Isaac Meyer

Historian, teacher, podcaster

Episode 184 – Lifting the Lost, Part 2

The Occupation begins! This week, we’ll set the stage with a focus on the relationship between Supreme Commander Douglass MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito.

Listen to the episode here.


Dower, John. Embracing Defeat.

Takemae, Eiji. Allied Occupation of Japan.

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan. 



Female munitions workers in a Japanese factory listen to the emperor’s announcement of surrender. The formal, classical Japanese used for imperial pronouncements meant that those without higher education could actually understand very little of the speech, but the meaning was still clear.


Ruth Benedict’s study was, on the one hand, groundbreaking in trying to actively avoid dealing in stereotypes. On the other, there was still plenty of generalization in the mix.


The Daiichi Insurance Building c. 1946. Note the flag on top.


Hirohito and MacArthur took this photo after their meeting. Intended to convey friendly cooperation, the Emperor’s household requested that it be pulled from circulation because of how small and unimpressive the emperor looked next to the confident MacArthur.


The official copy of the Imperial New Years Rescript of 1946, in which the emperor denied his divinity (or not, if you believe John Dower).


Episode 183 – Lifting the Lost, Part 1


Episode 185 – Lifting the Lost, Part 3

1 Comment

  1. Isaac,

    I’m binge listening and may have the wrong episode, but you cite a couple of times that MacArthur lived in a ‘suite in the US Embassy’.

    He did not live in the Embassy, which was simply an office building, but in the adjacent residence of the US Ambassador. It is still there, a magnificent old building, across the street from the Okura Hotel. Here’s a map link:
    The residence is next to the rectangular blue pool – the Embassy is the larger building to the north. If you Google ‘US Embassy Residence’ you can find the actual room where MacArthur received the Emperor. It is still used today for receptions and such.

    The old Embassy Chancellery of the day, which was two small, low buildings, was razed and replaced with the current brown monstrosity, a much taller, single building.

    Great podcast, thank you and congratulations.

    Lance Gatling

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