19th of August, 1945

The critical task of popularizing the peace is getting on. War posters are being torn down from house-walls, bridges, and street-cars. In accordance with the fervent imperial wish, directly expressed to the cabinet, the blackout will be lifted from tomorrow, the censorship of personal mail will be abolished, and amusement facilities will be reestablished to “brighten up the life of the people”, in the reported words of the emperor himself.

All the organs of propaganda are being drafted. The press calls incessantly for national unity in the obedience of the imperial rescript. Fire-eating General Minami himself, as president of the all-over political party in Japan, pleads: “Let bygones be bygones… The military and official circles as well as the people may have much to say in support of their respective stands in the situation just ended. But the imperial decision has been made and the way to be followed by the people has been made manifest.” General Anami, the last war minister, left only a cryptic suicide poem: “I who have long basked in the imperial benevolence have nothing to say.” But Vice-Admiral Takijiro Onishi, vice-chief of the naval general staff and founder of the special attack corps, left a will when he killed himself on the 16th. After addressing the spirits of the suicide pilots, he explicitly warned the “young men of true manhood”: “I shall be happy if my death serves to induce you to realize that any indiscreet action on your part would only benefit the enemy, to abide by the purpose of His Majesty’s rescript, and to bear what is unbearable.”

The war and navy offices have also issued explicit instructions to all the armed forces. “The armed forces should imbibe the spirit of those units who, suppressing their personal emotions, withdrew from Guadalcanal, leaving behind them the corpses of their comrades with whom they had pledged to die…. Should any soldier resort to a reckless act, following only his own judgment and in disregard of clear stipulations, such an action would result not only in multiplying the hardships of the 100 million people but also in disobedience of the imperial command.” The welfare (labor) ministry has issued similar instructions to all industrial workers, “requesting” them “ to observe discipline under the guidance of factory owners or managers, thus faithfully maintaining their dignity as industrial workers”.