Just finishing up Herbert Bix’s biography of Hirohito. Fantastic book! I highly recommend it.
What strikes me most is the reaction to the dropping of the bomb and the wind-down of the war. Hirohito was angling to keep his job, and that occupied most of the time and energy of him, his aides, and everyone else at the end. To sum it up quickly:
aide: Uh..your majesty..we may need to consider the Allies demand for surrender…
Hirohito: What? We’ve got plenty of time! They’re only on Okinawa..it’ll be ages before they make it here! Right, general?
General: Yeah…something like that…
aide: Uh..your majesty..the Americans just dropped something called an ‘atomic bomb’ and destroyed the city of Hiroshima..
Hirohito: There you go again. Look, if it bothers you that much why don’t you see if the Russians will talk to the Americans for us. We have a neutrality treaty with them. They like us!
aide: Uh..your majesty..the Russians just declared war on us and are pouring over the border into Northern China.
General: Yeah..and by the way, the Americans just dropped another atomic bomb..
Hirohito: ‘Pouring over the border’ you say? Hmm. Didn’t see that coming. Well…ask that MacArthur if he’ll guarantee me the throne. If he says yes, then it’s a go!
There really was no ‘Oh shit!’ moment after the first bomb. They started to be concerned after Okinawa, but they were never in any real rush. They figured the people would hold out long enough for them to get some concessions from the Allies. They then did their best, aided by American GHQ, to shield Hirohito from the War Crimes trials on the belief that removing the emperor would be too much for the people to take. There is no way to tell if that would have been true. There was resentment in some circles, but there may not have been enough.
I recently received in the mail a Chainsaw Kittens (the video is kinda bad, but the song is good) comp. from my friend Kevin. When I worked at the Kingston Borders he would stop by and we would chat about music. That music brings me back to round 2 of college when I was music director at WBIM in Bridgewater! Hopefully I will be able to have a show again this fall, but we’ll see.
As for Borders; I’ve had a lot of people ask me to post something about the company. Honestly, I’m not sure what I can say about them. I think the fact that I linked to Amazon above says it all. If you’re going to buy a book online, you might as well do it from a company that will be open long enough to get it to you. Maybe I will do some kind of retrospective in the future.
On to happier things: I’m learning to cook, and haven’t killed anyone yet! Made honey almond chicken the other night, with mashed potatoes and peas (yes, I know; 2 starches, but whatever). I also made peanut butter pillows that came out great, if not exactly like the picture!