Some seven months before Japan quit the war, the anointed heads of the Institute of Pacific Relations convened in Hot Springs, Virginia to discuss what the Allied Occupation of Japan would look like.
"The big question for the United States is how long American troops are to occupy Japan. The Potsdam Declaration says that the occupying forces of the Allies shall be withdrawn from Japan as soon as the objectives outlined are accomplished and 'there has been established in accordance with the Japanese people a peacefully inclined and responsible government.'"
"U.S. officials appear to be thinking in terms of an occupation of only 5 or 10 years. Japanese officials, however, in looking ahead to a resurgence of Japanese power, appear to be thinking in terms of 50 to 100 years."
Read about the German POWs who were schooled in virtues of democracy.
•Fascinating Color Footage of Japan During the War Years: 1937 - 1945•
The attached article is about the governance of
General Douglas MacArthur (1880 – 1964) over conquered Japan following the close of World War II and was written half way through the American occupation period by the well-respected American journalist George Creel (1876 - 1953). The article clarifies what regime change meant for post-war Japan and the roll that MacArthur's creed and character played in the process:
"Why democracy? Because MacArthur believes it and Christianity are the world's greatest ideas and ideals...On October 4, 1945 [MacArthur] took the bold step of proclaiming a civil-liberties bill that ended totalitarianism, giving Japan the right of free speech, free press, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly."
Click here to read about the 1918 portrait of General MacArthur painted by Joseph Cummings Chase.
The post-war life of a Tokyo family as experienced by "Mrs. Tanaya": the wife of a carpenter and mother of one son. This is an eleven page magazine article that will allow you to gain some understanding as to how the Tokyo black-market operated and how that city began to rebuild itself after so many years of war. Also of some interest the Tokyo reaction to the American occupying army:
"There is a lot of talk about Americans. To the Japanese women and their husbands, the conquerors are a puzzling combination of good and bad. But they often thank their gods for 'Marshal' MacArthur..."
••Click here to read about post-World War II Kyoto.
Articles about the daily hardships in post-war Germany can be read by clicking here.
The suspicious lads of the U.S. Army's Civil Censorship Detachment, General Headquarters, Japan were given the task of combing-over not simply the articles that were to appear in the Japanese press, but all civilian correspondences that were to be delivered through the mail, as well. Seeing that the Japanese were recovering Fascists, like their former BFFs in far-off Germany, the chatter of unfulfilled totalitarians was a primary concern. They were especially keen on seeing to it that the gruesome photographs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki be as limited in their circulation as possible. But what makes this column most surprising is the fact that the brass hats at GHQ knew full well that the American people hate censorship and would not want it practiced in their name.
Speaking of naive: when I was privileged to visit Japan in 2011 I actually believed that there would be a few native-born women who would recognize that I was an American and step forward to express some measure of gratitude for my country's part in granting Japanese women the right to vote. I'm still waiting - however, it is important for all of us to remember that in the immediate aftermath of the war, our occupying forces introduced American values to the Japanese and they have thrived as a result:
"General MacArthur has ordered the Japanese Government to provide for freedom of speech, of press, of assembly, and of worship. 'Thought control' by the secret police is to be a thing of the past."