The Emperor’s Speech

On August 15, 1945, a speech from Emperor Hirohito announcing the surrender of Japan was broadcasted over the radio. It was the first time the Japanese heard his voice. A remastered recording of his speech was recently released, which you can listen to below:


Excerpt from Warpath Across the Pacific:

Fifth Air Force scheduled few missions for the 15th as a stand-down began to take effect. But the 499th and 500th Squadrons each got six aircraft off by 0530 hours for the daily sweep up Tsu Shima Strait and the Southern Sea of Japan. To the enormous relief of the aircrews, the other two squadrons had their missions cancelled during the pre-flight briefing.

About eight o’clock the dozen planes which were airborne reached their rendezvous point about 400 miles out and formed up to begin the morning’s sweep. 1/Lt. Shuler S. Gamble was one of the six veteran 499th pilots on the mission that day. He had already test fired his guns when his radio operator, T/Sgt. Joseph L. Wyatt, Jr., called him over the intercom with an urgent message from headquarters.

“Read it to me Joe,” Gamble ordered.

“Return to base immediately,” Wyatt read, “hostilities have ceased.”

Wyatt had already confirmed the message and Gamble was about to call the Group Leader when a 500th Squadron pilot announced that his radio operator had received a message that the war had ended…

About fifteen miles from base the six 499th pilots began pulling their planes together into the tightest formation that Gamble had ever seen. By the time they reached the end of the runway, his element was tucked tightly under the lead flight and the planes were flying with their wings overlapped. Still loaded with ammo and bombs, they buzzed Ie Shima in a display no one would ever forget. Gamble saw coral dust swirling up around the cockpit as they roared down the strip only a few feet above the ground. As he glanced up through the panels of the overhead escape hatch, he saw the faces of the control tower personnel leaning on the rail, staring down at them as they rushed by. At the end of the strip, one by one, the planes performed their “usual fighter plane peal off” and circled to land. The war was over.


14 thoughts on “The Emperor’s Speech

  1. My aunt told me she had “heard” the broadcast but that she didn’t completely understand what was being said as the language he used was “very elite”. The government also re-broadcasted it at a later time.


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