After atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Summer 1945, 70 years ago, Emperor Hirohito recorded the speech announcing Japan's World War II surrender. These facts happened in a bunker dug located in the thick Fukiage forest inside the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Pictures and video recently-taken by agency staffers showed decayed wooden walls and rusted steel doors of the shelter -- hardly recognisable as former key facilities for Hirohito, who was worshipped as a "living god" before the war.

On August 14, 1945, secretly, Emperor Hirohito recorded his speech, helped by Technicians from the county's only public broadcaster NHK. He dressed his formal military uniform. A handful of young army officers broke into the palace in a failed attempt to steal the records and block the surrender speech, to avoid being delivered to NHK for radio transmission the next day. Some of Japan's Army officials were refusing to end the war and propose to fight on, even to the death of every Japanese citizen.

The conference room inside a bunker at the palace compound in Tokyo [Via Imperial Household Agency/AFP]

The surrender speech by the emperor, known as the "jewel voice broadcast", muffled and nearly inaudible due to poor sound quality - was broadcast on Aug. 15, 1945, announcing Japan's surrender. the text Hirohito read was deliberately written in arcane language making him sound authoritative and convincing as he sought people's understanding about Japan's surrender. Until now it had been available only as a low quality copy made by the US occupying forces in 1946. Five vinyl master records had been kept as part of the imperial family's collection.

This photo shows a container that stored the original recording of late Emperor Hirohito's World War II-ending speech and another after-war address [Via Imperial Household Agency/AFP]

“The language was extremely difficult,” said Tomie Kondo, 92, who listened to the 1945 broadcast in a monitoring room at public broadcaster NHK, where she worked as a newscaster. “It’s well written if you read it, but I’m afraid not many people understood what he said.” 

“Poor reception and sound quality of the radio made it even worse,” she said. “I heard some people even thought they were supposed to fight even more. I think the speech would be incomprehensible to young people today.”

Now the original sound, from the vinyl master records, has been released by the Imperial Household Agency in digital format, ahead of the 70th anniversary of the speech and the war's end. Other historical documents and material of the imperial family's collection have been made available to the public this year to mark the war-end anniversary. Only four-and-a-half minute speech have been digitally remastered by the agency. 

This photo shows a container that stored the original recording of late Emperor Hirohito's World War II-ending speech and another after-war address [Via Imperial Household Agency/AFP]

The drama of the last two days of the war leading to Hirohito's radio address was made into a film, "Japan's Longest Day," in 1967.

Source: 

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