A Royal Dilemma

SUKREE SUKPLANG / Reuters

For King and country Rallying for the government

The fluting, mannered voice broadcast over the radio on Aug. 15, 1945, was one my Japanese grandmother never dreamed she would hear. The widow of a soldier who undertook a death mission for his country, she was told her husband had sacrificed himself for a divine cause. Now the Emperor of Japan, the living god who sat on the Chrysanthemum Throne, was deigning to address his subjects for the first time in history to announce the end of the Pacific war. It gave my grandmother the shock of her life.

I thought...

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