New Documents Show Japan's Wartime Emperor Showed Remorse Over Nanjing MassacreBreaking News
tags: documents, Japan, archives, Nanjing Massacre, World War 2
The late Emperor Hirohito privately expressed regret about atrocities committed by Japanese troops in the Chinese city of Nanjing in 1937, saying he hadn’t fully known what the army was doing but wished he could have stopped it, according to newly released records.
Notes of Hirohito’s remarks in the early years after World War II show the emperor mostly blamed the war on military officers he believed drove Japan into a conflict it couldn’t win. But the documents also show the emperor felt pained about his own role and tried unsuccessfully to give a public speech in 1952 laying out his remorse. The notes, taken by former Imperial Household Agency chief Michiji Tajima, were released Monday by public broadcaster NHK, which aired a documentary on the subject Saturday.
Historians still debate the war responsibility of Hirohito, who reigned from 1926 until his death in 1989. Until Japan’s defeat in World War II, he was treated as a deity and was the formal head of Japan’s armed forces.
Some historians view him as essentially a figurehead who could do little to stop military officers bent on building a Japanese empire in East Asia. Others highlight Hirohito’s hands-on role in military planning, including his personal authorization of the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. In his 2001 biography of Hirohito, historian Herbert Bix wrote that while the Nanjing massacre was unplanned, Hirohito knew of and approved annihilation campaigns in China that included burning villages thought to harbor guerrillas.
comments powered by Disqus
- The Debt Ceiling Law is now a Tool of Partisan Political Power; Abolish It
- Amitai Etzioni, Theorist of Communitarianism, Dies at 94
- Kagan, Sotomayor Join SCOTUS Cons in Sticking it to Unions
- New Evidence: Rehnquist Pretty Much OK with Plessy v. Ferguson
- Ohio Unions Link Academic Freedom and the Freedom to Strike
- First Round of Obama Administration Oral Histories Focus on Political Fault Lines and Policy Tradeoffs
- The Tulsa Race Massacre was an Attack on Black People; Rebuilding Policies were an Attack on Black Wealth
- British Universities are Researching Ties to Slavery. Conservative Alumni Say "Enough"
- Martha Hodes Reconstructs Her Memory of a 1970 Hijacking
- Jeremi Suri: Texas Higher Ed Conflict "Doesn't Have to Be This Way"
- New transcript of Ayn Rand at West Point in 1974 shows she claimed “savage" Indians had no right to live here just because they were born here
- The Mexican War Suggests Ukraine May End Up Conceding Crimea. World War I Suggests the Price May Be Tragic if it Doesn't
- The Vietnam War Crimes You Never Heard Of