Chapter 1

The Sino-Japanese War

Japan under three kinds of foreign pressure

A large number of political and military leaders in Japan made weighty and critical decisions with regard to the Manchurian Incident, the Sino-Japanese War of 1937–45, the Pacific War, which ended with Japan’s defeat and marked the end of World War II.

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写真:張作霖が列車ごと爆殺された現場(奉天郊外)

It begins with the Manchurian Incident

 The Imperial Japanese Army initiated the Manchurian Incident. Young elite officers—graduates of the Army General Staff College then serving as staff officers—were the instigators.

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写真:満州事変のきっかけとなった柳条湖事件の現場

Ishihara and Itagaki—principal architects of the bombing of the South Manchurian Railway line and the deployment of Army reinforcements from Korea

 Part of the so-called “Final World War Theory” devised by Kanji Ishihara, a clear-headed and religious man, who adhered to the Nichiren sect of Buddhism and who had studied the life of Napoleon Bonaparte, stated as follows: “The world will be integrated into a single system after all.”

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写真:中国人による鉄道爆破にみせかけて出兵を図る事変の青写真を描いた石原莞爾(左)と板垣征四郎

Hayashi crosses the Korean border at his own discretion

 Ishihara and his group, hoping the incident would spread to other parts of Manchuria, devised a plot to send Japanese troops in Mukden to Jilin in the name of protecting of Japanese residents there, and asking Japanese troops in Korea to dispatch reinforcements to defend Mukden.

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写真:奉天市街で機関銃を構える日本兵と「越境将軍」ともてはやされた林銑十郎

Prime Minister Wakatsuki remains a coward, unable to stop the incident from spreading

How did the government deal with the Manchurian Incident triggered by the Kwantung Army?

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写真:第2次若槻内閣成立を伝える1931年4月15日付の読売新聞

Adherence to Manchuria, secession from the League of Nations

After the Manchurian Incident of September 1931(the sixth year of the Showa Era), Japan seceded from the League of Nations in 1933 and embarked on a path toward international isolation. Following a truce, however, Japan-China relations became calmer for a while.

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写真:写真:国際連盟からの脱退を表明する松岡洋右(中央、1933年2月)

Fallout resulting from Japan’s actions in northern China

 In May 1933, Japan and China signed the Tanggu Truce agreement ending the Manchurian Incident. As a result, Japan secured not only Manchuria but also a vast demilitarized zone south of the Great Wall. The Japanese-Chinese relationship entered a period of relative stability.

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写真:華北分離工作の拠点となった冀東防共自治政府(国立国会図書館ウェブサイトより)

Xian Incident leads to a united anti-Japanese front

 After he signed the Tanggu Truce agreement, Chiang Kai-shek wrote “wo xin chang dan” in Chinese or “gashinshotan” in Japanese (perseverance for the sake of vengeance) in his diary. He was trying to avoid confronting Japan as much as possible and instead concentrated on search-and-destroy operations against the Chinese Communist Party.

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写真:西安事件では、張学良(左)らが中国国民党の蒋介石(右)を一時監禁

Hirota ends pro-Western stance

 Serving as Foreign Minister and Prime Minister for many years, Koki Hirota was the diplomatic navigator during the tempestuous period that led to the Sino-Japanese War. Were there mistakes in Hirota’s diplomacy?

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写真:広田弘毅

Three blunders, including the mandatory appointment of active duty generals as war ministers

 After the February 26 Incident in 1936, genro senior statesman Kinmochi Saionji recommended that Fumimaro Konoe succeed Prime Minister Keisuke Okada, but Konoe declined. The name of Hirota then emerged. Konoe, Saionji’s secretary Kumao Harada and Shigeru Yoshida persuaded Hirota to become Prime Minister.

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写真:ヒトラーの写真を手にする外相の有田八郎

Failing to gauge the real strength of China

 Kwantung Army Staff Officer Kanji Ishihara who masterminded the Manchurian Incident stated: “I doubt the Chinese can create a modern country—I believe the Han race will be happier to wait for its natural development under Japan’s maintenance of peace and order.” He believed the Han people would be happier under Japanese occupation.

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写真:国立国会図書館憲政資料室が所蔵する石原莞爾「満蒙問題私見」の写し

Unable to stand up to the military

The Hirota Cabinet was inaugurated just after the February 26 Incident of 1936, which significantly influenced the course of Japan’s, not to mention Hirota’s, diplomacy.

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写真:2・26事件の反乱軍鎮圧のため、地方から上京してきた部隊

Marco Polo Bridge Incident is exploited by expansionists

The Marco Polo Bridge Incident, which occurred in a suburb of Beijing in 1937, developed into an all-out war between Japan and China.

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写真:南京に攻め込む日本軍

Failure of peace negotiations

 After the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in 1937, Japan, led by the Army General Staff, embarked on peace initiatives to prevent an escalation of the Sino-Japanese War. Such moves came amid growing concerns that preparations for a possible war against the Soviet Union would be neglected during a prolonged conflict in China.

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写真:第1次近衛声明の決定を報じる1938年1月16日付の読売新聞朝刊。「爾後(じご)国民政府を対手(あいて)とせず」。日本は日中戦争を早期に解決する好機を失った

Konoe lacks leadership

 Fumimaro Konoe first took up the premiership with strong popular support on June 4, 1937, a month before the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War. He was only 45 years old and hailed from the leading one of five Sekke families, whose members were eligible for the positions of regent (sessho) and chancellor (kanpaku) to serve the throne, a system dating back to the early part of the Kamakura Era (1192–1333).

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写真:近衛文麿と第1次近衛内閣

Sharp rise in war expenditures; Diet gives tacit approval

 How was the Diet functioning when the Sino-Japanese War was threatening to escalate? To answer this question, it is necessary to explain a setback in the party-based cabinet system.

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写真:現在の国会議事堂は1936年11月に完成した。まもなく議会は政府の方針を追認するだけの機関になっていく

Chapter 2

Road to the Pacific War

Army moves to find a breakthrough in quagmire of Sino-Japanese War

Japan concluded its alliance with Germany and Italy on September 27, 1940 (the 15th year of the Showa Era), about two months after the establishment of the second Konoe Cabinet. To understand how the Tripartite Pact came about, it is important to look at preceding events.

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写真:後に三国同盟に発展する日独伊防共協定の調印式。中央はムソリーニ伊首相、その左がリッベントロップ独全権、右から2人目が堀田正昭全権(ローマで、1937年11月6日)

Taking advantage of Germany’s easy advance

The idea to form the Tripartite Pact, which had been shelved, was revived in 1940, primarily because of Germany’s easy advances in Europe.

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写真:凱旋(がいせん)門を抜けてパリに入城するドイツ軍(AP)

Pro-German officers become mainstream in both Army and Navy

One of the reasons Japan had decided to stake the fate of the country on the Tripartite Pact was the pro-German sentiments of the Army since the Meiji Era (1868–1912).

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写真:明治神宮外苑競技場で開かれたナチス・ドイツの青少年組織「ヒトラー・ユーゲント」の歓迎大会

Matsuoka diplomacy is ultimately nothing but schemes

As it was Yosuke Matsuoka who took the leading role in Japan’s diplomacy in the Tripartite Alliance, it is important to examine his actions carefully.

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写真:日ソ中立条約調印後、スターリン(左)と腕を組む松岡洋右外相

Oshima’s telegrams show blind faith in Germany

Concerning the Tripartite Pact, Konoe wrote some years later that Germany’s decision to go to war against the Soviet Union, thereby disregarding Japan’s advice, constituted Berlin’s second betrayal of Japanese interests, with the conclusion of the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact in 1939 being the first betrayal.

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写真:駐独日本大使館にヒトラー(右から2人目)を招いて開かれた昼食会の様子を伝える1940年11月20日発行の読売ニュース

Imperial Rule Assistance Association models itself on Nazis

The advocates of “reforms” in the nation’s political, economic and social systems and in its diplomatic policy had been smoldering since the early phases of the Showa Era swung fully into action in 1940.

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写真:大政翼賛会の発会式を伝える1940年10月16日発行の読売ニュース

Advancing into French Indochina

Japan advanced to southern French Indochina during July 1941 (the 16th year of the Showa Era). The United States, which was increasingly cautious about Japan’s southward expansion policy, imposed an oil embargo on Japan.

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写真:北部仏印の諒山(ランソン)に進駐する日本軍の戦車隊について報じる1940年10月9日発行の読売ニュース

Missing overall picture

How was the policy to advance to southern French Indochina decided? We will trace the developments on the basis of a series of national policy guidelines adopted at the time.

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写真:独ソ開戦を受けた御前会議の決定を伝える1941年7月3日付の読売新聞夕刊

Peaceful advance?

The advance into southern French Indochina in July 1941 invited the U.S. retaliatory measure of an oil embargo on Japan.

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写真:サイゴンに入る日本軍の銀輪部隊

Southward advance spearheaded by Navy

It was the Imperial Japanese Army that played the leading role in the jingoism displayed from the Manchurian Incident through the Sino-Japanese War to the start of the Japanese-U.S. War.

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写真:呉工廠で建造を急ぐ戦艦「大和」(大和ミュージアム提供)

Numbers game for waging war against U.S.

On December 8, 1941 (December 7 in Washington, D.C., and Hawaii), Japan started the Pacific War.

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写真:第2次世界大戦下、米カリフォルニアのロッキード社工場で大量に生産される爆撃機「ハドソン」(AP)

Japan won’t compromise on withdrawing from China

Private sector level Japan-U.S. negotiations that had begun in late 1940 became government-level negotiations in May 1941, and they continued until the last minute before the war started.

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写真:ハル米国務長官(中央)とホワイトハウスを訪問した野村吉三郎駐米大使(左)と来栖三郎特派大使(AP)

Failure to avoid war with U.S.

While pursuing negotiations with the United States, Japanese political and military leaders were in conflict over national policy decisions.

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写真:東条英機(前列中央)内閣が発足。自ら陸相、内相も兼任

Delayed notification to U.S.

On December 8, 1941, Japan time, the Navy’s task force made a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

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写真:真珠湾攻撃に際し、日米交渉の打ち切りを日本が通告した「対米公文書」の原案

Chapter 3

The Pacific War

Ambiguity in war goals

Japan entered the Pacific War in December 1941 (the 16th year of the Showa Era), plunging into a “sea of battles” for three years and nine months. What on earth was the purpose of this war?

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写真:真珠湾で日本軍の爆撃を受け沈没する米艦アリゾナ(1941年12月7日、AP)

Loss of four aircraft carriers

The Japanese military’s stunning victories at the beginning of the Pacific War fascinated Japanese political and military leaders and won the praise of the Diet, the media and the Japanese public.

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写真:ミッドウェー海戦で日本機動部隊の攻撃を受ける米空母

Fixation on fleet theory

How did Navy leaders predict battles between Japan and the United States would turn out? And, how did they intend to fight the war?

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写真:ミッドウェー海戦で、米軍機の攻撃を回避する空母・赤城

Neglected accountability

Asked in September 1940 by Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe about projections for a Japan-U.S. war, Admiral Yamamoto replied as follows: “If I am ordered to do it with full effort, I am sure I will be able to run wild for the initial six months or one year.

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写真:山本五十六・連合艦隊司令長官

Concealment, no finger-pointing

The Battle of Midway ended with tremendous sacrifices on Japan’s side.

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写真:ミッドウェー海戦での損害を秘匿した大本営海軍部発表を伝える1942年6月11日付の読売新聞朝刊

Starvation and fever in jungle

The United States set its sights on Guadalcanal Island for its first wave of a counteroffensive against Japan after its victory at sea in the Battle of Midway.

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写真:ガダルカナル島の密林を進む日本軍川口支隊の兵士

Honorable death

The expression, “gyokusai,” which literally means “jewel smashing” but came to mean “dying an honorable death,” was used for the first time in the case of Japanese troops on the island of Attu at the western tip of the Aleutian Islands in the U.S. territory.

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写真:アッツ島に上陸した日本軍

Uninformed Tojo takes action

The war command of the Tojo Cabinet was greatly shaken after defeats in the battles of Midway and Guadalcanal Island.

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写真:東南アジア歴訪を終えて帰国した東条英機首相兼陸相(左)

Japan far from establishing Co-prosperity Sphere

The United States gradually started to assume control in the war with Japan.

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写真:大東亜会議に出席した各国首脳(1943年11月)

The Imphal Operation

When they met in Tokyo during the Greater East Asia Conference, Subhash Chandra Bose appealed directly to Prime Minister Tojo and Foreign Minister Shigemitsu for an invasion of his own country which was under British control.

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写真:インパール作戦で、アラカン山系の密林を進む日本軍

Desperation leading to battle

With the fall of Saipan in July 1944 (the 19th year of the Showa Era) came the fall of the “Absolute National Defense Zone”—the selected areas and locations which Japan had deemed necessary for defending the Empire.

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写真:皇居での最高戦争指導会議

Retreat from Shuri

The U.S. troops landed on Iwo Jima, one of the Ogasawara Islands, on February 19, 1945.

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写真:沖縄県読谷村の海岸に上陸する米兵(沖縄県平和祈念資料館提供)

Okinawa Governor abandons his duties

What did the central and prefectural governments and the Army do when it became increasingly likely that Okinawa Island would be a battleground in the Pacific War?

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写真:学童疎開船となった「対馬丸」(日本郵船歴史博物館提供)

‘Recognition goes to Okinawans’;

Chief of Staff of the Thirty-second Army Isamu Cho beseeched the Okinawan populace in the January 27 issue of the local newspaper Okinawa Shimpo, saying: “All prefectural residents must be militia, obeying the Army’s instruction without quibbling.

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写真:白旗を掲げて米軍に投降する少女(沖縄県公文書館提供)

Pioneers of ‘100 million special attacks’

Fierce battles developed both on land and in the air during the Battle of Okinawa.

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写真:火を噴きながら米艦に突っ込む特別攻撃隊機

Chapter 4

Moves to end the war

Military Police obstruct peace moves

The Pacific War raged for three years and eight months from the attack on Pearl Harbor until Japan’s surrender.

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写真:国民総決起運動中央総会に出席した東条首相

Coalition unites against Tojo

In September 1943, Italy surrendered to the Allied Powers.

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写真:1942年の衆院選で尾崎行雄が東条英機に出した選挙の不公正さを問う公開質問状の草稿(尾崎行雄記念財団所蔵)

Process of elimination creates Koiso Cabinet

The Tojo Cabinet was succeeded by one led by retired Army General Kuniaki Koiso.

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写真:小磯国昭内閣発足

Kido criticized as ‘Chrysanthemum Curtain’

As 1945 arrived, Konoe and other members of the Imperial Court group finally began to get serious about trying to find a way to end the Pacific War.

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写真:食糧難から国会議事堂の前庭は畑となり、芋や野菜が作られた(1945年2月)

Negotiations with China and Soviet Union derailed

The Koiso Cabinet had an eye on bringing the Pacific War to an end.

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写真:中国の戦線で、タバコを分け合う日本軍と南京政府軍の兵士

Big Three make a secret agreement

On February 4–11, 1945 (the 20th year of the Showa Era), the leaders of the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union met in Yalta on the Crimean Peninsula and secretly decided that the Soviets would join the war against Japan a few months after Germany’s unconditional surrender.

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写真:1945年2月に行われたヤルタ会談。左からチャーチル英首相、ルーズベルト米大統領、スターリン・ソ連首相(AP)

U.S. drops bomb despite objections

At 5:30 a.m. on July 16, 1945, the United States successfully detonated a new type of bomb with unprecedented destructive capability in the desert near Alamogordo, New Mexico.

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写真:米アラモゴードで行われた初の原爆実験の作業の様子(1945年7月、AP)

Japan late in atomic bomb development

Japan also had been secretly conducting research on the feasibility of atomic bombs through two channels.

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写真:理研の大サイクロトロンと日本の原爆研究を担った仁科芳雄博士(仁科記念財団提供)

Japan sticks to its mainland battle plan

Navy Admiral Kantaro Suzuki, President of the Privy Council, was appointed to succeed Prime Minister Kuniaki Koiso.

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写真:鈴木貫太郎内閣発足

Japan is naive to expect Soviet mediation

On April 5, 1945, Ambassador to the Soviet Union Naotake Sato brought a disturbing message conveying the Kremlin’s decision not to extend the 1941 Japanese-Soviet Neutrality Pact from Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov.

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写真:モロトフ・ソ連外相と、東郷茂徳外相

Firebombing devastates Tokyo

While Japanese cities were being reduced to ashes by U.S. air raids including the Great Tokyo Air Raid of March 10, 1945 (the 20th year of the Showa Era), the government finally began moving to seek an end to the war.

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写真:ドイツ・ポツダムで会談に臨み、握手する(左から)チャーチル英首相、トルーマン米大統領、スターリン・ソ連共産党書記長(1945年7月23日、AP)

U.S. keeps Soviet Union out after successful atomic bomb test

While Japan became increasingly resigned to repeated U.S. bombardments on the mainland, the Allied Powers were drawing up demands.

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写真:ポツダム宣言を受けて行われた鈴木貫太郎首相の会見を報じる1945年7月30日付の読売新聞

Staunch resistance from Army, Navy

How did the Japanese government interpret the Potsdam Declaration announced in July 1945? How did the government respond?

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写真:横浜沖に停泊した米戦艦「ミズーリ」号上で行われた降伏文書の正式調印式

Seeking an end to the war

What was Emperor Showa’s stance on ending the war? In the early days of the war, Japanese were swept up by reports of victories by the seemingly invincible Japanese forces.

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写真:東京大空襲で被害を受けた現在の江東区亀戸付近の焼け跡(東京大空襲・戦災資料センター提供)

Chapter 5

U.S. takes helm of Tokyo Tribunal; Soviet Union detains 575,000 Japanese

Wars for re-colonization flare up in Southeast Asia

After the end of the Sino-Japanese War and the Pacific War, 28 senior Japanese political and military leaders were forced to stand trial at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, also known as the Tokyo Tribunal.

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写真:自分の肖像画の前で熱弁をふるうインドネシアのスカルノ大統領(1945年頃)

Hard labor in Siberia is Soviet Union’s ‘reprisal’

In the early hours of August 9, 1945, Soviet forces launched nearly simultaneous attacks on Japanese troops from southeastern Mongolia, the Soviet Maritime Provinces and from Northern Sakhalin.

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写真:ソ連軍に鉄道敷設など過酷な強制労働を強いられるシベリア抑留者ら(1954年頃)

Main Army generals slip through tribunal net

On August 30, 1945, U.S. Army General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, landed at the Imperial Navy’s Atsugi airfield in Kanagawa Prefecture.

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写真:東京裁判の判決を報じる1948年11月13日付の読売新聞

Allied Powers employ ex post facto laws to punish war criminals

In June 1945, the United States, Britain, France and the Soviet Union held talks in London to open an international military tribunal to try German officials involved in World War II and the Holocaust in what became the Nuremberg Trial.

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写真:東京裁判の判決日に出廷した被告ら

Chapter 6

Military, government and political leaders who are accountable for crucial moments of history

Who’s responsible for the Showa War

Why did Japan’s military and government leaders trigger the Manchurian Incident and then launch the Sino-Japanese War?

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写真:終戦詔書の一部

Ishihara, Itagaki mastermind Manchurian Incident

Those mainly responsible
Kanji Ishihara, Staff Officer of the Kwantung Army, Lieutenant Colonel
Seishiro Itagaki, Staff Officer of the Kwantung Army, Colonel
Kenji Dohihara, Chief of the Special Service Agency at Mukden, Colonel
Kingoro Hashimoto, Chief of the Russia Group of the Army General Staff’s Second Bureau, Lieutenant Colonel

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写真:満州国皇帝即位の大典で、式場へ向かう溥儀一行

Konoe, Hirota sit on their hands: The Sino-Japanese War

Those mainly responsible
Fumimaro Konoe, Prime Minister
Koki Hirota, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister
Kenji Dohihara, Chief of the Special Service Agency at Mukden, Major General
Hajime Sugiyama, War Minister, General
Akira Muto, Chief of the Operations Section of the Army General Staff, Colonel

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写真:上海市街でバリケードから敵陣を撃つ日本軍

Matsuoka, Oshima fail in diplomacy with the Tripartite Pact

Those mainly responsible
Fumimaro Konoe, Prime Minister
Yosuke Matsuoka, Foreign Minister
Hiroshi Oshima, Ambassador to Germany, Lieutenant General
Toshio Shiratori, Ambassador to Italy
Osami Nagano, Chief of the Naval General Staff, Admiral
Shingo Ishikawa, Chief of the Second Section of the Navy Ministry’s Naval Affairs Bureau, Captain

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写真:ベルリンでの日独伊三国同盟調印式。左から来栖三郎駐独大使、チャーノ伊外相、ヒトラー独総統

Tojo erases ‘seeds for avoiding war’: Japan-U.S. War

Those mainly responsible
Hideki Tojo, Prime Minister and War Minister, General
Hajime Sugiyama, Chief of the Army General Staff, General
Osami Nagano, Chief of the Naval General Staff, Admiral
Shigetaro Shimada, Navy Minister, Admiral
Takazumi Oka, Chief of the Navy Ministry’s Naval Affairs Bureau, Rear Admiral
Shinichi Tanaka, Chief of Operations at the Army General Staff, Major Genera
Teiichi Suzuki, President of the Cabinet Planning Board, Lieutenant General
Koichi Kido, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal

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写真:真珠湾攻撃の詳細を報じる1942年1月1日付の読売新聞

Tojo, Koiso ignore defeats: Continuation of war

Those mainly responsible
Hideki Tojo, Prime Minister and War Minister, General
Kuniaki Koiso, Prime Minister, General
Osami Nagano, Chief of the Naval General Staff, Admiral of Fleet
Hajime Sugiyama, Chief of the Army General Staff, Field Marshal
Shigetaro Shimada, Navy Minister, Admiral
Kenryo Sato, Chief of the War Ministry’s Military Affairs Bureau, Major General
Takazumi Oka, Chief of the Navy Ministry’s Naval Affairs Bureau, Vice Admiral
Shigeru Fukutome, Chief of Operations of the Naval General Staff, Vice Admiral

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写真:出陣学徒7万人が雨中行進した壮行会

Suicide air and sea attacks gradually become ­systemized part of warfare: Kamikaze attacks

Those mainly responsible
Takijiro Onishi, Commander of the First Naval Air Fleet in Manila, Vice Admiral
Tasuku Nakazawa, Chief of Naval Operations at the Naval General Staff, Rear Admiral
Kameto Kuroshima, Chief of the Second Bureau of the Naval General Staff, Captain
Renya Mutaguchi, Commander of the Fifteenth Army, Lieutenant General

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写真:フィリピン沖海戦に出撃する特別攻撃隊と見送る戦友たち

Anami, Umezu press ahead with war: Final battle on the mainland

Those mainly responsible
Kuniaki Koiso, Prime Minister, General
Koshiro Oikawa, Chief of the Naval General Staff, Admiral
Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff, General
Soemu Toyoda, Chief of the Naval General Staff, Admiral
Korechika Anami, War Minister, General

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写真:本土決戦に備え訓練を受ける農家の主婦たち

Togo unwisely seeks Moscow’s help to resolve situation: Atomic bombs, Soviet participation

Those mainly responsible
Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff, General
Soemu Toyoda, Chief of the Naval General Staff, Admiral
Korechika Anami, War Minister, General
Kantaro Suzuki, Prime Minister, Admiral
Shigenori Togo, Foreign Minister

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写真:原爆投下後の広島の焼け跡で犠牲者を担いで運ぶ男性たち(ロイター)

Chapter 7

The persons most responsible for the Showa War

Emperor Showa stays within framework for ­constitutional head of state

Article 3 of the Constitution of the Great Empire of Japan (the Meiji Constitution) stipulates: “The Emperor is sacred and inviolable.

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写真:大本営の御前会議に出席する昭和天皇

The main responsibility lies with Tojo

What positions and roles did Hideki Tojo assume in the Showa War, which included the Manchurian Incident, the Sino-Japanese War and the Japan-U.S. War?

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写真:東京裁判で判決を聞く東条英機・元首相

Konoe allows the military to dominate

The Showa War mainly refers to wars Japan fought against two major powers: China and the United States.

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写真:第1次近衛内閣発足

Sugiyama, Nagano, others make major misjudgments

During the Sino-Japanese War, Koki Hirota supported Fumimaro Konoe as a pacesetter.

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写真:日独防共協定成立を報じる1936年11月25日付の読売新聞号外

Middle-ranked officers also to blame

Top-ranking political and military leaders were not necessarily solely responsible for the Showa War.

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写真:建国から2年後、帝政となった満州国の皇帝に執政溥儀が即位(1934年3月1日)

Some leaders make peace efforts

During the Showa War, some military and political leaders continuously made efforts to end hostilities although they made mistakes, for which they are accountable, in a number of instances.

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写真:本土空襲を受け、横浜・川崎を視察する鈴木首相

Responsibility of U.S. and Soviet Union

War responsibility of the United States and the Soviet Union in the Showa War has barely been discussed.

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写真:長崎に投下された原爆(1945年8月9日)

Keeping some distance from the Tokyo Tribunal

When the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, commonly known as the Tokyo Tribunal, convened after the end of World War II, a total of 28 people including former Prime Minister Hideki Tojo were tried as Class-A war criminals.

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写真:東京裁判で戦犯が収容された巣鴨プリズン

Chapter 8

What we should learn from the Showa War

The international situation: Japan fails to accurately grasp global trends

Many people who experienced the Showa War have died in the 61 years since the curtain came down on the fighting.

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写真:日独伊三国同盟の調印を終えたヒトラー総統に喚起するベルリン市民

Elite officers in politics: Rise of reckless officers and a bureaucratized military

The course followed by Japan during the Showa War was decided mainly by elite officers in the Imperial Japanese Army and the Imperial Japanese Navy.

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写真:東京・霞が関にあった海軍省。2階に海軍における統帥機関である軍令部があった

Imperial Diet: Diet rubber-stamps military operations

During the Showa War period, the Imperial Diet was transformed into an organization that simply gave approval to war.

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写真:翼賛選挙後、事実上の一国一党体制である「翼賛政治会」が発足

The media’s role: Japan’s media help fan support for war

As it was for the Japanese government and military, the Manchurian Incident of September 1931 was also a major turning point for the media.

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写真:大本営海軍報道部の戦果発表

Human rights dismissed: Disregard for life leads to huge damage, tragedy at home, abroad

During the Showa War, individual lives and human rights were given scant regard in Japan, and this was particularly so among military personnel.

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写真:サイパン島での日本軍玉砕後、生き残った婦女子ら