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

 

【21】 The Imperial tour throughout the country made the Showa Emperor a leader of the renewal of Japan.

 

On the evening of January 1, the day of the Declaration of Humanity, the Imperial Court received information (through a “backdoor”) that Kermit R. Dyke, the first chief of CIE, had an intention to “keep the Emperor system” “independently from the government” (Sokkin Nisshi by Michio Kinoshita published by Bungeishunju).

And on the 13th, Dyke’s intention that “the Emperor should make a progress throughout the country and hear the voice of the citizens” was conveyed too. This became the Imperial tour that started around one month later, on February 19.

Take a look at the photo as follows. The occasion is the Showa Emperor’s tour through Hiroshima in 1947. He holds his hat in his right hand, and you can see the Hiroshima Peace Memorial at the left. With the Declaration of Humanity and the Imperial progress throughout the country, the Showa Emperor–who had been a symbol of war till the previous year–became a symbol of peace and democracy. Such tours were also based on the joint plan between Japan and GHQ.

To sum up, post-war Japan was reborn as a new state created by Japan and the U.S., largely by making the Showa Emperor a symbol of peace and democracy. The Japanese people strongly supported the new system. Even a number of Hiroshima residents, who experienced the devastation of the atomic bomb, supported it too.

Anyone interested in experiencing the reality of this event can access the color video of the tour on YouTube. It can be found by googling “昭和天皇 広島 巡幸.” In the photo below, the Showa Emperor raises his hat high, but in the video you will see that he hesitated to do so at the beginning. I think he could hardly fathom whether people in Hiroshima, who suffered from the unprecedented disaster of the bombing, would welcome him.

First he touches his hat’s brim for a bit and makes a gesture of greeting. At that moment, one hundred thousand people in Hiroshima stand up all at once and give him shouts of gladness. Then, they repeatedly give him cheers, so he eventually becomes fearless and, at the end, holds his hat up high–as in this photo.

We can see how significant the Emperor was for the general people in Japan at that time. The exception would be some intellectuals with higher education, such as those who went to universities before the war. Because such a highly admired Emperor led in the creation of the post-war structure with the U.S., it is obvious that changing the basic structure of the Security Treaty village would be very difficult–even if many of its inconsistencies have been exposed after 70 years.