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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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