【PART 3】 The Mystery of the Security Treaty Village (1): The Showa Emperor and the Constitution of Japan


【19】 The Declaration of Humanity was written first in English


Having said that there was cooperation, everything does not always go on track. How did two actors from different cultures, GHQ and the Imperial House of Japan, come into conflict and then cooperate with each other to realize the U.S. occupation policy (which equated to Japan’s national renewal plan)?

To understand it better, the best illustration is the Declaration of Humanity I mentioned earlier. The Showa Emperor issued the well-known Declaration on January 1st of 1946, the New Year’s Day of the year following Japan’s defeat. It is said that it was also written first in English.

Let me explain the context. The objective of the U.S. occupation of Japan was basically to reform Japan to benefit the U.S. in two ways, as in the Potsdam Declaration. The one was “to reform Japan into a nation with no possibility of rising against the U.S.,” and the other was to make it into a “democratic nation.”

The main actor in the occupation was Government Section (GS) of GHQ, which wrote a draft of the Constitution. It committed to reforming the government and the whole governing system. There was another important government section that worked on a reform of thought, or brainwashing in negative terms, at a national level. That was Civil Information and Educational Section (CIE).

CIE issued the “Shinto Directive” on December 15, 1945, the year of defeat.

CIE thought of Japan as a fanatic military state with the mixture of Emperor worship and militarism. They assumed Japanese made aggressive war, including the fanatic kamikaze suicide attacks, based on the conviction that “the Emperor is a god,” that “Japanese are superior to other people,” and that “you should be glad to be dead in the name of the Emperor.” This was much in line with Nazi Germany’s belief that “Aryans have a right to rule the world, because they are smarter than other ethnicities.” Like other Americans, CIE was absolutely terrified of such things, so the state issued an order forbidding everything having to do with Shinto (the indigenous religion, thought to be the source of Japanese nationalism).