JAPAN: Spots on the Symbol

Rumors that Emperor Hirohito would soon step down from the throne were freely aired last week in the Japanese press. Said an Imperial Household spokesman: the stories were nonsense.

They were not nonsense: there was evident logic behind them. Even in his prewar and wartime effulgence, Hirohito was not worshiped as a personal god but as a symbol of the nation. Any other man (with a claim to descent from the sun goddess) would have served the purpose as well. But now, Hirohito is tarnished by his association with the malefactors who made the war and lost it. Hirohito's involvement...

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