring past, flight after flight, so low that the identification letters and numbers on the stately bombers could be read with the naked eye, so low that the swift black fighters almost grazed the trees in the park. Outside the city, on Atsugi airfield, the air trains were dumping their first Americans on Japan. But here in the heart of Tokyo, in the sunlit dining-room of the Imperial Hotel, one could only hear the planes. The guests chatted softly of little things. The steward in his black coat checked his ration tickets. Waitresses in wartime slack-suits walked by swiftly, balancing the graceful jugs of Japanese rice-wine on their pink hands.

I was having lunch with the editor of the Times and we were at the fish course when the door at the end of the room was opened and four Americans in green cover-alls, streaked black with sweat and the dust of the road, entered slowly. It was suddenly quiet. A fork clattered on a plate. These were the first Americans in Tokyo. What would they do?

One of them turned and stared at me. Hesitantly at first, and then with rapid decision, he advanced toward our table, hand outstretched. I uncertainly. Then: “Dave!” By some freak coincidence it was an old friend from Manila, David T. Bugoslav, formerly editor of the Tribune, now correspondent for the Chicago Sun.

As everyone stared he explained rapidly that he and three other American correspondents had slipped through the cordon around Atsugi; they wanted to be the first into Tokyo. Could they have lunch?

The steward, his hands trembling a little, bowed gravely. Did the gentlemen have ration tickets? No? He shook his head reprovingly and took them to a table. He would have to ask the manager.

Abruptly Dave laughed. “Tell them,” he said, “Who won the war.” The steward bowed again. “The gentlemen will be served.”


16th August 1945

The first impression of calm is wearing off. Underneath all this outward placidity Tokyo is seething with rumour, plot, and counter-plot. It appears new that the average Japanese is saying nothing, not only because he is dazed, knocked silly by a blow on the head, carried through the routine of every-day wartime life by that curious momentum that animates a chicken with its head cut off, but also because he is afraid; he does not know what is the correct thing to do or say because he has not yet been told; he hesitates to rejoice openly, for instance, because the war may suddenly start all over again and he will look foolish, unpatriotic, marked for suspicion.

The emperor’s rescript is being challenged by some sections of the army and navy; the old cry is being raised that the emperor was “misled” by corrupt and cowardly advisers. Navy planes dropped handbills yesterday over Tokyo, saying that the fight would go on. The special attack corps is said to have refused to surrender; they are standing by their planes; they long ago made up their minds to die and they will not be cheated of their glory. The rumour persists that the tokotai took off against orders and attacked Okinawa after the rescript had been promulgated.

The cabinet resignd yesterday afternoon, imediately after Suzuki had gone off the air. The war minister General Korechika Anami killed himself at his official residence the night before the rescript was radiocast “to express his sincere regret to His Majesty the Emperor for not having been able to fulfill his duties in assisting His Majesty.” Tozyo and Araki are also said to have committed suicide in protest against the surrender. other Japanese are reportedly killing themselves before the Imperial Palace. Already the miltary police has taken over Tokyo.

Meantime the sequence of events leading immediately up to the surrender has been made public. On the 9th a supreme war council was held in the imperial palace from 10:30 a.m. till 1:30 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. till 5:30 p.m. This was followed by an extraordinary cabinet meeting at the official residence of the prime minister from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. As a result of these meetings a conference “in the imperial presence” was held in the palace from 11:55 p.m.
till 3 a.m. on the following day. The conference was attended by the emperor, the prime minister, the president of the privy council, the war minister and chief of the army general staff, the navy minister and chief of the navy general staff, and the foreign minister. At this council the decision was reached to accept the Potsdam ultimatum.

Another extraordinary cabinet meeting was thereupon called at the premier’s official residence from 3:10 a.m. till 4 a.m. of the 10th. A conference of senior statesmen (former premiers) was opened at 1 p.m. an then at 2 p.m. the cabinet deliberated on the manner of making the decision known to the people.

On the 11th at 7 a.m. notification of the acceptance of the Potsdam terms was sent through the Swiss government. The war minister then issued his proclamation that “for the maintenance of the divine state” the army would “definitely and resolutely fight”. The president of the board of information in turn issued the preparatory  statement: “The worst condition has now come.” Both these official announcements hewed close to the line of the condition attached to surrender, namely, the maintenance of the imperial institution, “the national polity”.

On the 12th Suzuki appeared at the imperial palace at 2:08 p.m., carrying the American reply. He stayed till 2:44 p.m. He then called an extraordinary cabinet meeting at 3 p.m. and discussed the new terms with the ministers till 5:30 p.m. Simultaneously a conference of the imperial princes was taking place at the palace.

At 8 a.m. on the 13th the formal text of the Allied reply was received and the supreme war council met to consider it from 8:50 a.m. till 3 p.m. The fundamental question of “safeguarding the basic character of the empire” was discussed. During a recess in the morning the chiefs of the army and navy general staffs had also reported to the imperial palace. Apparently the American demand that the emperor be subject to the authority of the Allied Supreme Commander and that the freely expressed will of the Japanese people would determine the future form of government sharply divided the leaders. A cabinet meeting was called from 4 p.m. till 7 p.m but no “complete agreement” was reached.

On the 14th Suzuki proceeded to the palace twice and was told “the imperial wish” to call a conference in the presence of the emperor. At 10 a.m. the field marshals and fleet admirals of the empire met at the imperial palace. At 10:45 a.m. they gave way to the full cabinet, the military and naval command, and the president  of the privy council. It was at this “unprecedented” conference, held in the presence of the emperor who was attended by his chief aide-de-camp, that the final decision was taken. The Times account reads:

“When all these officers took their seats the conference began. Opinions were expressed by them as to the decision on the final attitude of Japan toward the reply sent by the allied nations. It is said with awe and trepidation that His Imperial Majesty calmly listened to the opinions expressed by his officers out of their truest sincerity of loyalty and mind to save the empire. It is reported that His Imperial Majesty was gracious enough to say the following at the conference:

“‘As a result of carefully pondering over the general trends of the world as well as Japan’s situation, We should like to carry on the policy that has been already fixed, by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is insufferable, to atone Ourselves before the hallowed spirits of our Imperial Ancestors and to save the millions of Our subjects. You may have opinions of your own but the answer of the Allied Nations, We believe, recognizes the sovereignty of the Emperor and all of you should understand this as We believe. Whatever may happen to Us, We cannot hear to see the nation suffer from further hardships.‘

“All those in attendence,” concludes the Times, “upon hearing these benevolent imperial words, burst into tears in spite of the august presence. This historic conference came to an end at noon.”

The cabinet met thrice more, from 1 p.m. till 3:20 p.m., from 7:20 p.m. till 8:30 p.m. and from 9 p.m. till ll p.m. All the necessary procedures were completed and the imperial rescript was thereupon promulgated, with the imperial seal and sign manual, on the night of the 14th.

So far the official account in the Times. Rumour and the actual experience of friends, however, add an ominous postscript. When the rescript was signed shortly after 11 p.m. on the 14th, several officers from the general staff, believing that the emperor had been “misled” and determined to intercept the rescript before it could be promulgated, broke into the imperial compound.
When the lieutenant-general in command of the imperial guard refused to cooperate with them, they shot him dead, locked up his staff officer, forged divisional orders, and called out the imperial guard to surround the palace. It was about 1 a.m. in the morning of the 15th.

The officers then searched the palace for the rescript. They imprisoned the chief aide-de-camp to the emperor but they could not find either the minister of the imperial household or the lord privy seal. Balked there, some of the conspirators rushed to Radio Tokyo. The rescript was scheduled to be promulgated in the morning and the studio announcers and technicians were staying up all night rushing translations, technical arrangements, and other preparations. But if they could not seize the rescript  itself, the rioters were determined that it should never be heard by the nation. All the radio employees were confident to the man studio (Studio No.1) and kept under guard by sentries with drawn bayonets. The station was also put off the the air.

In the meantime however a loyal officer of the imperial guards had managed to slip through the cordon around the palace. He notified the eastern army commander who was in charge of the area around the capital. He was a former supreme commander in the Philippines, ailing old Tanaka of the flowing moustache who had been shipped back to Japan so gravely ill that he had been given his full generalship almost as a posthumous promotion. But in those tense hours before dawn of the 15th Tanaka won his yellow flag beyond all cavil. Armed only with a revolver and accompanied only by one aide, the old man rushed to the palace, overawed the rebels, roundly upbraided them, shamed them so that the ring-leaders then and there committed suicide.

The mlitary police then took over the survivors and liberated Radio Tokyo.

None of these breathless events were known to the people of Tokyo when the 15th dawned. Extraordinary preparations had been made for the imperial broadcast. Special lines had been laid out to the devastated areas and loudspeakers provided. Long before the scheduled hour the crowd began to gather in front of the radio station until the broad avenue was filled to the edge of the park.

Inside the station, in the same studio where the radio employees had been so recently confined, the audience was also gathering, government officials mostly, headed by the navy minister and the president of the board of information. Whether as a result of the riot the night before or in accordance with the program, the emperor would not broadcast directly.

Instead the people in Studio No.1. saw only at the end of the spacious hall a golden screen with the imperial chrysanthemum. Behind it waited an announcer and a technician to operate the special turntable carrying the recording of the imperial voice. Thus was the illusion kept of a divine disembodied presence bestowing upon the empire and the world the benisons of peace.

when the rescript had been read, there was a reverential pause. Then through their tears, the crowd gave three banzais: ten thousand years, ten thousand years, ten thousand years to His Imperial Majesty. Suzuki’s address was prose to this elaborate poetry. Reviewing the course of the war he said that the imperial forces had “endured difficulties and privations beyond imagining”; they had made up for the deficient arms with “unequalled spirit”. But since Saipan the tide of war had turned definitely against Japan; a “powerful” American airforce had wrought “damage” on the factories and communications on the mainland; an atomic bomb had been discovered and employed, so destructive that it had wiped out “the greater part of one city and several thousands of the city’s residents were either killed or wounded”. To have continued the conflict would have endangered the very foundations of the empire and the very existence of the Japanese race. Not a word did Suzuki say about the U.S.S.R.

Now that the end had come, he continued, it would undoubtedly be painful. The fighting spirit of the forces was “still high” and the people were also “resolved to die”. But the emperor in his benevolence had decided. His subjects had no choice but to apologize and to obey. Certainly it was the duty of every subject to “foster the eternal prosperity and glory of the imperial family” whether that duty called for death or for surrender.

The end of the war, he warned, would not “lessen the burden and suffering of the people. The empire would lose “much of its territory”; “the glorious army” would disappear. But “we must develop the permanent racial life of Japan, transcending all past feelings and forgetting all selfish thoughts. There is up other way for us but to foster the new spirit of self-rule, creation, and labor in order to build a new Japan, and devote ourselves to the development of technique and science, the lack of which was found to be our greatest fault in the present war. we must build up a civilization that will contribute to the civilization of humanity. This,” concluded Suzuki, “is the only way to reply to the
unlimited benevolence of His Majesty the Emperor“.

At 3:20 that afternoon the old man who had after all proved to be old enough to commit political suicide by sponsoring the surrender, tendered the resignations of his cabinet. This morning his successor was appointed, the imperial prince who had been expected to lead the Japanese in the last charge and who will instead lead them now on the long road back. Contrary to popular expectation however the prince was not one of the emperor’s brothers but Neruhiko Higashi-kuni, once commander-in-chief in China, whose influence
on the army may now be needed to compel surrender.

That may not be such an easy task. If it is amazing that a nation could turn so meekly from war to peace, from the attitude of defiance to the death to that of humble submission, without warning or preparation, all in those few minutes that it took the emperor to promulgate his will, it is perhaps equally amazing that in this defeated, thoroughly crushed nation, there is danger of revolution, not for peace, but against peace.

Nor is it only the hotheads and the hotbloods, the scowling samurai of the naked sword, who howl for war. Today I heard only two civilian Japanese express their thoughts on the peace and both of them opposed it. One was a Japanese professor, brought up and educated in the U.S.A., one of the most intelligent and tolerant Japanese I have met. He talked earnestly and in all seriousness of an atomic bomb that Japan too was perfecting. At any rate, atomic bomb or not, he thought Japan should have fought to the end.

The other Japanese was at the other end of the scale, intellectually, socially, economically. She was our own maid, Kubota-san. She had two sons in the imperial forces and they were both alive. Was she not happy, I asked her. Soon they would be coming home.

“Happy?” she echoed. “I don’t know. I would have been happier if they had died for the emperor. when they come back to me now, how shall I face the mothers of those who died, the mothers of the men from the tokotai? It would have been better if they had died.”

What can one say to her? In the gaunt groves of the Yasukuni, before the shrines of the war-dead, the mothers and the widows kneel today. They say that already many of these women have committed suicide. They do not want to survive their loves and their defeat.


15th August 1945

The war is over. At noon today the emperor personally broadcast his rescript proclaiming peace. The Times, which ran the complete text under a modest three-column head (His Majesty Issues Rescript to Restore Peace), was held until the broadcast was over and we did not get the English translation until late in the afternoon. Dated “the 14th day of the 8th month of the 20th year of Radiant Peace”, it read:

“To our good and loyal subjects:

“After pondering deeply the general trends of the world and the actual conditions obtaining in Our Empire today, We have decided to effect a settlement of the present situation by resorting to an extraordinary measure.

“We have ordered Our Government to communicate to the governments of the United States, Great Britain, China, and the Soviet Union, that Our Empire accepts the provisions of their Joint Declaration.

“To strive for the common prosperity and happiness of all nations as well as the security and well-being of Our subjects is the solemn obligation which has been handed down by Our Imperial Ancestors and which We lay close to heart. Indeed We declared war on America and Britain out of Our sincere desire to ensure Japan’s self-preservation and the stabilization of East Asia, it being far
from Our thought either to infringe upon the sovereignty of other nations or to embark upon territorial aggrandizement. But now the war has lasted for nearly four years. Despite the best that has been done by everyone — the gallant fighting of military and naval forces, the diligence and assiduity of Our servants of the State, and the devoted service of Our one hundred million people, the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest. Moreover the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is indeed incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation but would also lead to the total extinction of human civilization. Such being the case, how are We to save the millions of Our subjects or to atone Ourselves before the hallowed spirits of Our Imperial Ancestors? This is the reason why we have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the Joint Declaration of the Powers.

“We cannot but express the deepest sense of regret to our Allied nations of East Asia, who have consistently cooperated with the Empire toward the emancipation of East Asia. The thought of those officers and men as well as others who have fallen on the fields of battle, those who died at their posts of duty, or those who met with untimely death, and all their bereaved families, pains Our heart night and day. The welfare of the wounded and the war-sufferers and those who have lost their home and livelihood are the objects of Our profound solicitude. The hardships and sufferings to which Our nation is to be subjected hereafter will be certainly great. We are keenly aware of the inmost feelings of all ye, Our subjects. However it is according to the dictate of time and fate that We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for
all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering the insufferable.

“Having been able to safeguard and maintain the structure of the Imperial State, We are always with ye, Our good and loyal subjects, relying upon your sincerity and integrity. Beware most strictly of any outbursts of emotion which may engender needless complications, or any fraternal contention or strife which may create confusion, lead ye astray, and cause ye to lose the confidence of the world. Let the entire nation continue as one family from generation to generation, ever firm in its faith in the imperishableness of its divine land, and mindful of its heavy burden of responsibilities and the long road before it. Unite your total strength to be devoted to the construction for the future. Cultivate the ways of rectitude, foster nobility of spirit, and work with resolution so that ye may enhance the innate glory of the Imperial State and keep pace with the progress of the world.”

It was difficult to tell today from any other day. There were more people than usual in the tea lounge but they talked of every-day things. The maids and the waitresses shuffled along the corridors with unhurried pace. Their faces were drained of emotion and they averted their eyes. Somehow one did not feel like intruding into their thoughts.

The hotel radio was kept in the bird-room, behind the cashier’s little enclosure. Originally it had been a powerful American set encased in an ornate wooden cabinet. But sometime during the war the machine had been torn out, possibly to prevent anyone from listening to the forbidden shortwave, and now it rested, a tangle of tubes and wires, on a coffee table next to the disembowelled cabinet. It was now a very bad radio, connected by a complicated and clumsy network to a cheap round amplifier, but it was the only one in the hotel.

Around it now, in the neat little room with its three birdcages overlooking the ornamental fish-pond, the Japanese began to gather. The Germans, the Italians, the Thai, the Chinese, and the Burmans, kept to themselves in whispering groups along the corridor outside or, just beyond hearing distance, in the tea lounge and the lobby. But the Japanese crowded around the radio. The local chief of the military police was one of the first to arrive, a crop-haired, gold-toothed man with a Hitler moustache. He was not smiling now. The representative of the foreign office came next, tall, thin, and rabbit-faced. He did not speak to the kempei, although they were standing side by side at the foot of the stairs leading to the hotel theater.

Then, as noon drew near, the maids and the boy-sans and the waitresses, the cashier and her assistant, the reception clerks and the cooks, the embassy stenographers and interpreters, took their places around the wretched little mess of dull glass and steel which would soon enshrine the voice of the God-Emperor. In their stiff shy way they crowded upon each other; almost it seemed that they were huddling together for comfort, for some measure of assurance in the face of destiny.

There was complete silence as the clocks ticked toward noon. It was stifling. The windows had been closed to keep out the noise of the children playing by the pond outside. The waiting was oppressive and we watched the plump gleaming fish sliding smoothly against one another as they crowded obediently around the large black rock where the children stood, feeding them crumbs.

A Japanese woman married to an Italian tiptoed in. She was leading her two-year-old son by the hand. He was inclined to be difficult and to amuse him she showed him how to play with the song-birds caged beside the window. There was a smell elevator attached to the side of the cage and one placed a tender leaf or a pinch of golden seed in the straw basket at the end of the string.
Then the birds would hop to a tiny platform, thrust their delicate beaks through the bamboo bars, and pull the basket up.

A nine-year-old Italian boy sidled in, a tough bright youngster. A few days ago his mother had quarreled with the wife of another Italian, a New Yorker. The New Yorker’s husband had promptly smashed the other husband in the face, sending him to bed for a week. I wondered vaguely how the boy felt about his father now.

The radio was crackling and in sympathy there was a shuffling of slippers, a rustle of silk. A high-frequency note pierced through the furry undertones of static, held itself tinnily, faded, and then rose to the precise point of the exact time. Set your watches, ladies and gentlemen; mark the time, all ye good and loyal subjects, ye wrinkled horny-handed farmers with your foreheads on the straw mats, ye pale and bloated maidens in the baggy trousers, all ye stalwarts with the merry blossom on your backs, ye flea-bitten sore-scratching children playing with the empty shell case, ye tear-less widows by the wooden boxes from the far frontiers of war, ye scowling, weeping, breast beating warlords and sealords, mark the time; mark the time and wake, all ye miserable and wretched, ye bristly red-eyed welders, sleeping on each other’s shoulders; ye wan distracted mothers, bent with the equalling babies on your backs, dozing in the ration lines; mark the time, all ye good, loyal, bullied, cheated, gagged and handcuffed, starved, ragged, grateful subjects, mark the time. It is midnight at noon.

The Kimigayo stole in after the whispered awe of the announcer; it had never sounded so significant and fitting. It  was a band playing and the words were not sung:

Thousands of years of happy reign be thine;

Rule on, my lord, till what are pebbles now

By age united to mighty rocks shall grow

Whose venerable sides the moss doth line.

But the music might have been written for this hour of defeat; some dark foreboding in the heart of the ancient and forgotten troubadour who, a thousand years ago, had sung it for a German band-master to adapt, had haunted the simple melody with plaintive lamentation, with a grave and solemn anguish over the vanquished dead.

It was a perfect prelude to the voice of the emperor which came through now without an introduction. It was a calm and deliberate voice, a little distant, with a trace of weariness. As the intricate cadences of the courtly phrases drifted through the room into the sunlit garden outside, I looked around me covertly. It
was the first time that the Japanese had heard their “Manifest god”. All were expressionless as they stood, stiffly upright, their hands at their sides with the palms turned backward, head and shoulders bent low with reverence. Not a sound came from them. Perhaps it was blasphemy to weep.

When the rescript had been read, a younger more vigorous voice came through. It was the old Premier Admiral Baron, explaining the circumstances that had led to the surrender, the long wreck-strewn burning road that had led to the ruin of the empire. Then it was, and only then, that the Japanese wept. But they wept quietly, the sobs of the women were muffled in their sleeves, and
the tears of the men ran undried along their pale cheeks. Somehow it was painful even for a stranger, painful even to hear the Italians and the Germans outside in the corridors, debating heatedly whether the rescript had proclaimed peace or resistance to the death.

The broadcast was finished at a quarter to one. The Japanese went away silently, moving with bowed heads and reddened eyes through the clumps of foreigners already planning how they would rush home. It was incredible how swiftly normality, or at least the air of normality, was restored; indeed it had scarcely been disturbed. Lunch was a little late but it was served without a hitch.

In the afternoon I decided to go to Tokyo. I felt I had to see whether the Japanese had taken the end of their world with similar serenity. Before taking my train I went outdoors for a swim. The pool was deserted except for four Japanese boys frolicking noisily in the water. They kept to themselves but they did not seem depressed. Perhaps they had not yet heard. But outside in the
village it was the same. A group of school-girls in pigtails were skipping rope outside the hotel. A military policeman was feeding his carrier-pigeons. The crowd waiting for the electric tram had its usual air of preoccupation with bundles and tickets and seats.

The train to Tokyo was an hour late. As I waited on the  platform at Odawara two Japanese came up and spoke to me. It was the first tangible proof I had the the war was really over. One of them was a slatternly woman, dirty, unkempt, loose-mouthed, shifty-eyed. She asked me where she could get some medicine for her sick baby. when I said I did not know, she lingered a while and then, laughing, jumped down from the platform, and drank rapidly from a public fountain.

The other was a quiet—spoken man in a frayed national uniform. He squatted beside me and, while he unrolled his gaiters with a calm decisive hand, asked what nationality I was. Then he offered me some pipe-tobacco which he extracted from a smudged and much-folded envelope.

I refused politely.

“It’s excellent tobacco,” he offered it a second time.

When I refused again, he nodded briefly. He put the package away and then added in an impressive reproving tone: “It was American tobacco, you know.”

The train was packed to the windows with tired silent people and their huge bundles of black-market sweet potatoes, fruit, rice, two or three fish. If anything the atmosphere seemed less tense than usual. There were no longer any raids or strafing attacks to be feared. The lights were going on in the stations and in the countryside as we went by. In almost every official building there were also small bonfires, papers that were being burned before the Americans entered.

But nobody talked about war or peace. could it have happened in any other country in the world? Till yesterday, till even noon this day, they had believed, with a faith beyond all doubt, that in this holy war of theirs there could be no surrender, and that without surrender, there could be no defeat. Now the imperial rescript might speak obliquely of “a settlement of the present situation by an extraordinary measure”, of a war situation developing “not necessarily to Japan’s advantage”, of a benevolent solicitude for “innocent lives” and “human civilization”. But not the most polished and elegant circumlocutions could hide the fact of defeat, the “unendurable”, the “insufferable”.

What were now the “inmost feelings” of these good and loyal subjects? The unconquerable was conquered; the divine laid low. In the innermost recesses of the racial memory, no equal could be found for this “dictate of time and fate”. Not even when Hideyoshi’s armies staggered back to the shores of Korea to find their fleets swept from the sea by the “turtle-shell craft“ of Admiral Yi Sun-sin, had the imperial land suffered such a crushing defeat. For this was no momentary reverse, the abandonment of a conquered province, but total and complete defeat, submission of the imperial land itself to the conquering invader. No wind had risen from.the shrines at Ise and Togo lay mouldering in his grave.

For this the young men had frozen on the Manchurian tundra and vanished without a trace in the tall kaoliang; for this the young men had dragged themselves across the yellow plains of China, eaten the Weeds and the snakes of the jungle, burned on the lonely  seas, dived to their death through flaming skies; for this they had sechemed, robbed, lied, intrigued and tortured; what a horrible price of shame, degradation, and self-pollution for this, this bowlful of brown rice mixed with the husks of beans, mulberry leaves and cattle fodder, this torn and grimy mompei and the paper shoes that fall apart in the rain, this acre of ashes, this hole in the earth, this night.

“Beware most strictly of any outbursts of emotion,” O ye good and loyal subjects. “Cultivate the ways of rectitude, foster nobility of spirit,” ye wretched of the earth. The men and women about me spoke softly of the price of pickled radish, an aunt in Hokkaido, an open window where the soot was coming in. A child equalled and when it did not stop the mother opened the top of her mompei and gave him her breast; it was a big child but her milk was cheaper than rice. A tired old man, with many apologies, sank on the strip of seat beside me and loosened the straps of the sack on his back. We were coming into Tokyo station now and a gnarled peasant woman cried: “How bright it is!”

But no one looked up. The passengers went hurriedly and silently along the platform to the exits, afraid, ashamed, of the light.


14th August 1945

Tokyo was still silent on peace today and the rumor spread that an atomic bomb would be dropped on the capital if the American terms were not accepted by the 18th. But in all probability they will be accepted. It has been announced that the emperor will have an important message for the Japanese nation tomorrow morning. Even  the Japanese in the hotel are now talking in excited whispers. Some suspect the truth; others believe the emperor will call upon all his loyal subjects to fight to the end; but most do not know what will come tomorrow. They wait with a silent submissiveness to do what they are told.


13th August 1945

The American reply to Japan’s peace offer has been announced by San Francisco. Delivered yesterday the 12th it demands that the authority of the emperor and the Japanese government be subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, presumably General of the Army McArthur. The question is more alive than ever: will the Japanese accept? The tone of the San Francisco bulletins which, with monotonous insistence, emphasize every hour that MacArthur will be the emperor‘s “boss” should warn the Japanese leaders what they can expect.

A Burman wondered why the Japanese, if they were really ready to surrender, had made an issue of the emperor’s prerogative. Now they must either take a clear humiliation, with possibly disastrous consequences to the prestige of the throne or go the whole way to national suicide.

A Thai explained that the Japanese were worried lest the emperor be brought to trial as a war criminal. A more reasonable explanation seemed to be that the Japanese government feared the Potsdam declaration on democracy might mean the forcible overthrow of the throne. At any rate the American reply is that the ultimate form of government in Japan.will be established on the basis of the freely-expressed will of the Japanese people which is a different matter since the Japanese will probably choose to retain the emperor.

A Chinese however doubted that Emperor Hirohito would personally survive defeat. He judged it probable that the present emperor would abdicate and leave the throne to the crown prince who, being still a boy, would not appreciate and suffer the indignities of surrender and who, if his coronation were suitably deferred, would not actually submit as emperor to the dictation of a foreign commander.

Some ambiguous echoes of this momentous debate have been allowed to reach the Japanese people. Commenting on the proclamation of the president of the board of information which only referred to ambiguous “utmost efforts” on the part of the government and called upon the people only to “overcome the present trial” and to protect ” the polity of the empire”, the Asahi today worried “How is His Majesty the Emperor? The concern of the 100 million
people hangs on this question. when we turn our thoughts to it, we feel a pain in our breast. It is this pain that will enable us to bravely overcome the worst and last trial. So long as the loyal subjects have the ruler, the _____ to advance is clear and the glory of the empire will be maintained.”

There has also been a significant series of inspired stories on the crown prince. On the 11th the Times front paged an announcement that it had been decided to establish a separate household for the crown prince and that a grand steward, concurrently grand chamberlain, had been appointed for him. Yesterday the 12th the Times had a longer story, centered on the front-page. ”His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince will shortly be graduated from the primary department of the peers‘ school”; he attained his 13th year this summer; he is enjoying the best of health and “observes strict discipline.”

“His Imperial Highness,” the release continued, ” rises at six in the morning and has never neglected his daily service as well as physical exercise, including fencing with his tutors. From seven in the morning to four in the afternoon His Imperial Highness undergoes school lessons, physical exercises, and training, just like other students. His Imperial Highness even takes part in the cleaning of the school-rooms and partakes of the simples kind of morning meal, consisting of one bowl of rice, soup, and a dish of pickles. His Imperial Highness‘ lunch and dinner are also as simple as ordinary people’s ration meals, with dishes of fish being served only occasionally. His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince has made a remarkable improvement in horse and bicycle riding in recent months and is showing a profound concern in current affairs.”

A Japanese diplomat however explained to us that the stories were strictly routine and not a preparation for the emperor’s abdication. Every crown prince, upon completion or the primary grades in the company of other boys, takes up higher studies by himself under a faculty of tutors. This accounts for the establishment of a separate household at this time.

More tell-tale however than these elusive hints is the mood of the press in general. The hoarse shouts of battle are dying down. The samurai, beaten to his knees, asks only that his head be properly severed and his honor saved. Even two days ago the Yomiuri spoke no longer of “final victory” but of “positive development and progress”. It was afraid no longer of defeat but of revolution. “Whatever difficult situation may come, we should not abandon hope. We should not behave blindly or crumple…. What should be guarded
against most is demoralization, self-abandonment, dejection, nihilism. For this purpose, don’t lose your heads but maintain perfect order. At this juncture no selfish or wayward acts are to be permitted. We should be strictly Japanese and protect the national polity of the empire throughout, mutually helping one another and collaborating among ourselves. It is not the true Japanese way to be absorbed in saving one’s self and one’s family alone. The freedom and the
futue of the race must be taken into full consideration. Collapse is something to be dreaded. In order to evade it, we must maintain our pride as Japanese.”

The Mainichi today is no less resigned. “The life of man has its ups and downs and the same is true of the history of any race…. Not to be disturbed by any turn in the situation, that is the attitude of a great people. In our country we have the imperial family, eternal and everlasting, and with the imperial family as
the center the 100 million people are united… Should our people allow themselves to disturb their domestic unity, they would abandon their glory of eternal life…. when our national fortunes were on the rise, the Japanese people maintained their unity; why not tighten it now that we enter a period or reverses? We should never despair or grow violent. we are a great people.”


12th August 1945

All the world knows that the Japanese are ready to surrender except the Japanese, A rumor ran through the Village today that Japan had made peace with the U.S.S.R. but it did not go further. A proclamation issued by the war minister on the 11th notified the army: “The only task before us is to fight out the holy war resolutely for the maintenance of the divine state. Even though we may eat grass, gnaw earth, and sleep on the fields, we shall definitely and resolutely fight. When we do so, I am confident, there will be life even in the midst of death.”

The people know no more. The papers still maintain the atmosphere of unrelenting war. The comuniques follow one after the other: “fighting is proceeding” in Manchoukuo, Chosen, Karafuto; the air force has attacked the American task force in the waters east of Miyagi prefecture; hundreds of B-29’s and carrier-borne planes are blasting Kanto, Chiba, Ibaraki, Tokushima, Kainan, Hachinoye, Misawa, Ominato, and all of Kyushu. The government is studying the conversion of tea leaves and mulberry leaves into a vitaminized flour; 20 girl employees in Karafuto are donating their spare time to the manufacture of salt; the sake output has been increased; benzine is being wrung from pine resin; four railway employees at Yamakita have been awarded prizes for safety maneuvering a burning freight-car full of explosives into a forest before it blew up.

But the announcement of the president of the board of information on the same day as the war minister’s proclamation had already a Delphic note. “The worst condition has now come,” he said. “To defend the last line, to protect the national polity and the honor of our race, the government is exerting its utmost
efforts and at the same time expects that the people will also overcome the present trial to protect the polity of the empire.”