New Japanese Constitution

  Based on American models, the Supreme Allied Commander General Douglas MacArthur directed an effective restoration of the industry and society of occupied Japan. The majority of the Japanese people apparently welcomed his progressive reforms. Most important, after...

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Enemy in the Mirror

  Excerpts from the book: Once the shoji screen was closed, Kiyoshi said in a low voice, “It’s about the piece I submitted to the Chūō Kōron.” Fumiko took a deep breath. The Chūō Kōron was one of the few literary magazines that still dared to publish articles hinting...

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Tsunami Japan

      On December 21, 1946 an 8.1-.4 magnitude undersea earthquake initiated a powerful tsunami in the Nankai Trough off Japan's largest island Honshū. When 20-foot waves hit shore, buildings were obliterated and ~2,000 ships were capsized. 60,000 square miles were...

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Postwar Hiroshima & Nagasaki

This home movie really took me there.   Although grainy, watch this short film clip of 8mm home movies taken by U.S. Army Major Morris Hall during a 3-month tour of Japan less than a year after surrender. Filming with an 8mm home movie camera, Major Hall documented...

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An Artist of the Floating World

An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro presents the viewpoint of an elderly artist Masuji Ono in postwar Japan. His wife and son have been killed in the war, and many young people blame their elders for leading the country into disaster. As Ono recalls his...

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Japanese Women Vote

In the April 1946 Japanese elections, women had the right to vote for the first time. 39 women were elected to office. After WWII, the Imperial Rule Assistance Association caucus broke up and three major political parties emerged: Liberal Party - right-wing, founded...

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Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor

  Press this link for more photos published by Alex Q. Arbuckle that are rare and interesting from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor December 7....

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Hirohito’s Not the Sun God Anymore

As the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in Japan, General Douglas MacArthur ordered the Shinto religion disestablished and its concept that the Emperor Hirohito was descended from Japan's sun goddess to be disavowed. The Humanity Declaration was an imperial...

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Understanding Korea

Ancient Korea Gojoseon, Korea's legendary first kingdom, was founded in 2333 B.C.E. After its collapse, several small kingdoms coalesced into the Three Kingdoms Period (Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla) around the year zero C.E. Gradually assuming power, Silla consolidated...

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Tokyo Trials

The International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) conducted the Tokyo War Crimes Trials from May 1946 to November 1948. 28 Imperial Japanese military and government leaders were charged with Class A war crimes  - participating in a joint conspiracy to start...

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Our Job in Japan

Our Job in Japan, a training film for American soldiers assigned to occupation forces in Japan, begins with a description of the Japanese brain that has been duped by military leaders. The film details Japanese barbarity during the war and advises taking no chances...

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After the War

September 1945 - the war is over! ...You'll never know how many dreams I've dreamed about you Or how empty they all seem without you So kiss me once...and kiss me twice And kiss me once again It's been a long...long time It's been a mighty, mighty long time   WWII...

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Burmese Harp / Grave of the Fireflies

Adapted from the novel by Michio Takeyama, this 1956 film directed by Ichikawa Kon, involves a company of Japanese Imperial Army troops who finally surrender in the last desperate stages of the Burma campaign. When their company commander begins to lead them in songs...

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A-Bomb Morality

Albert Einstein and Leó Szilárd The concept of a nuclear chain reaction reportedly came to the physicist Leó Szilárd as an epiphany while waiting to cross a London street in 1933. “...It suddenly occurred to me that if we could find an element which is split by...

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Japan Surrenders

After the bombing of Hiroshima, some members of Japan’s supreme war council favored acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration, but the majority resisted unconditional surrender. Things grew worse when the USSR declared war against Japan. Then, a second atomic bomb was...

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Nagasaki

President Harry Truman approved but did not specify the dates for use of atomic bombs.The Target Committee identified the targets and determined the best opportunities for attack based on logistics and weather. After the bombing of Hiroshima produced no Japanese...

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Operation August Storm 1945

On August 8, 1945, after refusing to mediate a Japanese surrender with the United States and its allies, the USSR declared war on Japan. On August 9, 1945, Russian troops invaded the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo in Operation August Storm. On August 14, 1945 a...

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Hiroshima

In April-July 1945 Japanese forces inflicted Allied casualties totaling nearly half those suffered in three full years of war in the Pacific.  In late July, Japan’s militarist government rejected the Potsdam Declaration demanding unconditional surrender or total...

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USS Indianapolis

Unfortunately, this clunky film doesn't do justice to the fate of the USS Indianapolis crewmen and or its scapegoated captain. On July 30, 1945 the USS Indianapolis, after delivering A-Bomb components to Tinian Island for the atomic bomb used against Hiroshima, was...

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Final Strikes on Japan

Instead of battleships, fleet carriers became the primary striking force of the U.S. Navy in late 1944. The Fast Carrier Task Force operated in Pacific waters from January 1944 until the end of WWII in August 1945. After the conquest of Okinawa, the next invasion was...

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Potsdam Conference

In July 1945, USSR Premier Joseph Stalin, the new American president Harry S. Truman, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain met in Potsdam Germany in the last Big Three meeting of WWII .   At Potsdam, the Big Three leaders demanded unconditional...

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Operation Downfall Japan

  Operation Downfall, the proposed Allied plan for the invasion of Japan, would have been the largest amphibious operation in history. It was planned in two phases on the few beaches that were adequate for a massive landing force: Operation Olympic, to be launched...

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Okinawa Falls

For the Japanese, Okinawa was the last stepping stone before the invasion of the main islands of the Empire of Japan. The ferocious Battle of Okinawa  lasted 82 days. Many analysts believe that Japanese military leaders, realizing the war was lost, hoped to inflict...

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Japanese Hospital Ship Sunk

    In April 1945, the Awa Maru was a Japanese ocean liner requisitioned by the Imperial Japanese navy, sailing under the protection of the Red Cross with 2004 passengers and crew. After delivering Red Cross supplies to Singapore, the Awa Maru took on stranded...

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Bomb Kills Oregon Picnickers

Radiolab  just broadcast an excellent, detailed account of the Japanese balloon bomb incident at Bly, Oregon LISTEN: http://www.radiolab.org/story/war-our-shore/     My history-inspired novel Enemy in the Mirror: Love and Fury in the Pacific War includes a...

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