Feeding and Occupying Japan

MacArthur’s first priority was to set up a food distribution network; following the collapse of the ruling government and the wholesale destruction of most major cities, virtually everyone was starving. Even with these measures, millions of people were still on the brink of starvation for several years after the surrender.  As expressed by Kawai Kazuo, “Democracy cannot be taught to a starving people”.  The US government encouraged democratic reform in Japan, and while it sent billions of dollars in food aid, this was dwarfed by the occupation costs it imposed on the struggling Japanese administration.

Initially, the US government provided emergency food relief through Government and Relief in Occupied Areas  (GARIOA) funds. In fiscal year 1946, this aid amounted to US $92 million in loans. From April 1946, in the guise Licensed Agencies for Relief,  private relief organizations were also permitted to provide relief.

MacArthur and Hirohito, first meeting

Once the food network was in place MacArthur set out to win the support of Hirohito. The two men met for the first time on September 27; the photograph of the two together is one of the most famous in Japanese history. Some were shocked that MacArthur wore his standard duty uniform with no tie instead of his dress uniform when meeting the emperor. With the sanction of Japan’s reigning monarch, MacArthur had the political ammunition he needed to begin the real work of the occupation.

While other Allied political and military leaders pushed for Hirohito to be tried as a war criminal, MacArthur resisted such calls, arguing that any such prosecution would be overwhelmingly unpopular with the Japanese people. He also rejected the claims of members of the imperial family such as Prince Mikasa and Prince Higashikuni and demands of intellectuals like Tatsuji Miyoshi, who sought the emperor’s abdication.

By the end of 1945, more than 350,000 U.S. personnel were stationed throughout Japan. By the beginning of 1946, replacement troops began to arrive in the country in large numbers and were assigned to MacArthur’s  8th Army, headquartered in Tokyo’s Dai-Ichi building.

Of the main Japanese islands, Kyushu was occupied by the 24th Infantry Division, with some responsibility for Shikoku.  Honshu was occupied by the 1st Calvary Division.  Hokkaido was occupied by the 11th Airborne Division.

By June 1950, all these army units had suffered extensive troop reductions and their combat effectiveness was seriously weakened. When North Korea invaded South Korea in the Korean War, elements of the 24th Division were flown into South Korea to try to fight the invasion force there, but the inexperienced occupation troops, while acquitting themselves well when suddenly thrown into combat almost overnight, suffered heavy casualties and were forced into retreat until other Japan occupation troops could be sent to assist.

Groups involved and running parallel to SCAP (MacArthur),

two women in Sasebo, Japan, Sept-Oct. 1945

The official British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF), composed of  Australian,  British, Indian, and New Zealand personnel, was deployed on February 21, 1946.  While U.S. forces were responsible for the overall occupation, BCOF was responsible for supervising demilitarization and the disposal of Japan’s war industries.  BCOF was also responsible for occupation of several western prefectures and had its headquarters at Kure.  At its peak, the force numbered about 40,000 personnel. During 1947, BCOF began to decrease its activities in Japan, and officially wound up in 1951.

The Far Eastern Commission and Allied Council for Japan were also established to supervise the occupation of Japan.  The establishment of a multilateral Allied council for Japan was proposed by the Soviet government as early as September 1945, and was supported partially by the British, French and Chinese governments.

Click on images to enlarge,

###########################################################################################

Personal Shoutout – Hurricane Dorian appears to have his eyes on hitting here.  So, if I suddenly disappear, please understand that I might be out of power.

Thank you for understanding.

############################################################################################

Military Humor – 

############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Jeffrey Aylward – Plymouth, MA; 176th Ordnance/82nd Airborne Division

Harold Bakken – Kent, WA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, SeaBee

Robert Coleman – Nashua, NH; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Robert Fraley – Flora, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. B/187/11th Airborne Division

John Isbell – Birmingham, AL; US Navy, WWII

Jerry Koerner – Paducah, KY; US Army, Vietnam

Leslie May – NZ; RNZ Navy # MX117905, WWII, ETO

Thomas Rice – Columbia, SC; US Army, WWII, ETO, Sgt.

Robert Steiner – St. Paul, MN; US Army, 81mm gunner, 86th Infantry Division

Timothy Woos – Salem, VA; US Army, SSgt., 2nd Infantry Division

############################################################################################

Advertisements

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 August 29, 2019, in SMITTY, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 135 Comments.

  1. “Democracy cannot be taught to a starving people” is quite true.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Not exactly understanding why so soon after the war, that the Japan occupation troops were called into the North/South Korean conflict, reread the post gp and still unsure why the Americans needed the Japan occupation troops, answer probably staring me in the face.
    Always something to learn or ponder on with your posts mate, cheers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Despite military warnings, I think Korea was still a surprise for the politicians. The Japanese Occupation troops weren’t the best to use either. They were not well trained and military budgets had been sliced (as politicians are prone to doing).

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Good to see you again, GP! I haven’t been on here much at all this year. I hope all is well. Praying that you and yours will be safe from Dorian. Are you going to have to evacuate? I hope not. Stay safe!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Linda, always a pleasure!! No we’re about 7-8 miles from the ocean and the only evacuating we could do is to a shelter – as you know there is no evacuation plan for Floridians to get out of the state. Our building is cbs construction and 40 years old, it is quite solid. We just got a new roof about 10 months ago and our windows are shuttered. So now it’s just sit and wait. Now that Dorian has slowed to 1 mile per hour – that might be a long wait. It won’t be too bad as long as the AC stays on!!
      Are you anywhere near the cone of possibility?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I believe the character of our nation was as much demonstrated by our post-war occupation of Germany and Japan as it was by the strife, itself. We helped to rebuild nations which had been our sworn enemies, in the process strengthened democracy across the globe.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I imagine the fact japan was an island made some aspects of the rebuild unique. Outside interference would be difficult and the homogeneous nature of the culture might eliminate internal post war factions. But the country was completely shattered so it could also be that all differences were set aside to combat famine and disease. In any event, thanks for the post- definitely food for thought.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Very nice article. Thank you, sir.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. As the saying goes, “to the victor belongs the spoils.” Unfortunately, too many victors spoil things by inhumane treatment of their opponents. It’s fascinating to read about the aftermath of the war, particularly in the Pacific theater, the area we learned almost nothing about in school, and to get these glimpses of the people who made some pretty darned smart decisions in the post-war period.

    At this point it looks like you’re in for a glancing blow. We’ll see. A tropical storm’s nothing to fool with, but it looks as though I need to start watching the situation for friends in Charleston.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree with all you said. I would really like to hear from the people who decided on our curriculum for school as to how and why which subjects were taught!!

      What you say about the storm is also quite true. I may have dodged a bullet this time, but that puts so many others in jeopardy.

      Like

  8. I read the no awards after I pressed the send button. So sorry. But you are definitly on the top of my list for a great blog! Thanks again!.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I really like the “BEETLE BAILEY” Comic strips. So clever! 💖 I would like to sing your praises -again- and nominate you for the “CREATIVE BLOGGER AWARD” see ‘you’ at https://simplyslendidfood.com
    The award comes with a few guidelines and in the true spirit of creative ‘ blog’ award ‘‘sharing is a good thing …and pass the blessing on to others.

    Award Rules:

    1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
    2. Share 5 facts about yourself.
    3. Nominate some bloggers in return and notify them about their nomination.
    4. Notify bloggers that you included.
    5. Keep the rules in your post to make it easy

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I loved Beetle Bailey! Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Despite mind boggling massive efforts and expense the Democratic powers are still pissed by many countries in this world. Other countries that would have slaughtered the Japanese and let them starve to death. We may not be perfect, but our general character is high – and demonstrated.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Fascinating. My uncle was involved in the Korean conflict. In the UK it’s the forgotten one.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. My cousin was there. He returned with a persistent bump across his forehead from colliding with Japanese-height lintels day after day.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Such a generous clean up operation

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I neglected to thank you for including the Beetle Bailey cartoons. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I’m playing catch-up on these posts, GP. I really enjoyed this one. The focus of attention during those immediate post-war years certainly wasn’t on Japan or Korea. I think MacArthur was correct, though. Harsh treatment and not responding with necessary aid is how we set the stage for WWII after WWI. The General may have had his issues, but he knew what he was doing in this case.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Absolutely! The Treaty of Versailles gave Hitler huge political traction with the German people. Not only was there no aid, the British food blockade was in violation of international law and starved >700,000 Germans to death, men, women, children. In 1915, William Jennings Bryan resigned as Sec. of State because of Wilson’s mishandling of the situation. We should never have fought that war. The Lusitania was a munitions ship.

      Liked by 3 people

  17. The men who had fought the Japanese must have found it very difficult to deal with them in the post-war period, although what was being done to help the Japanese was clearly the right thing to do (as the Treaty of Versailles had already shown in Europe in the 1920s).

    Liked by 3 people

    • To some of the men, yes of course. But as my father put it, their attitude seemed to change so radically, that at first everyone thought it a ruse – then gradually they realized that the civilians were not all that different from the rest of the world and they got on with their tasks at hand.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Praying Dorian leaves you alone! xoxox

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I learn so much from you!!! I just wish I had time to read more. take care GP Cox!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Do be safe…you may be getting the worst of it. We should be fine unless it jogs north a bit…we’re ready in any case.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I can not imagine the headaches associated with feed the Japanese people after the war.
    I go a kick of Beetle Bailey

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Praying you make out well through the storm GP.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. An excellent post. It seems everyone knows about the war, but few know what happened when the shooting stopped.

    Liked by 6 people

    • All we ever heard about in school was the air-lift in Europe – as usual, Europe came first. Thank you for coming by today!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think that it would be interesting to learn about the relief efforts in both the European and Pacific theaters. What went on in the various European and North African countries? Besides Japan, what aid was given to the various islands that were the scenes of invasion? I wonder if there were any books published on that topic. Surely there were, but the question remains of how to find them. I would be looking for books published up to about 1970. Books published after that time are likely to be too politically correct to be of much value. Research might also be done on the portrayal of the post war period in the movies. That is an important topic because in the pre-television days the movies provided the world with images of the world, impressions upon which decisions were made and support garnered. I remember the movie “The Third Man” and another regarding a lost boy starring Bing Crosby. Those were about Europe. I vaguely remember one starring Robert Ryan that was about Japan. Does anyone have a filmography of post war recovery-related movies? So much to learn: How was the damage repaired or replaced. What of destroyed infrastructure? How were people fed or medical care provided? For how many years did food rationing continue? There is just so much to know.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I think I might know who to ask about the movies. As far as the books go, I’ll look into it and get back with you.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I am not in any way a researcher about the European side, but I did run across “Germany In Our Time: A Political History of the Post War Years” by Alfred Grosser & Paul Stephenson, published 1971
          “The Shaping of Postwar Germany” by: Robert Spencer, Richard Hiscocks & Edgar McInnis, 1960

          For Japan –
          “Japan’s Economic Recovery” by: G.C. Allen 1958
          “Japan: Land and Men: An Account of the Japanese Land Reform Program 1945-51” by: Lawrence I. Hewes Jr., 1955

          Or you just may want to go right into the original plan….. Sent from the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Pentagon) to Gen. MacArthur…
          https://www.ndl.go.jp/constitution/e/shiryo/01/036/036tx.html

          http://self.gutenberg.org/articles/Allied_occupation_of_Japan

          Hope some of this material helps. I have not heard from my movie contact, but then again, nether of us trusts the historic value of anything out of Hollywood.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks for the references. I appreciate your taking the time to put the list together. I will check out each of them. As for Hollywood or any other center of movie production. . . . Well, you are right. Historical accuracy is not to be trusted. Some of the movies produced in the immediate postwar years are bound to provide, especially those set in the Far East and Europe, a sense of what life was like in war-torn countries.

            Liked by 2 people

            • Being as I still had not heard back, I decided to make my own short list of films.
              ‘The Burmese Harp’ – an Ichikawa film
              ‘I Live In Fear’ – 1955 – Kurosawa film
              ‘A Foreign Affair’ – 1948 – Billy Wilder
              ‘Germany Year Zero’ – 1948 – Roberto Rossellini
              ‘My Way Home’ – 1965

              Liked by 1 person

      • There is always the question of the repatriation of defeated troops at war’s end. The following article might be of interest to you: “The Strange Navy That Shipped Millions of Japanese Home” (https://www.navalhistory.org/2019/04/25/the-strange-navy-that-shipped-millions-of-japanese-home).

        Liked by 1 person

  24. Excellent history lesson, thank you. I am going to reblog this one for you Sir.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Very interesting, GP! That part of war history not even in my mind back then as a teenager. A huge undertaking to unify the country. Not even close in our wars today. It’s scary! Everyone out for themselves. 📚🎶 Christine

    Liked by 2 people

  26. It took more effort and coordination to clean up after the war than going to war. MacArthur did a tremendous job during the occupation of Japan. You wonder what would the Japanese do if the outcome was reversed!
    Stay safe with Dorian! My brother lives in FL, an hour south of Orlando and I am also worried about him.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for reading this post, Rose. If the situation were refused, I think Japan would have had a heck of a lot of trouble keeping our Home Front civilians “in line”. We were lucky to have someone like Mac, who understood the Oriental culture as well as he did.

      We are definitely keeping an eye on Dorian!! I was not happy that it missed the islands. Those mountains would have done a great deal to keep the storm half-way tame, but now – they’re talking a Category 4 before it hits land! Every one is smart if they never underestimate a hurricane and stay prepared!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, MacArthur knew the Orientals. Is that PC? I like Orientals better than Asians BTW,
        I talked to my brother an hour ago. I thought he might still be up north. His mother-in-law passed away last week and they were in New Jersey for a whole week. They don’t feel inclined on driving up north again so they are preparing. They are more inland so he thinks it will slow down to Cat. 3 when it reaches his area. That’s still high wind.

        Liked by 2 people

  27. I certainly hope Dorian misses you. GP. Great report on the occupation.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. I knew about McArthur and the regular uniform. I didn’t know about the food issues, though that makes sense. japan was in bad shape before we occupied it, so there was a lot of catchup.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Oops – “were” losing face = “WHERE losing face …”

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Another eye opening post GP, we seldom think about the aftermath of it all. Also keeping fingers xt the Hurricane Dorian doesn’t come too close!

    Liked by 2 people

  31. MacArthur seems to have successfully, if unconsciously, put his massive ego and need for PR on the shelf long enough to get most respects of the occupation of Japan right. I think his decision not to wear full dress uniform for his meeting with Hirohito was an example of this – by not wearing the full dress uniform, he was allowing the defeated Emperor to save face in a quiet way, a most important gesture in Asian cultures were “losing face” is a real disgrace.

    Liked by 2 people

    • He spent a deal of his life in the Pacific and knew well the Oriental culture. I don’t think it all would have gone so smoothly if we didn’t have him. Thank you for giving us your thoughts.

      Like

  32. Hi GP. This is actually a thought provocking post on more than one level. Clothes are always a statement and/or an issue for public figures, politicians, and others. I doubt Mac Arthur was influenced by such things, but even if he wasn’t, to me, he got the point across that he was there to “roll up his sleeves” and get work done — rather than try to supplant/replace the country’s ruler.

    I didn’t realize you were in the hurricane’s path. Wishing you and yours wellness and safety. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 2 people

  33. So it is! First you have to fight against them, and after them you have to feed the surviving enemies. Not all military did. ;-( Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  34. I really wonder if our modern administrations would manage such a task…to judge by Iraq….they’re not.
    Good luck with the weather…and take care of yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • A lot of the readers are asking a similar question, Helen, and I agree – nowadays most are out for Number 1 and # 1 only. While we’re being soft hearted, we pay the price with men being killed, too much money going over there for naught, etc.

      Thank you for your concern about the storm. We should do okay. I am mainly worried about electric, since it’s so HOT this year, I really don’t want to go through a week of no air conditioning again!!

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Haven’t seen a Beetle Bailey cartoon in decades. Thanks for the memories.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. It’s nice when we do it right–maybe we will again someday….. (One can always hope.)

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Praying Dorian passes you by without causing trouble! Keep your head down and your feet dry…

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Really interesting, GP. And necessary – particularly in the context of the uncertain relationship with the USSR. A lesson not taken on board before Iraq was invaded – winning the war is one thing, but you sometimes also have to plan to manage the peace. Great post!

    Liked by 4 people

  39. The bureaucracy was massive…would it work these days? chuq

    Liked by 2 people

  40. What a vast undertaking. It’s hard to imagine so many US personnel being in Japan.

    Liked by 2 people

    • They had a large population that now needed care, plus who knew how they would all react to Allied presence. There was a lot that was going to have to start up in restoring the country.

      Liked by 1 person

  41. It’s really interesting to hear more details about the complexities of occupying such a large and populous country.
    Thanks, GP.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

  42. Amazing that what MacArthur wore was an issue.

    Liked by 2 people

  1. Pingback: CREATIVE Blogger Award – Simply Splendid Food

  2. Pingback: Featured Blogger Report: Feeding and Occupying Japan // Pacific Paratrooper #AceHistoryDesk reports | ' Ace Worldwide History '

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: