'No point in living': Diary reveals Japanese emperor's anguish after World War II

Posted by On 8:09 PM

'No point in living': Diary reveals Japanese emperor's anguish after World War II

Japan’s wartime leader Emperor Hirohito said there was “no point in living” if it meant he would continue to be blamed for the country’s resounding defeat in World War II, according to newly released excerpts from an aide’s diary.

Hirohito was wracked with guilt in the final years of his life â€" emotions that were laid out in the journal of his chamberlain, Shinobu Kobayashi, Kyodo News reported.

“There is no point in living a longer life by reducing my workload. It would only increase my chances of seeing or hearing things that are agonizing,” Kobayashi wrote in an entry dated April 7, 1987.

Hirohito died two years later at age 85.

The Imperial Household Agency had been working on lightening Hirohito’s load following the death of his brother, Prince Takamatsu, in February 1987.

“I have experienced the deaths of my brothe r and relatives and have been told about my war responsibility,” Hirohito told Kobayashi.

He tried to assuage the aging emperor, writing that he told him, “Given how the country has developed today from postwar rebuilding, it is only a page in history. You do not have to worry.”

In another diary that has already been made public, Hirohito told another senior chamberlain, Ryogo Urabe, that “there is nothing good in living long” on that same day in April.

Hirohito spent 62 years on the Chrysanthemum Throne. His son and heir, Emperor Akihito, is preparing to abdicate next year â€" the first Japanese monarch to do so in 200 years. It will bring an end to the long-running Heisei era.

Determining Hirohito’s role in the war has been a polarizing topic in Japan. Some believe he should be held responsible while others say he had no involvement. The emperor was protected from prosecution as a war criminal in the Tokyo war crimes trials during the US occ upation.

A memo that was released last month gives credence to the viewpoint that Hirohito should bear at least some responsibility for starting the war.

Just hours before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he met with Prime Minister Hideki Tojo and two top aides.

“The emperor seemed at ease and unshakable once he had made a decision,” one of the aides, Vice Interior Minister Michio Yuzawa, wrote three hours after the meeting.

The Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor left nearly 2,400 US servicemen dead â€" driving the US to enter World War II.

Japan surrendered unconditionally, ending the war, on Aug. 14, 1945.

With Post wires

Source: Google News Japan | Netizen 24 Japan

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