- 29 Oct 2002
- Reaction score
TOKYO--Emperor Hirohito considered making an astonishing personal apology for the Second World War in which he was to express "deep shame at my immorality," according to a newly discovered document.
The speech, which was never delivered, was written by Michiji Tajima, who was from 1948 to 1953 the head of the Imperial Household Agency from 1948 to 1953. Though the document is in Tajima's handwriting, there is little doubt it was written on Hirohito's orders.
The document, apparently drafted in 1948, uses words of apology that are stronger than anything expressed by Hirohito, his successor, the ruling Emperor Akihito, or the Japanese government.
Tajima's biographer, Kyoko Kato, found it among his papers.
The document uses the personal pronoun "chin," which is used only by emperors. Kato argues that Tajima would never have presumed to use the royal pronoun unless the speech was commissioned by the emperor. She suggested that the message was written out of a desire to communicate to a weary nation the emperor's regret over the suffering caused by the war waged in his name.
The apology was clearly addressed to the Japanese people, rather than the victims of Japanese aggression. It expresses sorrow for those who died overseas and those who lost family members and describes the emperor's pain at post-war hardships.
"For more than 20 years since my enthronement, I constantly endeavored to do my duty," it said. "However, I could not change the current of the times, lost good relations with our neighbors and fought with great powers, which ultimately led to miserable defeat in war and brought about the terrible disaster we experience now.
"I am burning with the flame of anguish. I am deeply ashamed of my immorality. I do not have peace of mind. Thinking of the nation, I do not know what to do with the heaviness of the burden I bear." The message was written at a time of crisis for the imperial family. Many Japanese as well as those in the Allied nations believed the emperor bore some responsibility for the war.
The document was made public in Bungei Shunju, a Japanese magazine. Kato said the reasons it was never delivered remain unknown but suggested that a change of government thwarted the imperial apology.
As in http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-japan12.html