How does a man raised to be a military autocrat become a democratic emperor in just a few short years? Or is that even possible?

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Bix, Herbert. Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan.

Wetzler, Peter. Hirohito and War: Imperial Tradition and Military Decision Making in World War II Japan.

Large, Stephen. Emperor Hirohito and Showa Japan: A Political Biography.

Miller, Ian Jared. The Nature of the Beasts: Empire and Exhibition at the Tokyo Imperial Zoo. 

The Shirayuki War Bond advertisement, from Time in June, 1945.

Images and Video

All media on the US Occupation must by law have this picture of Hirohito and MacArthur from late 1945, in which the emperor is literally and figuratively overshadowed by the bombastic American.

Hirohito atop Shirayuki. Preventing William Halsey from riding his horse was Hirohito’s one solid win during the Occupation.

Hirohito did not support the new constitution stripping so much of his power, but felt that he had little choice but to publicly endorse it — as he is doing here in 1947 before the Imperial Diet.

Hirohito on tour (location unknown), 1946.

Hirohito tours Yokohama, 1946.