Japan to make WWII surrender message recording public

Tokyo : The original recording of Japan’s message of surrender in World War II, read out by Emperor Hirohito and broadcast in the country, will soon be made public, the Japanese Imperial Household Agency has announced.

The agency decided to publish the audio archives this year to mark 70 years of the end of World War II, Efe news agency reported.

The message that put an end to the conflict — known in Japan as ‘Gyokuon hoso’ (Jewel Voice Broadcast or The Broadcast of His Majesty’s voice) — which state broadcaster NHK issued at noon on August 15, 1945, was a copy of the original file recorded the previous day.

Currently, visitors can hear copies of the message in museums, including the one dedicated to World War II and the NHK Museum of Broadcasting, both in Tokyo, but the original, comprising six vinyl records, remains with the Imperial Household Agency.

The agency says it has successfully restored the speech in which Hirohiro urges the Japanese to endure the “unendurable” and suffer the “unsufferable” in order “to pave the way for a grand peace for all generations to come”.

This was the first time the Japanese emperor’s voice was recorded and broadcast on radio, allowing a vast majority of Japanese citizens to hear the voice of the “son of heaven”.

The agency also published for the first time images of the bomb shelter at the residence of Hirohito, where the “Imperial Conference” was held to decide the surrender of Japan.