August 15, 1945: The Voice of the Crane

Something for the weekend.  Kimigayo, the Japanese national anthem.

And so World War II ended with the people of Japan standing at attention or bowing as they heard their Emperor tell them, in a classical Japanese that most of them probably found hard to follow, that it was time to endure the unendurable:


After pondering deeply the general trends of the world and the actual conditions obtaining in Our Empire today, We have decided to effect a settlement of the present situation by resorting to an extraordinary measure.

We have ordered Our Government to communicate to the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, China and the Soviet Union that Our Empire accepts the provisions of their Joint Declaration.

To strive for the common prosperity and happiness of all nations as well as the security and well-being of Our subjects is the solemn obligation which has been handed down by Our Imperial Ancestors and which lies close to Our heart.

Indeed, We declared war on America and Britain out of Our sincere desire to ensure Japan’s self-preservation and the stabilization of East Asia, it being far from Our thought either to infringe upon the sovereignty of other nations or to embark upon territorial aggrandizement.

But now the war has lasted for nearly four years. Despite the best that has been done by everyone – the gallant fighting of the military and naval forces, the diligence and assiduity of Our servants of the State, and the devoted service of Our one hundred million people – the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest.

Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should We continue to fight, not only would it result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.

Such being the case, how are We to save the millions of Our subjects, or to atone Ourselves before the hallowed spirits of Our Imperial Ancestors? This is the reason why We have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the Joint Declaration of the Powers.

We cannot but express the deepest sense of regret to Our Allied nations of East Asia, who have consistently cooperated with the Empire towards the emancipation of East Asia.

The thought of those officers and men as well as others who have fallen in the fields of battle, those who died at their posts of duty, or those who met with untimely death and all their bereaved families, pains Our heart night and day.

The welfare of the wounded and the war-sufferers, and of those who have lost their homes and livelihood, are the objects of Our profound solicitude.

The hardships and sufferings to which Our nation is to be subjected hereafter will be certainly great. We are keenly aware of the inmost feelings of all of you, Our subjects. However, it is according to the dictates of time and fate that We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is unsufferable.

Having been able to safeguard and maintain the structure of the Imperial State, We are always with you, Our good and loyal subjects, relying upon your sincerity and integrity.

Beware most strictly of any outbursts of emotion which may engender needless complications, or any fraternal contention and strife which may create confusion, lead you astray and cause you to lose the confidence of the world.

Let the entire nation continue as one family from generation to generation, ever firm in its faith in the imperishability of its sacred land, and mindful of its heavy burden of responsibility, and of the long road before it.

Unite your total strength, to be devoted to construction for the future. Cultivate the ways of rectitude, foster nobility of spirit, and work with resolution – so that you may enhance the innate glory of the Imperial State and keep pace with the progress of the world.

As a piece of political mendacity, replete with lie after lie, it has few equals, but it served its purpose:  Japan would surrender and the bloodiest war in human history was finally at an end.

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  1. Let’s pray the “bloodiest war in human history,” will indeed come to an end.

    The 22nd of August, Queenship of Mary, is a day that those who can not fight for themselves will have prayer warriors standing in for them at the front lines.
    Over two hundred cities.
    Over two thousand American taxpayers pleading to Heaven to help us de-fund Worse than Murder Inc.

    Join in for an hour or two next Saturday, and help to end this ongoing war, the bloodiest in our Nation’s history.

  2. Thanks for posting this Donald.
    When I first read this a few years ago, I was struck by the arrogance of the concession speech, as if it was their altruistic decision that terminated the war because of concern for the greater good.

    Iin researching for a book I wrote on the war years back, I concluded that God did draw good from all this evil, since it terminated a centuries old warrior mentality that might well have taken many more lives than those lost in the war had it been victorious.
    Two concepts of man, I realized, were at play—the dignity of man is found in humility not honor that comes from abusing other people. They killed their own dishonored and captured prisoners, we risked death to save our prisoners.

    War, nukes included, is a heck of a way to bring about peace. Let’s hope that the Judeo-Christian world’s present enemies don’t take us to the brink of disaster over their “destruction of other human life is good” mentality.

  3. Don Mc- is this your writing? ‘As a piece of political mendacity, replete with lie after lie, it has few equals, but it served its purpose: Japan would surrender and the bloodiest war in human history was finally at an end.

    makes me think of jn8:44

  4. There was a saying I picked up from someone who used to work in DC, as I used to – “Close enough for government work”.

    The statement was certainly arrogant, but it was close enough to get the job done.

  5. “As a piece of political mendacity, replete with lie after lie, it has few equals, but it served its purpose: Japan would surrender and the bloodiest war in human history was finally at an end.”
    After reading the ignorance of “good and loyal subjects and servants of the Imperial State”, “subjects and servants of the state”? Free will, sovereign personhood? and he talked about human civilization. Japan had coveted Hawaii as a steppingstone to invade the U.S.A forever. I was upset when I read the speech until I read you response; “replete with lie after lie” Thank you. Donald McClarey

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