70 Years Ago Today: Japanese Surrender 

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On September 2, 1945, the Japanese representatives signed the official Instrument of Surrender, prepared by the War Department and approved by President Truman. It set out in eight short paragraphs the complete capitulation of Japan. The opening words, “We, acting by command of and in behalf of the Emperor of Japan,” signified the importance attached to the Emperor’s role by the Americans who drafted the document. The short second paragraph went straight to the heart of the matter: “We hereby proclaim the unconditional surrender to the Allied Powers of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters and of all Japanese armed forces and all armed forces under Japanese control wherever situated.”

Gen. Douglas MacArthur signs as Supreme Allied Commander during formal surrender ceremonies on the USS MISSOURI in Tokyo Bay. Behind Gen. MacArthur are Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright and Lt. Gen. A. E. Percival, September 2, 1945

Gen. Douglas MacArthur signs as Supreme Allied Commander during formal surrender ceremonies on the USS MISSOURI in Tokyo Bay. Behind Gen. MacArthur are Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright and Lt. Gen. A. E. Percival, September 2, 1945

That morning, on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay, the Japanese envoys Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and Gen. Yoshijiro Umezu signed their names on the Instrument of Surrender.

“We hereby proclaim the unconditional surrender to the Allied Powers of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters and of all Japanese armed forces and all armed forces under Japanese control wherever situated.”

The time was recorded as 4 minutes past 9 o’clock. Afterward, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Commander in the Southwest Pacific and Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, also signed. He accepted the Japanese surrender “for the United States, Republic of China, United Kingdom, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and in the interests of the other United Nations at war with Japan.”

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On September 6, Col. Bernard Thielen brought the surrender document and a second imperial rescript back to Washington, DC. The following day, Thielen presented the documents to President Truman in a formal White House ceremony. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTOS] Vintage Pictures of Everyday Life in Japan from 1949-1951

Schoolgirls on a street, Japan, ca. 1949-51Ginza, Tokyo, ca. 1949-51Japan, ca. 1949-51......

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Source: vintage everyday


International Space Station Gets Special Delivery: Japanese Whiskey – For Science

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Marcia Dunn reports: Spirits arrived at the International Space Station on Monday. Not the ghostly ones, but the kind you drink — distilled spirits.

“The six astronauts won’t be sneaking a sip. It’s all for science.”

A Japanese company known for its whiskey and other alcoholic beverages included five types of distilled spirits in a space station cargo ship. The station’s big robotic arm — operated by Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui — grabbed onto the supply craft launched Wednesday by his homeland. Flight controllers helped anchor it down.

The supply ship contains nearly 10,000 pounds of cargo, including the six liquor samples. Suntory Global Innovation Center in Tokyo wants to see if alcoholic beverages mellow the same in space as they do on Earth.

[Also see – うん!Suntory Plans Space-Aged Whiskey]

The samples will be used for experiments and will spend at least a year in orbit before being returned to Earth. An identical set of samples will be stored on the ground in Japan. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Pikachu Invasion!

If there’s one thing we know for certain, it’s that there will always be more awesomely weird and wonderful things to learn about Japan. Today we learned about the annual Pikachu invasion/festival that takes place in Yokohama. For one week in August countless giant Pikachu swarm that Minato Mirai district.

They parade through the streets in perfectly synchronized formation, always smiling and never blinking, a cute yet frightening spectacle as only Japan could create:

If there weren’t so many images of this kawaii spectacle all over the Internets, we’d think we were dreaming. Head over to RocketNews24 for even more photos and videos of packs of people in Pikachu costumes plotting world domination parading and dancing around Yokohama this year and last year.

[via Fashionably GeekGeeks are SexyRocketNews24, and Kotaku]

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踊る?ピカチュウ大行進(みなとみらい, 2015


70 Years After Allied Victory, Couples Gather in Times Square to Re-Enact V-J Day Kiss

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NEW YORK — cassyfiano writes: With a countdown of “five, four, three, two, one, smooch,” couples from across the world puckered up in Times Square on Friday to mark the 70th anniversary of the famous kiss celebrating the end of World War II.

“Ellie and I are deeply honored and privileged to represent the greatest generation here today.”

— Ray Williams, 91, of Blairsville, Georgia

A 25-foot sculpture depicting Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photograph of a sailor kissing a white-uniformed nurse towered over the commemoration of V-J Day, when Japan’s surrender to Allied forces was announced.

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“It’s very beautiful to commemorate such an incredible event. Especially for us. We come from a country which was occupied by the Germans … and we’re still faced with all the horrifying stories of the war.”

— Roel van Dalen, visitors from Amsterdam

Ray and Ellie Williams, Navy veterans who married the day after V-J Day, kicked off the anniversary of the kiss Aug. 14, 1945. Read the rest of this entry »


Five Myths About Emperor Hirohito

On the 70th anniversary of the Japanese surrender in World War II, separating the legend from the history

Myth 1: Emperor Hirohito was a Golden God

After the overthrow of the Japanese Shogunate in 1868, the four southern tribes, the Satsuma, Choshu, Saba and Tosa, sought to embed the legitimacy of their new regime by the re-promotion of an eighth century myth that the Japanese Emperor was a God. The myths were set out in two official chronicles, the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters: AD 712) and the Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan: AD 720).

The powers of the Emperor did not survive as power shifted to the Shogun system and until 1868 the Imperial Japanese family continued to
exist largely in obscurity and often in relative poverty. As often happens with revolutionary regimes, a new national identity was required to justify and embed the country’s new military rulers.francis-pike-japan-book

[Order Francis Pike’s book “Hirohito’s War: The Pacific War, 1941-1945” from Amazon.com]

An infant Emperor Meiji was adopted as the new order’s figurehead and self-justification. Japan’s new regime re-emphasized the role of the Emperor as a living God, making it the heart of an ideological indoctrination taught in the new state school education system. The Japanese Army took this further by the simultaneous incorporation of Bushido (the military scholar code) into its military programs. Thus the overthrow of the Shogun was portrayed less as a revolution and was characterized instead as the Meiji Restoration, a title that gave moral justification to a successful armed insurrection.

Myth 2: Hirohito was simply a constitutional monarch forced into war by his generals

In March 1946, some nine months after the Pacific War had been brought to an end, Emperor Hirohito made a testament about his role in the war. In a bizarre scene, Hirohito had a single bed set up on which he lay in pure white pajamas on the finest soft cotton pillows. In eight hours of statements, the Showa Tenno no Dokuhaku Roku (Emperor’s Soliloquy: his post-war testament) Hirohito absolved himself for all responsibility for the war by claiming that he was a constitutional monarch entirely in the hands of the military: ‘I was a virtual prisoner and was powerless.’

This was a lie. Although by convention Hirohito behaved as a constitutional monarch, the Meiji Constitution granted him absolute power – he was after all enshrined as a God. On three separate occasions during his rule he had demonstrated his absolute powers; in 1929 he forced the resignation of his prime minister; in 1936 he overruled his military advisors to insist on the harshest treatment of the young officers
involved in the coup d’etat known as the 26 February Incident in 1945; and finally in August 1945 he overruled his advisors by insisting on a Japanese surrender.

[Also see – Harry Truman’s Atomic Bomb Decision: After 70 Years its Time to Replace Those Old Myths with Some New Ones]

[More – TABOO Violated: Letter Handed to Emperor Causes Protocol Freak-Out in Japan]

[Audio – Original sound of Japanese Emperor Hirohito’s surrender speech made public]

Hirohito had the power to stop Japan’s military adventurism in the 1930s but chose not to. As his former aide-de-camp Vice-Admiral Noboru Hirata conjectured, “What [his majesty] did at the end of the war, we might have had him do at the start.” Read the rest of this entry »


Key Paragraphs from the #AbeWarStatement

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 via Twitter


Hey Japan, Have You Apologized Enough Yet?

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A scene at a Tokyo courthouse last month showed why Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has had to work all year on a statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. As WSJ’s Henry Hoenig reports:

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Dozens of people stood in the heat, hoping to win a lottery for a seat to hear two of Japan’s most renowned historians debate, as part of a libel suit, whether the term “sex slaves” accurately described the women in Japan’s World War II military brothels.

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On your knees, descendant of Imperialist dogs!

[Read more at Japan Realtime Report]

That the subject still draws a crowd after seven decades shows how divided the country still is—and helps to explain why Japan’s statements about the war have swung back and forth over the years, to the annoyance of its neighbors. Read the rest of this entry »


Watching the Atomic Bomb Blast as a POW Near Nagasaki

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We prisoners know the blasts were necessary to end the war. No Japanese soldier or civilian was preparing to surrender in August 1945.

Lester Tenney writes: What does it mean to fight to the end? In April 1942, it meant fighting until my tank battalion and I were forced to surrender at the Battle of Bataan. For everything else that followed I only fought to survive: the Bataan Death March, brutal transport aboard a “hell ship” to Japan, and slave labor in a Mitsui coal mine.

For my imperial Japanese enemy, in contrast, to fight to the end meant to give his life in a presumably noble and glorious fashion. He would die for the emperor—who ruled by divine right—confident that he would be enshrined with his ancestors for his efforts in defense of a mythic civilization. There could be no surrender and no negotiated peace. Death itself was beautiful, and death alone was honorable.

The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Aug. 6 and 9, 1945, upended this belief. The bombs showed the Japanese the devastating and ultimately inglorious outcome of their fight. The bombs offered no true opportunity for confrontation and no chance of death with honor; they promised only obliteration.

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Like its erstwhile ally Nazi Germany, Japan was fighting an ideological war. A superior race was destined to guide those less graced. Death for the empire earned a blessed afterlife in the emperor-god’s eternal favor. For a loyal subject, surrender was a betrayal of everything that sustained the empire’s system of patriotic values. The only option in the face of certain battlefield defeat was to fight to the death.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

Japan tried to keep fighting long after any chance of victory was gone. On the mainland, women, children and the elderly were armed with sharpened bamboo sticks. Beginning in May 1945, schools for disabled children were ordered to organize military units and women ordered to serve in volunteer combat units. Young men were recruited by the hundreds for kamikaze missions aboard wooden gliders or small boats.

The country’s infamous biological-weapons research program was hard at work concocting flea-borne plague agents to float by submarine and balloon toward populated American shores. By the late spring of 1945, some incendiary explosives called fugo had already landed on the West Coast. Read the rest of this entry »


Japan: Many Infants Use Smartphones, Tablets

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Jun Hongo reports:

…Japan’s internal affairs ministry on Tuesday released the results of its first survey regarding use of information tools by preschoolers, which showed that about one in 10 children had come in contact with devices such as smartphones before celebrating their first birthday.Japan-baby

“The percentage of 1-year-olds who had used an Internet device was 17%, and the number nearly doubled for 2-year-olds, at 31%. “

The study surveyed 1,350 guardians who have preschool children and 400 with children in elementary schools. It asked them whether their child has used communication devices such as smartphones, computers and tablet PCs.

“Of those aged between zero to three using devices, about two-thirds were using a smartphone and more than one-third used a tablet computer.”

The percentage of 1-year-olds who had used an Internet device was 17%, and the number nearly doubled for 2-year-olds, at 31%. The numbers included both cases in which the adult offered the device to the child and when the child chose on its own to use one. Read the rest of this entry »


Bret Stephens: ‘Thank God for the Atom Bomb’

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Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren’t merely horrific, war-ending events. They were lifesaving.

Bret Stephensrenocol_BretStephens writes: The headline of this column is lifted from a 1981 essay by the late Paul Fussell, the cultural critic and war memoirist. In 1945 Fussell was a 21-year-old second lieutenant in the U.S. Army who had fought his way through Europe only to learn that he would soon be shipped to the Pacific to take part in Operation Downfall, the invasion of the Japanese home islands scheduled to begin in November 1945.

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Then the atom bomb intervened. Japan would not surrender after Hiroshima, but it did after Nagasaki.

I brought Fussell’s essay with me on my flight to Hiroshima and was stopped by this: “When we learned to our astonishment that we would not be obliged in a few months to rush up the beaches near Tokyo assault-firing while being machine-gunned, mortared, and shelled, for all the practiced phlegm of our tough facades we broke down and cried with relief and joy. We were going to live.”

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“Would the Japanese have been awed into capitulation by an offshore A-bomb test? Did the Soviet Union’s invasion of Manchuria, starting the day of the Nagasaki bombing, have the more decisive effect in pushing Japan to give up? Would casualties from an invasion really have exceeded the overall toll—by some estimates approaching 250,000—of the two bombs? We’ll never know.”

In all the cant that will pour forth this week to mark the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the bombs—that the U.S. owes the victims of the bombings an apology; that nuclear weapons ought to be abolished; that Hiroshima is a monument to man’s inhumanity to man; that Japan could have been defeated in a slightly nicer way—I doubt much will be made of Fussell’s fundamental point: Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren’t just terrible war-ending events. They were also lifesaving. The bomb turned the empire of the sun into a nation of peace activists.

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“We only know that the U.S. lost 14,000 men merely to take Okinawa in 82 days of fighting. We only know that, because Japan surrendered, the order to execute thousands of POWs in the event of an invasion of the home islands was never implemented. We only know that, in the last weeks of a war Japan had supposedly already lost, the Allies were sustaining casualties at a rate of 7,000 a week.”

I spent the better part of Monday afternoon with one such activist, Keiko Ogura,who runs a group called Hiroshima Interpreters for Peace. Mrs. Ogura had just turned eight when the bomb fell on Hiroshima, the epicenter less than 2 miles from her family home. She remembers wind “like a tornado”; thousands of pieces of shattered glass blasted by wind into the walls and beams of her house, looking oddly “shining and beautiful”; an oily black rain.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

And then came the refugees from the city center, appallingly burned and mutilated, “like a line of ghosts,” begging for water and then dying the moment they drank it. Everyone in Mrs. Ogura’s immediate family survived the bombing, but it would be years before any of them could talk about it. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Onibaba’, Kaneto Shindo, Japan, 1964

Onibaba

Japanese poster for ONIBABA (Kaneto Shindo, Japan, 1964)

Designer: unknown

Poster source: Posteritati


[PHOTO] Meet the Faces of Japan’s First Robot-Staffed Hotel

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Via Mat SmithEndgaget has a gallery of photos

 

 


Japan’s Answer to Non-Surgical Breast Enhancement: Are You Ready for the ‘Air Bra’?

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CosMedic notes that the Lady Air is superior to simple padded bras because the Lady Air is lighter, easier and more comfortable to wear, and, crucially can inflate to larger sizes.

RocketNews24 reports:

…Modern standards of beauty being what they are, it’s common for women to show a little bit of breast cleavage to signal confidence and sexiness (but heaven forbid a man display a little bit of his God-given testicle cleavage, amirite guys?),  but what if you’re one of the many ladies just a little too shy of material to work with? Sure, there’s the cartoon standard of stuffing watermelons into your shirt, but who’s got the time to hunt down two watermelons of the exact same size, anyway?

Luckily for small-chested ladies everywhere, Japanese beauty product manufacturer CosMedic has taken the guesswork and produce out of non-surgical breast augmentation with this deceptively simple air bra!

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…A product like this, of course, wouldn’t be complete without hilarious promotional materials that are an uncomfortable combination of late-night infomercial and late-night Cinemax softcore porn, hence this awkwardly pornographic YouTube commercial:

CosMedic notes that the Lady Air is superior to simple padded bras because the Lady Air is lighter, easier and more comfortable to wear, and, crucially can inflate to larger sizes. We presume there’s still an upper limit to the Lady Air’s inflation capacity, too, however, so don’t expect to be strutting around like you’ve spontaneously sprouted beach balls on your chest….(read more)

RocketNews24

Source: NariNari
Photos: CosMedic


The Top-Secret Flights that Ended the War

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70 years after the atomic bombings, time stands still on the island of Tinian

 writes:Imagine disembarking on the shore of a remote tropical island. Walking cautiously past swaying palm trees into the heavy undergrowth, you soon encounter what appears to be the fossilized bones of an enormous prehistoric creature. The thick parallel lines might have been ribs, and the long straight stretches its spine or appendages. Naturally you’re moved to wonder how it appeared when alive, how it moved about and what it ate.

For dyed-in-the-wool history buffs or those merely looking for an exotic place off the beaten track to relax, Tinian beckons. It’s an easy trip from Japan. If you take a Delta Airlines flight to Saipan during daylight hours, be sure to request a window seat on the right side of the aircraft. On the plane’s approach to neighboring Saipan, you’ll get a fantastic bird’s-eye view of the “ribs” of that prehistoric creature — the four runways of North Field — which in the waning months of World War II was the largest operational U.S. air base in the world.

Home to barely 3,000 people, the 101-sq.-km island of Tinian is one of three inhabited islands of 14 that make up the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas. Over a period of half a century — between 1899 and 1944 — Tinian went from being controlled by Spain to Germany, Japan and finally the U.S., which in July 1944 captured the island in an eight-day campaign that was largely overshadowed by the bigger and bloodier battle on Saipan, located just 9 km to the north.

From the late 1930s, Japan had begun to augment its military presence in the Nampo Shoto (groups of islands south of the main archipelago), sending 1,280 convicts from Yokohama Prison to Tinian to expand Hagoi Field, located at the north end of the island, with a 1,450-meter-long runway.

Once in American hands, teams of U.S. Navy construction battalions (known as “CBs” or “Seabees”) swarmed over the island, eventually moving an estimated 11 million tons of coral to build runways, taxiways, buildings and some 145 km of roads. The former Japanese airstrip was extended for use by the U.S. Air Force’s new long-range B-29 bombers, adding three more 2,440-meter runways.

It was from North Field’s runway, “Able,” that a specially modified B-29 christened Enola Gay, took off in the early hours of Aug. 6, 1945, to drop the first atomic bomb ever used in warfare on the city of Hiroshima.

Retracing history

I’d visited Tinian once before in 2007, but left to my own devices failed to find several of the places I’d wanted to see. This time I had much better luck, thanks to an introduction to the island’s resident historian, Don Farrell.

Farrell, who’s married to a native of Tinian, has taken up the story of his new home with gusto. In addition to publishing an illustrated guidebook for visitors in 2012 titled “Tinian: A Brief History,” he’s currently nearing completion of his magnum opus, a detailed history of the atomic bomb project that promises to shed new light on Tinian’s role in the war.

Arriving at the lobby of the Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino clad in sandals, Bermuda shorts, aloha shirt and a baseball cap, Farrell appears like a modern-day Robinson Crusoe — if Crusoe had driven a Mazda pickup truck.

“What would you like to see?” he asks me while delivering a firm handshake.

“What do you say we retrace the actual route the bomb parts took from their arrival on the island?” I suggest.

After stopping for bottled water and gasoline, we head north. Our first destination is Tinian’s small port, where the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis, on a top-secret mission, delivered the housing and key components of the uranium bomb on July 26, 1945. (Four days later a Japanese submarine would sink the ship east of the Philippines, with great loss of life.)

No ships, or people, are in port and there’s little left to see. We turn around and head northward on a bumpy, but still negotiable, road marked “8th Avenue.” (The roads in Tinian, named after streets in Manhattan, also include Broadway, Columbus Avenue and Riverside Drive.)

On our way north, we deviate up an overgrown hillside leading to the ruins of the Rasso Jinja, a Shinto shrine at the top of Mount Lasso, which at 171 meters marks the highest point on Tinian. Little remains of the shrine or the B-29 homing tower that stood close by. What can be seen is the concrete foundation of the old U.S. Army hospital. Read the rest of this entry »


Japanese journalist pulls a ‘Weiner’ in Thailand

Japanese media said the bureau chief, who is in his forties, had meant to send the picture to a female friend, but instead uploaded it through popular messaging app Line

Japanese broadcaster TV Asahi apologised Saturday after its Bangkok bureau chief posted an image of his genitals on a mobile forum set up by Thailand’s foreign ministry, which warned of “consequences”.

A spokesman for the channel said the unnamed employee had been removed from the job due to his “extremely inappropriate” behaviour.

“We deeply apologise to the Thai foreign ministry and other people concerned.”

— Spokesman for the channel

The ministry demanded an explanation for the graphic picture that appeared late Monday in the forum, which was set up for foreign journalists working in Thailand.

“We deeply apologise to the Thai foreign ministry and other people concerned,” the spokesman said, adding the journalist had been urged to “seriously reflect” on the incident.

Japanese media said the bureau chief, who is in his forties, had meant to send the picture to a female friend, but instead uploaded it through popular messaging app Line to about 150 journalists who belong to the forum.

He left the forum immediately after the incident, prompting a warning that “actions will be taken” from a ministry official and a vomiting emoji from one group member as a few others in the forum questioned what had just happened.

“May we remind you that this (forum) is for official purposes. Actions will be taken,” the ministry official said.

“Just leaving the room does not mean this action won’t have consequences.”

Cases of so-called “sexting,” or sending sexually explicit images by phone, have exploded with the prevalence of smartphones and other mobile devices. Read the rest of this entry »


うん!Suntory Plans Space-Aged Whisky

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The bad news: There are no plans to make the space-aged whisky available for purchase. The samples will be studied in labs once they return to Earth and whisky blenders will taste them to compare them with those aged on the ground.

Jun Hongo reports: Not content with having the best whisky in the world, Suntory Holdings Ltd. plans to take its whisky out of this world and into space.

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The Japanese brewing and distilling company said this week it would send a total of six samples of its whiskies and other alcoholic beverages to the International Space Station, where they will be kept for at least a year to study the effect zero gravity has on aging.

space-whiskey

“The samples will be carried to the space station on Aug. 16 on Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s transfer vehicle Kounotori.”

According to a spokesman at the company, the samples, which will be carried in glass flasks, will include both a 21-year-old single malt and a beverage that has just been distilled. Research has shown that whisky aged in an environment with little temperature change, convection of fluids and shaking tends to be become “mellower,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] 猫おはぎ包囲網 – Ohagi vs Ninjas

 


[VIDEO] Japan’s Comedy Central: Shōten 笑点

Don’t you love the theme music?

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出演:三遊亭小遊三、三遊亭好楽、林家木久扇、三遊亭円楽、春風亭昇太、林家たい平、­山田隆夫

Shōten 笑点 #2409


Japan: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Mocked on Internet Over ‘Raw Meat’ Fire Model

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Read more…

Japan Times


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