New Hirohito documents show emperor’s thoughts on the war

by Carol Gluck – September 13, 2019

Nikkei Asian Review

Desire to express remorse adds to, but does not change, historical portrait.

Hirohito is back in the headlines. Notes by former palace official Michiji Tajima, recently disclosed by public broadcaster NHK, reveal the emperor’s personal reflections on the war, abdication, rearmament and his own role in events.

In themselves, these additional pieces of the past contain little that is new or startling. But when they are fitted into the frame of other materials that have appeared since his death in 1989, the emperor becomes a fuller historical figure: the portrait of an individual rather than an institution.

Originally published on Nikkei Asian Review. Read full article here (subscription may be required).