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.
A breezy account of American occupied Tokyo as reported by a literary magazine:
"Regardless of the festivities, the War Crimes Trials proceed as usual and the accused sit with earphones listening intently as the defense presents the China Phase."
"Japan seems to be striving toward Democracy, their interest in government affairs has broadened, and the voting in the national elections showed their arousal."
Should you like to read how the city of Kyoto fared during the Second World War, click 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."
Although this article is illustrated with imagery depicting American men and Japanese women appearing to genuinely be enjoying one another's company, the accompanying text says something quite different. The article centers on the observations of the woman who heads the YWCA in Japan who insists that the vulgar Americans stationed in that country are coercing Japanese women to become prostitutes. The journalist then goes into some detail as to what a big business prostitution in Japan has become and how many illegitimate births have resulted.
Reporter Robert Shaplen (1917 - 1988) filed this account of how the GIs have reacted to the strangest country they have ever encountered:
"Looking at the Japanese, the average GI wonders how they ever managed to prosecute a war in the first place. Everything in Japan, even broken and blasted cities and factories, has a miniature toy-like appearance. Automobiles, the ones that are left, don't work; trains bear little resemblance to the Twentieth Century Limited or a fast freight back home. The short, slight people are dressed poorly and drably."