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  #41  
Old 05-28-2018, 02:23 PM
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On May 28th, the IHA announced it will accept Emperor Showa's memoirs donated by Dr. Katsuya Takasu. The agency confirmed imperial aide and translator Hidenari Terasaki's handwriting. Dr. Takasu is pleased and hopes the public will see it eventually.

Source: Asahi
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  #42  
Old 08-22-2018, 10:53 PM
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Controversial memo shines light on Emperor Hirohito's role in Pearl Harbor attack - Chicago Tribune
Quote:
[...]

At 8:30 p.m. in Tokyo, just hours before the attack, [Prime Minister Hideki Tojo] summoned two top aides for a countdown to war briefing. One of them, Vice Interior Minister Michio Yuzawa, wrote an account three hours after the meeting was over.

"The emperor seemed at ease and unshakable once he had made a decision," he quoted Tojo as saying.

[...]

"It took me nine years to come forward, as I was afraid of a backlash," said bookshop owner Takeo Hatano, who handled the document carefully as he showed it to Associated Press journalists. [...]

Takahisa Furukawa, a Nihon University expert on wartime history who has confirmed the authenticity of the memo, called it the first detailed portrayal of Tojo and Hirohito just before the attack. Palace documents have confirmed Hirohito's daytime meeting with Tojo on Dec. 7, 1941, but without elaborating.

The memo supports the view that Hirohito was not as concerned about waging war on the U.S. as was once portrayed, Furukawa said. The emperor had endorsed the government's decision to scrap diplomatic options at a Dec. 1 meeting, and his unchanged position the day before the attack reassured Tojo.

Yuzawa's account portrays Tojo as upbeat and feeling a sense of accomplishment after all the required administrative steps for war had been taken and, most importantly, Hirohito had given him the final nod without asking any questions.

"If His Majesty had any regret over negotiations with Britain and the U.S., he would have looked somewhat grim. There was no such indication, which must be a result of his determination," Tojo is quoted as saying in the memo. "I'm completely relieved. Given the current conditions, I could say we have practically won already."

[...]

Furukawa said Tojo's remarks in the memo about his relief at completing the preparations for war support evaluations of him as a good bureaucrat but not a visionary leader. More decisive leadership might have ended the war earlier, he said.

"Tojo is a bureaucrat who was incapable of making own decisions, so he turned to the emperor as his supervisor. That's why he had to report everything for the emperor to decide. If the emperor didn't say no, then he would proceed," Furukawa said. "Clearly, the memo shows the absence of political leadership in Japan."

[...]

Hatano, a longtime acquaintance of some of Yuzawa's descendants, received the notebook and other items from the family when they wanted to make room in their apartment. He found the memo folded in half inside the notebook about a year later.

"When I recognized the date, Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, I knew it was something special," he said. He examined it repeatedly to try to make sense of the handwriting and archaic language. "Then I spotted references to the emperor, and Prime Minister Tojo."
Emperor Hirohito in anguish in final years over blame for war - Kyodo News
Quote:
[...]

The diary kept by late chamberlain Shinobu Kobayashi revealed the aging emperor was haunted by talk of his wartime responsibility following the Sino-Japanese War and World War II.

"There is no point in living a longer life by reducing my workload. It would only increase my chances of seeing or hearing things that are agonizing," according to the diary entry dated April 7, 1987. The emperor, who died in 1989, was 85 at the time.

The entry recounted the emperor's remarks made to Kobayashi, who was 22 years his junior, while Kobayashi was on duty at the emperor's residence in Tokyo. The Imperial Household Agency had been considering ways to reduce his workload at the time.

[...]

"I have experienced the deaths of my brother and relatives and have been told about my war responsibility," the emperor also said, according to the diary.

[...]

The diary shows Kobayashi tried to console the emperor by telling him that "Only a few people talk about (your) war responsibility."

[...]

Another diary by a senior chamberlain, Ryogo Urabe, which has already been made public, supports Kobayashi's accounts, stating Kobayashi had "tried to soothe" the emperor, who said "there is nothing good in living long," in an entry dated the same day.

[...]

The diary entry dated May 27, 1980, said the emperor wanted to convey his regret over the Sino-Japanese War to visiting Chinese Premier Hua Guofeng but other senior officials of the agency opposed the idea for fear of a backlash from rightists.

Kobayashi's diary does not detail who talked about the emperor's responsibility or when, although in March 1986 there was a fierce exchange of words between the late Seiji Masamori, a Japan Communist Party lawmaker at the House of Representatives, and then Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone.

During a budget committee meeting, Masamori said, "Who drove Japan to the brink of collapse by starting a reckless war?" Nakasone denied the emperor had any responsibility.

In December 1988, Nagasaki Mayor Hitoshi Motojima also said the emperor bears responsibility for the war, stirring controversy again.

[...]

Kobayashi, who became the emperor's chamberlain in April 1974, kept a diary almost daily during his 26 years in office until June 2000, when the emperor's wife Empress Kojun died.
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  #43  
Old 09-29-2018, 12:19 PM
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Video of Empress Kojun's life, includes rare photos after she retired from public duties in 1987.
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  #44  
Old 01-02-2019, 11:07 PM
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Cache of rare ‘waka’ poems written by Hirohito emerge: The Asahi Shimbun
Quote:
[...] The manuscripts were kept by an individual who was close to the emperor.

[...]

The jottings are on 29 sheets of paper, both front and back, on which the characters of “Kunaicho” (Imperial Household Agency) are printed. All the pages, except one side, are filled with poems by the emperor as well as his revisions.

They contain at least 252 poems, all written in pencil. The margins are filled with notes and comments.

[...]

The Asahi Shimbun interviewed the individual, and others associated with the collection, on numerous occasions and analyzed the manuscripts in cooperation with Isao Tokoro, professor emeritus of law at Kyoto Sangyo University [...]

The newspaper also sought the assistance of poet Hirohiko Okano, who had advised Hirohito about his poetry style in his last years, to check the contents as he was familiar with the emperor's handwriting.

[...] the 29 sheets of paper were used by Hirohito from around 1985 to autumn 1988 when he became sick.

[...] Of the 252 newly discovered poems, 41 were at the polishing stage and eventually carried in those two books. The remaining 211 poems had never been published.

The themes of Hirohito’s poems range widely from the Pacific War to visits to local areas of Japan.

One reads, “Aa Kanashi/ Tatakai no ato/ Omoitsutsu/ Shiki ni Inori o/ Sasagetarunari” (How sad/ Thinking/ After the war/ Offering/ Prayers frequently).

Hirohito sent this poem to the memorial service for the war dead held on Aug. 15, 1988, the last official event for him.

He read the following poem during a ceremony to celebrate the 60th anniversary of his reign, which was held on April 29, 1986, his 85th birthday.

“Kokumin no/ Iwai o Ukete/ Ureshikimo/ Furikaerimireba/ Hazukashikikana” (Receiving celebration/ From the people/ I’m happy but/ Looking back/ I’m ashamed)

[...]

At the age of 60, he read a poem, which in part went, “Ware Kaerimite/ Haji Ookikana” (When I look back/ Many shames).

At the age of 70, he read another poem, which in part said, “Kaerimireba/ Tada Omohayuku” (Looking back/ I just feel embarrassed).

[...]

In the margin of the manuscripts, Hirohito wrote, “Though this ritual is a state event, I wonder if this is good.”

[...]
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  #45  
Old 01-09-2019, 03:16 AM
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more about the waka poems

Snow in Tokyo often reminded Hirohito of coup attempt in 1936: The Asahi Shimbun
Quote:
[...] One of the memos reads, “I think of the 2-26 Incident.”

This refers to an attempted coup d’etat on Feb. 26, 1936, by young army officers intent on purging the government and military leadership. Several people were killed or seriously injured in the uprising, and a number of the officers were later executed.

[...] one starts with a description of heavy snow that had fallen in Tokyo since the early hours of the previous day. The emperor noted that it was numbingly cold in January.

He then wrote, “Seeing snow, I think of the 2-26 Incident.” It goes on to say, “I regret that I stopped skiing and that I can’t stroll around.”

A different memo reads, “I’m nostalgic for the days when I skied in my garden. So, I hold a grudge against the (2-26) incident. When I enjoyably hear stories about skiing from my children and other people, I just pray for a peaceful society.”

It was snowing in Tokyo when the 2-26 Incident occurred. At that time, Hirohito was 34 years old.

According to "Showa-Tenno Jitsuroku" (Fact record of Emperor Showa), Hirohito skied every day in February 1936 from the fifth day of that month. He also skied in the afternoon on Feb. 25, a day before the incident.

But after the coup attempt, he only ever skied twice, in 1939 and in 1942.

[...]

Non-fiction writer Masayasu Hosaka said that for Hirohito, the 2-26 Incident was the second most painful event next to World War II.

“It is known that he stopped playing golf after the war. If similar feelings would have spread to skiing, painful memories must have penetrated even into his daily life,” Hosaka said.
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  #46  
Old 01-10-2019, 09:08 PM
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So, that one violent incident occurring when he was 34 caused the very sight of snow to trigger painful memories (so painful he forever abandoned an activity he had loved) for all the rest of his days. How many people who experienced the events of the 1930s and 1940s must have suffered in this way?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prisma View Post
Emperor Hirohito in anguish in final years over blame for war - Kyodo News

Quote:
[...]

The diary kept by late chamberlain Shinobu Kobayashi revealed the aging emperor was haunted by talk of his wartime responsibility following the Sino-Japanese War and World War II.

"There is no point in living a longer life by reducing my workload. It would only increase my chances of seeing or hearing things that are agonizing," according to the diary entry dated April 7, 1987. The emperor, who died in 1989, was 85 at the time.

The entry recounted the emperor's remarks made to Kobayashi, who was 22 years his junior, while Kobayashi was on duty at the emperor's residence in Tokyo. The Imperial Household Agency had been considering ways to reduce his workload at the time.

[...]

"I have experienced the deaths of my brother and relatives and have been told about my war responsibility," the emperor also said, according to the diary.

[...]

The diary shows Kobayashi tried to console the emperor by telling him that "Only a few people talk about (your) war responsibility."

[...]

Another diary by a senior chamberlain, Ryogo Urabe, which has already been made public, supports Kobayashi's accounts, stating Kobayashi had "tried to soothe" the emperor, who said "there is nothing good in living long," in an entry dated the same day.

[...]

The diary entry dated May 27, 1980, said the emperor wanted to convey his regret over the Sino-Japanese War to visiting Chinese Premier Hua Guofeng but other senior officials of the agency opposed the idea for fear of a backlash from rightists.

Kobayashi's diary does not detail who talked about the emperor's responsibility or when, although in March 1986 there was a fierce exchange of words between the late Seiji Masamori, a Japan Communist Party lawmaker at the House of Representatives, and then Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone.

During a budget committee meeting, Masamori said, "Who drove Japan to the brink of collapse by starting a reckless war?" Nakasone denied the emperor had any responsibility.

In December 1988, Nagasaki Mayor Hitoshi Motojima also said the emperor bears responsibility for the war, stirring controversy again.

[...]

Kobayashi, who became the emperor's chamberlain in April 1974, kept a diary almost daily during his 26 years in office until June 2000, when the emperor's wife Empress Kojun died.
The depth of his guilt must have been awful, especially when being gagged by the government/IHA and disallowed from expressing his regret. It's ironic that Mayor Motojima received a death threat for expressing the emperor's own sincere belief that he bore some responsibility for the war.
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  #47  
Old 03-15-2019, 12:26 AM
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5,000 mistakes found in official history of Emperor Showa: The Asahi Shimbun
Quote:
An official chronicle of the life of Emperor Akihito's father contains 5,000 or so errors, but none so grievous that they alter the historical record, according to sources.

Imperial Household Agency officials toiled on the multivolume work about Emperor Showa, as Hirohito is known posthumously, for more than 24 years.

[...]

The finished version was presented to Akihito and Empress Michiko in August 2014.

[...]

The errors were uncovered during the process of preparing the chronicle for publication to the public. Many of the mistakes concerned dates and names of individuals whom the emperor met, as well as locations he visited.

[...]

After identifying all the errors, agency officials plan to release a chart that provides the correct information.

[...]

In October 2014, Akihito pointed out that the circumstances concerning a "waka" poem composed by his father appeared to be incorrect.

[...]

Copies of the chronicle were also presented to the other imperial family members, including Crown Prince Naruhito [...]

The contents, presented in digital form to media organizations, served as unimpeachable background information for numerous news reports.

Some of the data was also released to researchers, who submitted information disclosure requests.

[...]

Agency officials combed through the chronicle and found discrepancies in the dates Emperor Showa met various people, a number of whom were wrongly identified.

The errors stemmed from mistakes in original documents used to compile the chronicle or were spotted on the basis of new information obtained by agency officials.

[...]

The first volume of the chronicle went on sale from Tokyo Shoseki in March 2015. The 19th and final volume is set for release on March 28.

[...]

Once the chart is completed, a report on the changes will be submitted to Akihito, Michiko and other imperial family members for their perusal ahead of releasing it to the general public.

A total of 112 employees at the agency's Archives and Mausolea Department were involved in compiling the chronicle. The total cost, excluding personnel expenses, came to 230 million yen ($2.1 million).

In addition to interviewing 50 or so former close associates of Emperor Showa, the researchers visited all 47 prefectures as well as countries that Hirohito went to, including the United States and Britain.

They consulted about 3,000 documents, including the diaries of close associates and others, as well official documents of foreign nations.
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  #48  
Old 08-19-2019, 01:41 PM
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Emperor Hirohito stopped from expressing remorse over war - Kyodo News+
Quote:
Emperor Hirohito wanted to express his regret and remorse over World War II in 1952 but was stopped from doing so by the prime minister at the time, newly disclosed documents showed Monday.

The records detailing exchanges between the emperor, known posthumously as Emperor Showa, and Michiji Tajima, the first grand steward of the Imperial Household Agency, provide further evidence to support the view that the emperor may have sought to apologize over the war.

The documents, disclosed by public broadcaster NHK, which obtained 18 notebooks from Tajima's family, showed the emperor saying on Jan. 11, 1952, "I just think I really need to include the word remorse" in a speech during the ceremony in May that year to mark Japan's regaining of independence.

An item dated Feb. 20 the same year also quoted the emperor as saying, "If we reflect, we have all done bad things, so please write well and include in the upcoming speech the meaning that we must all reflect and not repeat them."

But Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, who was consulted by Tajima, opposed the emperor's plan to publicly express regret and remorse, saying it could prompt people to say he was responsible for starting the war.

Yoshida also said he no longer wanted the emperor to mention the war or Japan's defeat.

[...]

The documents also showed the emperor reflecting on the path toward Japan's defeat, saying "no one could stop the military," particularly by the time Hideki Tojo was serving as the country's prime minister.

Tajima was chief of the imperial household office from 1949 to 1953. He wrote down details of conversations with the emperor during his service in his notebooks.

[...]

In 2003, a draft of an apology speech believed to have been in preparation for Emperor Hirohito after the war was discovered by former Sophia University lecturer Kyoko Kato when she was going through documents left by Tajima.

The draft speech, which mentions "deep shame" due to "my fault," was estimated to have been written around the autumn of 1948, and indicated he may have been planning to admit his responsibility for the war and apologize to the Japanese people.

A slew of other documents, including diaries of the emperor's close aides, have shown the emperor was uneasy with Japan's drift to war but was too weak to alter the course of events and was in anguish in his final years for being blamed for his role in the war.

[...]
Emperor Hirohito sought post-WWII political input, expression of war regret: new docs - The Mainichi
Quote:
[...]

On the message to the Japanese people at the end of the Allied occupation, Tajima records the Emperor telling him on Jan. 11, 1952 -- when work on a draft speech was beginning in earnest -- "I absolutely wish to include words of regret (in the speech)." On Feb. 20 the same year, Tajima records the Emperor saying, "Though this is beyond my purview, (during the war) order was overthrown from below in the military, in the government and among the people, and the brazenness of the military was overlooked. Everyone has negative things to reflect on, so my wish is for everyone to regret these things so they will not be repeated." It is thought that "order overthrown from below" was intended to mean the failure to restrain Japan's military during the conflict.

In the end, the exact term "regret" was removed from the Emperor's address after internal discussions at the Imperial Household Agency. Attempts were made to insert a section on repentance for the war, but this too was dropped in the face of opposition from then Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida.

[...]

Also in the "audience records" are comments by the Emperor suggesting he felt a sense of crisis over the security situation during the Cold War between the United States and the then Soviet Union. On Feb. 11, 1952, about five months after the signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty between Japan and the western Allies, Emperor Hirohito is recorded as saying, "I believe that it would be a good idea to squarely and openly amend the part about armament," indicating he wished to see Japan change its new pacifist Constitution and rearm.

However, he also stated that he was dead-set against the restoration of the former Imperial Japanese forces. On May 8, 1952, shortly after Japan emerged from the postwar occupation, Tajima reports Emperor Hirohito saying, "It is absolutely undesirable for the previous military clique to rise again through rearmament. However, considering the threat of aggression presented by (the Soviet Union), it is unthinkable that (Japan) would not make new defensive military preparations."

Emperor Hirohito apparently sought to communicate these views to Prime Minister Yoshida, but Tajima records that he advised the Emperor that this was "forbidden." The exchange suggests that Emperor Hirohito did not fully understand that he was excluded entirely from politics by the postwar Constitution, and that he was searching for what it meant to be a purely symbolic monarch.

[...]
Notes of key aide show Hirohito’s words of war remorse deleted: The Asahi Shimbun
Quote:
[...]

Scholars said Hirohito's references to rearming reflected political realities of the times.

Takahisa Furukawa, a history professor at Nihon University, who went over the released documents, said Hirohito's references to amending the Constitution so Japan could rearm was a "statement of the times" in which many people assumed pacifist Article 9 would make it impossible to even establish an organization like the SDF.

"His comments are nothing more than an expression of his belief that a minimum level of defense was needed," Furukawa said. "The other references in the documents show that Hirohito had no intention of returning Japan to the militarist state it was until the end of the war."

Seiichi Chadani, an associate professor of history at Shigakukan University in Kagoshima city, said Hirohito's concerns about ensuring Japan's national security was a reflection of his own regret at having presided over a disastrous war that led to Japan's defeat in 1945.

Akira Yamada, a history professor at Meiji University who has penned a volume about Emperor Showa and World War II, said Hirohito's background molded his thinking about national security.

Yamada explained that Hirohito was the sole emperor of the modern era who underwent a military upbringing that allowed him to stand shoulder to shoulder with other world leaders.

"Even after the emperor became a 'symbol of the state' under the Constitution, (Hirohito) likely could not shift his thinking as the ruler of a military power," Yamada said.

[...]
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  #49  
Old 08-19-2019, 04:09 PM
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I suspect that we will never get to the complete truth about Hirohito's wartime role. Who know's what documents were destroyed before the end of the war. Who knows what motivates those who knew Hirohito well to say what they are saying.

What remains however is a feeling that justice was never really done. Who is to blame for this I don't know. Despite the presence of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force control of post war Japan was very much an American show. In the end it was a political decision. The fact that someone like prince Yasuhiko Asaka was never prosecuted is particularly galling.

One thing's for sure, if our Australian cousins had been in charge Hirohito's fate would most assuredly have been guaranteed.

On a side note - it would have been interesting to hear the Duke of Edinburgh's comments on having Hirohito to stay at Buckingham Palace in 1971. I didn't know until recently that Prince Philip had been present on HMS Whelp in Tokyo Bay on the very day the Japanese signed their surrender.
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  #50  
Old 08-22-2019, 10:51 PM
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Docs hint Emperor Showa thought 1928 murder of Chinese warlord led to WWII loss - The Mainichi
Quote:
Documents detailing the private postwar views of the late Emperor Showa that have surfaced recently suggest he believed that Japan's failure to clarify responsibility for the 1928 bombing death of Chinese warlord Zhang Zuolin by the Japanese Kwantung Army led to the country's defeat in World War II 17 years later.

"Failure to clarify the issue of punishment over the Zhang Zuolin incident led to the loosening of discipline within the army in later years. The failure to thoroughly bring those involved to justice is the origin of problems that led to the defeat," documents compiled by former grand steward Michiji Tajima quoted Emperor Showa as saying on June 8, 1951.

Emperor Showa -- known in life as Emperor Hirohito -- also repeatedly criticized a series of actions taken by Japan's military, including the bombing attack, for "overthrowing decisions from below in the military."

[...]

With regard to the Nanjing Incident in 1937, the documents show the Emperor said, "I vaguely heard from those other than relevant sources that something terrible was going on in Nanjing, but nobody openly said anything about it. So I didn't pay attention to the matter."

Akira Yamada, professor of modern Japanese history at Meiji University, said, "They (the documents) have proven that information on such a major incident reached (the Emperor) even though it wasn't an official report. There were things that could've been done such as demanding a detailed probe."

Emperor Showa was also quoted by Tajima's records as saying on the same day, "Though this is beyond my purview, (during the war) order was overthrown from below in the military, in the government and among the people, and the brazenness of the military was overlooked. Everyone has such negative things to reflect on, so my wish is for everyone to regret these things so they will not be repeated."

[...]
EDITORIAL: New glimpses of Hirohito offer a chance to review wartime history: The Asahi Shimbun
Quote:
[...]In private, Hirohito was known to express remorse for Japan's colonialism. In 1982, he told his grand chamberlain, Sukemasa Irie, that We did something truly bad to Korea.

But Hirohito spoke with extreme caution in public, such as at news conferences, which invited questions and criticisms to his dismay. [...]
Emperor Showa contemplated abdicating for the people: docs - The Mainichi
Quote:
[...] According to the newly revealed documents, however, Emperor Hirohito hinted at the possibility of his abdication in December 1949, stating, "When the treaty of peace is concluded and discussion about my abdication arises again, I could think about abdication if the situation permits."

Eyeing the possibility of handing over the throne, Emperor Hirohito even proposed to Tajima that his son and then Crown Prince Akihito (currently Emperor Emeritus Akihito) travel abroad at an early date, according to the documents.

On Aug. 22, 1951, the month before the San Francisco Peace Treaty was signed, Emperor Hirohito is quoted as saying, "In my case, taking responsibility by leaving my position would be easy as it means I can lead my life as I like." This statement came four months before his aforementioned remark that he would not hesitate to abdicate.[...]
Editorial: Emperor Showa's regret over WWII military leaders' brazenness enlightening - The Mainichi
Quote:
[...] Other documents left by the former grand steward have shown that Emperor Showa had intended to express regret over the war and apologize to the public on the occasion of rulings on Class-A war criminals in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, also known as the "Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal," in November 1948. One cannot help but wonder whether Emperor Showa later continued to explore the possibility of expressing regret over the war after his hope to do so was dashed at the time.

However, the Emperor's statements that surfaced recently in the documents suggest that he may have hoped that all of the Japanese people would reflect on their failure to restrain a runaway military rather than him expressing an apology to the public and other countries as emperor.

When asked about responsibility for the war at a news conference in 1975, Emperor Showa answered, "I don't understand such figure of speech very well." Although his determination not to have another war is respectable, the issue of war responsibility could not have been avoided if the Emperor had mentioned "regret" over the war. [...]
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