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

 

【22】 Declaration of Humanity in English and in Japanese

 

Let’s compare the original English version of the Declaration of Humanity with the version translated into Japanese to look into how the Declaration of Humanity was made.

The “denial of the divinity of the Emperor” part in English was:

“The ties between us and the nation have been very close. They do not depend only upon myths and legend; they do not depend at all upon the mistaken idea that the Japanese are of divine descent, superior to other peoples, and destined to rule them. They are the bonds of trust, of affection, forged by centuries of devotion and love.” (Mr. Nagamitsu Asano stored documents / Mainichi Shimbun on January 1st, 2006)

●The “denial of the divinity of the Emperor” part in Japanese was:

“The ties between us and the nation have been very close. They do not depend only upon myths and legend; they do not depend at all upon the imaginary idea that the Emperor is a living god, superior to other peoples, and destined to rule them. They are the bonds of trust, of affection, forged by centuries of devotion and love.”

You can see that the most important part of the Declaration of Humanity was faithfully translated. However, one part, “the mistaken idea that the Japanese are of divine descent,” was translated as “the imaginary idea that the Emperor is a living god.” The reason was that MacArthur at first asked the Japanese to change the one part, “the mistaken idea that the Japanese are of divine descent,” to “the mistaken idea that the Emperor is of divine descent” after the English draft had been composed.

However, Japan could not admit that the Imperial family was not of divine descent, but could admit that the living Showa Emperor was not a god. That’s why the Japanese version was made in that way. If the descent of the Imperial family from a god or from Amaterasu Omikami (the Goddess of the sun) were denied, it would be impossible for the Imperial court to perform the ceremonies that are the identity of the Imperial family. Multitudes of various court ceremonies are centered on the daily life of the Imperial family, and apparently these ceremonies have more meanings than we imagine.

Therefore, they changed “the mistaken idea that the Emperor is of divine descent” to “the imaginary idea that the Emperor is a living god.” At first it seems to strengthen the denial of divinity, but it actually protected the identity of the Imperial family, confirmed that “Amaterasu Omikami is its ancestor,” and made it possible to perform the ceremonies.