September 1945 in Japan

Dai Ichi Building in Tokyo flying both the American and United Nations flags

Soon after the official surrender of Japan, General MacArthur moved his headquarters into the Dai Ichi building in Tokyo. At noon, 8 September 1945, on the terrace of the U.S. Embassy, he met an honor guard from the 1st Calvary Division; they held the Stars and Stripes that had flown over the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. on 7 December 1941 – Pearl Harbor Day. As the red, white and blue began to rise… MacArthur said, “General Eichelberger, have our country’s flag unfurled and in Tokyo’s sun let it wave its full glory as a symbol of hope for the oppressed and as a harbinger of victory for the right.”

 

Hideki Tojo

Immediately after the ceremony, Major Paul Kraus and his MPs and a throng of reporters, (including George Jones of the New York Times) surrounded the home of Hideki Tojo. The general shot himself in the chest before anyone could enter his office. The bullet missed his heart. At the 48th Evacuation Hospital, he told Gen. Eichelberger, “I am sorry to have given General Eichelberger so much trouble.” The general asked, “Do you mean tonight or the last few years?” The answer was, “Tonight. I want General Eichelberger to have my new saber.”

Prince Konoye – 3 times Premier of Japan lies dead

The night before Prince Konoye was to be sent to Sugamo Prison, he drank poison and died. (I personally feel that the prince might have been acquitted of war criminal charges at the trials. He had tried for years to bring peace, his mistake being, his having chosen the Soviets as mediators and Stalin blocked him at every step.)

In reply of Allied and liberated Japanese press opinions of the Emperor, MacArthur was determined not to humiliate him: “To do so,” the general said, “would be to outrage the feelings of the Japanese people and make a martyr of the Emperor in their eyes.” As a student of Asian cultures, he proved to be correct. It would take two weeks, but the Emperor requested an interview with the general himself.

MacArthur and Hirohito meeting

His Majesty arrived in his ancient limousine with Grand Chamberlain Fujita and was met with a salute from General Bonner F. Fellers. When Fellers’ hand dropped, the Emperor grabbed it. An interpreter quickly explained that the Emperor was happy to see him. Fellers replied, “I am honored to meet you. Come in and meet General MacArthur.” Nervously, Hirohito allowed himself to be escorted up the staircase to the general’s office.

Trying to ease the tension, MacArthur told him he had been presented to his father, Emperor Taisho, after the Russian-Japanese War and offered Hirohito an American cigarette. The Emperor’s hand shook as it was lit and the general then dismissed everyone except the interpreter. The conversation before an open fire was observed, unknowingly, by Mrs. MacArthur and their son, Arthur who hid behind the long red drapes.

Emperor Hirohito rides at the imperial palace in 1940 wearing the uniform of commander in chief of Japanese forces. Associated Press

The emperor had been forewarned not to assume any responsibility for the war, but he did just that.”I come to you, General MacArthur, to offer myself to the judgment of the powers you represent as the one to bear sole responsibility for every political and military decision made and action taken by my people in the conduct of this war.”

MacArthur freely admitted being moved “to the marrow of my bones. He was an Emperor by inherent birth, but in that instant I knew I faced the First Gentleman of Japan in his own right.”

The Japanese acknowledged, without reservations, the temporal power of the current shogun, but revered what was eternal. (The Imperial Palace)

Resources: U.S. Signal Corps; “The Rising Sun” by John Toland; Gene Slover’s US Navy Papers; historyinanhour.com

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

“Cover me Johnson… I’ve got to Tweet this.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Elton Barber – Buckley, WA; US Navy, WWII, ETO, USS Chester

Robert “Sam” Carlson – MS; US Army Air Corps, WWII

THANKS Veterans for walking the walk!

Eugene Duffy – Beach Grove, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. A/127 Engineers/11th Airborne Division

Willard Dykes – Meridian, ID; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Albert Green – Sandy, OR; US Army, Korea, Co. G/187th RCT

James Heflin – Memphis, TN; USMC, WWII, PTO

Alice Jefferson – Stoneham, MA; US Coast Guard SPAR, WWII, Commander (Ret. 25 y.)

David Kesler – Berthoud, CO; US Navy, WWII, Baker 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA, (Pearl Harbor)

Robert Spence – Montreal, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII

Benjamin Starr – Montgomery, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on June 10, 2019, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 119 Comments.

  1. Informative and revealing. Handling a defeated adversary is a sensitive matter. The loser is bound to harbour feelings of humiliation and rage which could express themselves at a later point. But, considering the passage of seventy years since, it is probably fair to say that the handling was mature and sensitive.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Great informative reading gp, your standard as usual. I think there would probably many interesting aspects of Prince Konoye’s life regarding his liaison with the Soviet Leaders.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for this bit of history and insight into the lives of people, GP!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting post. Dan Carlin’s podcasts on Imperial Japan are fascinating and helpful to understand the culture and mindset that led to WW2 and the role of the Emperor.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting GP. I wasn’t aware that Tojo had shot himself nor that Prince Konoye had committed suicide. I guess Tojo didn’t want to make a mess with a shot to his head (fair enough) but I’m not sure he knew too much about human anatomy to miss his heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve always wondered about that. Did he make certain the bullet would miss vital organs and think the US would consider it enough punishment? But no matter, we executed him anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The sad reality of accountability, not seen before and rarely since.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You mentioned that Hirohito was “forewarned not to assume any responsibility for the war.” Who was it who gave him that warning? I presume it would have been some of the Japanese high command, but that might not be right. We certainly were lucky to have Gen. MacArthur there to help smooth the process and move it along.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That kind of puts MacArthur in a different light, I’ve always imagined him to be an arrogant, tough, hard nosed sofab, He displayed great character here.very pleasing, thanks GP

    Liked by 1 person

    • He definitely had a strong-willed personality and ego, but even during the war it was not unusual for him to listen to the ground soldiers’ opinions for a situation. In some ways your original opinion was quite right, but then there was a totally opposite side to him. He was raised basically in the orient, so he understood the cultures; his father was a general so he understood military tactics – quite a well-rounded individual.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Wonderful information, GP! Thank you for this, and have a beautiful day! Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  10. horrible relentless little people who were monsters during the war.. good post mate.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wonderful snippet of history. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. That was a fascinating insight….I grew up on father’s rumblings about how Japan got special treatment as a bulwark against Russia.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Perfect photos and a nice historical reflection.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I would guess that the way the whole affair was handled would not have been what they expected from a country that they had surprise attacked and killed many thousands of people – not to mention much of their brutal conduct at times. I doubt that other countries would have treated them this way. Not saying it wasn’t the wisest way to do things, but I had a friend who was a Marine who fought in the Pacific and I can tell you that his hatred was unbridled.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. A very interesting insight into cultural differences between Japan and USA.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No matter what anyone’s opinion of MacArthur was, we were lucky to him, a man who lived in and understood the oriental culture, to help win the war and run the Occupation. Thanks for stopping in, Emma. Your time is much appreciated!

      Like

  16. I’m no fan of Hirohito but I happened to watch live recently the retirement of the old emperor. It was all done more or less in silence, and was amazingly dignified, especially the way he walked away to leave, but just before he disappeared, he turned round and smiled at everyone with enormous dignity. It’s well worth seeing if it’s out there on youtube.
    Fellers is famous over here as the man who put Rommel in the No I spot on the German generals’ list, as he revealed to them every move the British were going to make in North Africa. Not a popular man in Britain!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Feller’s codes had been breached by the Germans and of course, then changed.
      I felt sorry for Hirohito in a way, a man who had his title thrust on him when he only wanted to be a marine biologist and live a normal life.

      Like

  17. Excellent piece of history, GP. I learned a lot from your post. Keep up the great work! S

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Terrific post, GP. It is clear why Mac Arthur is so revered in Japan.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Amazing statement by the emperor. I can’t imagine any world leader today taking on that sense of responsibility.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. What a moving post. I am not surprised–by both the Japanese humility and closure. Excellent article.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Great informative post, GP. I love the cartoon. 😅

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I also like the little parachute guy who comes floating down on your page. So cute!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Another wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Vainglorious as he was, MacArthur seems to have successfully put his oversized ego aside and handled the Japanese surrender and his subsequent governance of Japan just right. The man who had the photo of his return to the Philippines staged put enough of his ego on the shelf to handle the surrender of Japan in a way that helped turn this former enemy country into a friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually that return photo was not staged. The general was teed-off at the beachmaster directing the landing craft, who told the boat full of VIP’s to “walk-in”, he didn’t have time to deal with them. Photographers later on tried to recreate that entrance, but it didn’t work out. 🙂

      Like

  25. Another first class story. Interesting, that’s the first time I’d read of that meeting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was 3 weeks in the making. I believe the Emperor thought Mac would storm into the palace and start giving orders, but he didn’t, so the Emperor went to him.

      Like

  26. What an interesting post about the honour code and culture of the Japanese people! The sensitive actions of General McArthur towards the emperor are to be admired. Thanks for sharing the information on the events following the Japanese surrender, GP!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I believe all went far better than Europe where they had the Russians stealing equipment, demanding more territory and pushing civilians on the west side so they would have to care for them. Thank you for stopping in, Peter.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Did you hear of the USS Mt. Hood explosion of November 10, 1944? My mother’s first husband died in it. She was pregnant with my oldest brother. She never talked about it. Curious if you have any story about it. My brother never met his father, of course, but is still alive.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Thanks G.P. As always you bring out details I had never heard before.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Very humanistic post. Loved the details. Still maintain that we were very lucky to have MacArthur at that place and at that time. (Guess he may have gotten too big for his britches by Korea, but in 1945, he was the right person at the right time.)

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Humility and grace appear to be out of respect, not fear.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. That’s how to be an Emperor. Brilliant post GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. As so often, GP, stuff I didn’t know here. I am very impressed by both the events and your research. Many thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Again we see how well General MacArthur handled the post war process.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. In defeat, all these Japanese men acted so “honorably”. But what did they do in all those years when Japanese troops raped China and all the other Asian countries, causing millions of people to die?

    Liked by 1 person

  35. A great post. I wonder if Mrs. MacArthur or Arthur heard words exchanged between the General and the Emperor and revealed them somewhere. I heard the Emperor said he was prepared to take the responsibility for the war and to be hanged, and he asked the General to see to it that the Japanese people will be provided with food. But this is just a rumor.

    Liked by 3 people

  36. wow, the humanity could not help but shine through even in the darkest hours for some

    Liked by 1 person

  37. It is somehow comforting to read of the understanding and mutual respect between those two men. But I am reminded of how different it would have been if the Japanese had been the victors.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It would have been interesting to know exactly what would have happened if we lost to Japan. The rest of the world was in no shape to help us out.

      Liked by 2 people

      • You’ve begged for an “armchair” assessment – here it is:
        The only logical way this would have happened is as follows:
        1) Our cryptologists hadn’t broken their Purple code, and lost to them at Midway.
        2) Their militarism notwithstanding, Japan would have consolidated their gains and not commenced an invasion of Australia, however, this is certainly debatable.
        3) Given the above circumstance, this would have produced a “phony war” as had happened in the E.T.O.; which would give us time to rebuild our navel forces.
        4) In my opinion, after a new Navy buildup, our response would have been an invasion of Midway island, giving us an advanced base to conduct further operations against Imperial Japan. I decline to speculate further. “Nuff Said.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was just thinking the same thing. Look at the event after the Fall of Bataan. The Japanese soldiers behaved like savages. In the end, the good prevailed over evil as always.

        Liked by 1 person

  38. Thank you for sharing this.

    Like

  1. Pingback: September 1945 in Japan – Daydreaming

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