Radio Broadcasted Imperial Message, August 15, 1945
To our good and loyal subjects: After pondering deeply the general trends
of the world and the actual conditions obtaining in our empire today, we have
decided to effect a settlement of the present situation by resorting to an extraordinary
measure. We have ordered our Government to communicate to the Governments of
the United States, Great Britain, China and the Soviet Union that our empire
accepts the provisions of their joint declaration.
To strive for the common prosperity and happiness of all nations as well as
the security and well-being of our subjects is the solemn obligation which has
been handed down by our imperial ancestors and which we lay close to the heart.
Indeed, we declared war on America and Britain out of our sincere desire to
insure Japan's self-preservation and the stabilization of East Asia, it being
far from our thought either to infringe upon the sovereignty of other nations
or to embark upon territorial aggrandizement.
But now the war has lasted for nearly four years. Despite the best that has
been done by everyone--the gallant fighting of our military and naval forces,
the diligence and assiduity of out servants of the State and the devoted service
of our 100,000,000 people--the war situation has developed not necessarily to
Japan's advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against
her interest. Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb,
the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of
many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in
an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would
lead to the total extinction of human civilization.
Such being the case, how are we to save the millions of our subjects, nor to
atone ourselves before the hallowed spirits of our imperial ancestors? This
is the reason why we have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the joint
declaration of the powers. We cannot but express the deepest sense of regret
to our allied nations of East Asia, who have consistently cooperated with the
Empire toward the emancipation of East Asia.
The thought of those officers and men as well as others who have fallen in the
fields of battle, those who died at their posts of duty, or those who met death
[otherwise] and all their bereaved families, pains our heart night and day [i.e., my vital organs are torn asunder].
The welfare of the wounded and the war sufferers and of those who lost their
homes and livelihood is the object of our profound solicitude.
The hardships and sufferings to which our nation is to be subjected hereafter
will be certainly great. We are keenly aware of the inmost feelings of all of you, our subjects. However,
it is according to the dictates of time and fate that we have resolved to pave
the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the [unavoidable]
and suffering what is unsufferable.
Having been able to save and maintain the structure of the Imperial State, we
are always with you, our good and loyal subjects, relying upon your sincerity
and integrity. Beware most strictly of any outbursts of emotion that may engender
needless complications, of any fraternal contention and strife that may create
confusion, lead you astray and cause you to lose the confidence of the world.
Let the entire nation continue as one family from generation to generation,
ever firm in its faith of the imperishableness of its divine land, and mindful
of its heavy burden of responsibilities, and the long road before it. Unite
your total strength to be devoted to the construction for the future. Cultivate
the ways of rectitude, nobility of spirit, and work with resolution so that
you may enhance the innate glory of the Imperial State and keep pace with the
progress of the world.
See another online version of the surrender speech, and another, here.
See also Herbert Bix's intepretation of Hirohito's role in concluding the war.
British report of surrender:
World peace at last: Japan surrenders
Emperor to give orders to his army | "Stop all fighting"
Japan has surrendered, unconditionally. This was announced in London, Washington,
Moscow, and Chungking at midnight last night. Broadcasting the news at that
hour Mr. Attlee said:
Japan has to-day surrendered. The last of our enemies is laid low. Here is
the text of the Japanese reply to the Allied demands:-
With reference to the announcement of August 10 regarding
the acceptance of the provisions of the Potsdam Declaration
and the reply of the Governments of the United States, Great
Britain, the Soviet Union, and China, sent by Secretary of
State Byrnes on the date of August 11, the Japanese
Government has the honour to communicate to the
Governments of the four Powers as follows:-
1. His Majesty the Emperor has issued an Imperial rescript
regarding Japan's acceptance of the provisions of the
2. His Majesty the Emperor is prepared to authorise and
ensure the signature by his government and the Imperial
General Headquarters of the necessary terms for carrying
out the provisions of the Potsdam Declaration.
3. His Majesty is also prepared to issue his command to all
military, naval, and air authorities of Japan and all the
forces under their control, wherever located, to cease
active operations, to surrender arms, and to issue such
other orders as may be required by the Supreme
Commander of the Allied forces for the execution of the
Let us recall that on December 7, 1941, Japan, whose onslaught China had
resisted for over four years, fell upon the U.S.A., who were then not at war,
and upon ourselves, who were sore pressed in our death struggle with
Germany and Italy. Taking full advantage of surprise and treachery, the
Japanese forces quickly overran the territories of ourselves and our Allies
in the Far East, and at one time it appeared as though they might reach the
mainland of Australia and advance far into India. But the tide turned.
First slowly and then with an ever-increasing speed and violence as the
mighty forces of the United States and the British Commonwealth and Empire
our Allies, and finally Russia, were brought to bear. Their resistance has
now everywhere been broken. At this time we should pay tribute to the men
from this country, from the Dominions, from India and the colonies, to our
fleets, armies, and air forces that have fought so well in the arduous
campaign against Japan.
Our gratitude goes out to all our splendid allies above all to the United
States, without whose prodigious efforts this war in the East would still
have many years to run. We also think especially at this time of the
prisoners in Japanese hands, of our friends in the Dominions, Australia and
New Zealand, in India and Burma, and in those colonial territories upon
whom the brunt of the Japanese attack fell. We rejoice that their sufferings
will soon be at an end and that these territories will soon be purged of the
Here at home you have a short, earned rest from the unceasing exertions you
have all borne without flinching or complaint through so many dark years. I
have no doubt that throughout industry generally the Government lead in the
matter of victory holidays will be followed, and that to-morrow
(Wednesday) and Thursday will everywhere be treated as days of holidays.
There are some who must necessarily remain at work on these days to
maintain essential services, and I am sure they can be relied upon to carry
When we return to work on Friday morning we must turn again with energy
to the great tasks which challenge us. But for the moment let all who can
relax and enjoy themselves in the knowledge of work well done.
Peace has once again come to the world. Let us thank God for this great
deliverance and his mercies. Long live the King!