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Saturday, Aug. 16, 2003
Surrender address goes digital
Emperor Showa's radio broadcast on Aug. 15, 1945, sealed the realization of the nation's defeat, but few were able to capture all of his words and fully comprehend what he said.
The broadcast 58 years ago contained a lot of static and difficult vocabulary. But the entire nation knew what it meant: World War II was over and Japan was defeated.
With the help of digital remastering technology this summer, the voice of Emperor Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa, who announced Japan's unconditional surrender, has been vividly revived.
Tokyo-based publisher Gogatsu Shobo Co. has released the history book "The Emperor's Imperial Voice Broadcast," which comes with a CD recording of his radio announcement to accept the Potsdam Declaration. The sound track runs for 4 minutes and 42 seconds.
The book with the CD has proved so popular that the company has already run out of stock, said Minoru Tsuruta, president of Gogatsu Shobo.
The broadcast was originally recorded on analog disks and was marketed 32 years ago, but this is the first time for the recording to enter the realm of digital media, Tsuruta said.
He said many people know only one famous passage from the message, in which the Emperor resolved to "endure the unendurable and suffer what is insufferable." This has effectively prevented people from assessing the entire message and the Emperor's role in the war, he said.
University of Tokyo professor Yoichi Komori, author of the book, sharply criticized Emperor Showa and held him responsible for the war.
In the book, Komori claims the first priority of the Emperor and his aides was to protect the Imperial system, not the lives of the people.