Thursday, 15 August 2019

jewel voice broadcast

At noon on this day in 1945 radio stations in Japan played a phonographic recording of the Showa Emperor reading out the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the Greater East Asian War, effectively announcing Japan’s surrender under the terms of the Potsdam Declaration.  Recorded at the royal palace the day before, some members of the military thought Hirohito’s capitulation was dishonourable and one thousand soldiers and officers raided the compound to seize and destroy the record. The recording was hidden and later smuggled out with the laundry and eventually made it to a radio station.  Suboptimal sound quality and the formal, courtly language of the Emperor (hearing one revered as a deity, akitsumikami, for the first time) made the message confusing for the public and was clarified afterwards by a radio announcer.