August 15, 1945 was a beautiful sunny day in Japan as its government announced the surrender to Allied forces and brought to a close World War II. At noon that day, a recording of Emperor Hirohito was aired that told the Japanese people the war was over. Many were shocked and cried as the Emperor whom they regarded as virtually a living god uttered the fateful words of surrender. For some who still harbored crazy notions their nation could some how win, the words were devastating revelation of reality it took time to grasp, to others, the nightmare was over. Cartoonist Osamu Tezuka said he cried out: “The war has ended, ended, and I have survived!”
Actually, the Japanese government had informed Allied forces of its intention to surrender on August 14. Japanese leaders were apparently confused since they never informed the Soviet Union whose forces were attacking in Manchuria that the war was over. Fighting continued in that area for days. Most Western people still do not understand that even as the Emperor was informing the nation of the surrender, a group of hot headed young Japanese officers attempted to get the surrender recording and destroy it. They actually reached the recording studio but as they broke in the Emperor’s words were being broadcast. Several killed themselves.
After the defeat, Japan became a modern democracy and its younger generation undoubtedly does not look backward to what was since it only focuses on what is and what will become.