Skip to content

25th August, 1945

American fighters flew low over Tokyo throughout the day. Most of the Japanese on the streets did not look up. One or two however shook their fists at the sky and shouted: “Dogs! Sons of dogs!” Still the tension of the past few days has definitely broken. Some soldiers took over an outlying radio transmitter yesterday and held it for six hours but they failed to broadcast anything. In another city a rabble of patriots led by an ex-convict seized an arsenal and tried to whip up a rebellion under the impression that the surrender rescript had been extorted by corrupt advisers from an unwilling Tenno. A rumour also says that one company of demobilized soldiers have entrenched themselves with machine-guns in Ueno Park. One officer who was sent to disarm them was cut down; his killer later committed suicide.

But such incidents are becoming more and more rare. A note of humour and curiosity is creeping in. The foreign minister himself, when Vargas called on him the other day, asked whether MacArthur was “conceited”. Another Japanese, a former member of the diet, asked Vargas how to approach the new “boss”; he wants to be appointed mayor of Tokyo. The Nisei have suddenly grown popular; the foreign office, general headquarters, and the military police are all bidding for their services as interpreters although the latter have warned the young American-bred girls to dress in the drab wartime mompei when on the job.

A friend of mine, half-British half-Japanese, who lives near the airfield where the first Americans are scheduled to land, told me the best of all these stories however. He was cycling home one day when he passed two old peasant women.

“Look,” cried one, pointing to the red-haired cyclist in khaki, “they have landed!”

“Yes,” added the other, “and that chap’s swiped a bike already.”