Today is a special day, every American reference calls it Victory in Japan Day, a pretty one-sided focus… so why is it a holiday in Japan? Here it is considered, not as the day Japan was defeated, nor the day Japan surrendered, but rather, the day when a horrible war was ended and peace had a chance to begin. Hopeful, healing motivations come from this choice to focus on the positive nature of the choice to stop fighting.
Hirohito’s three most powerful ministers all desired to continue the war. They speculated (and correctly so) that America could not have produced more than two atomic bombs, and stood by the demand that Japanese soil be defended from occupation at all costs. The Emperor made a bold stand in the name of his people and resolved to accept the terms of surrender. In memos, he explained that his people had suffered too much and he recognized that choosing to stop fighting was the only path to keep the country safe.
Sometimes there is a fight that seems, from some angles, worthy of being fought; and yet, it is still better to choose to stop fighting. If we look hard for these cases, maybe we can bring more stability to the Earth.
Every year the All Japan Association of Photographic Societies (AJAPS・全日本写真連盟) has a photo shoot on this day. This year is special because the war ended in year 20 of the Showa Emperor (昭和20年) and it is now year 20 of the Heisei Emperor (平成20年). I’m not sure exactly what will go down, but I’ll tell you more after it is over. I expect that I will be the only foreigner present, since I am the only foreign member in our prefecture, so there is potential for a lot of uncomfortable discussions. Fortunately, everyone knows me, and I will very politically recall the spirit of the holiday (終戦記念日).