GYOKUON-HOSO

The “Jewel Voice Broadcast”, which took place on August 15th 1945 and announced the surrender, was the first time the Japanese could hear the voice of their emperor on the radio. Unfortunately, Hirohito used highly formal court language and practically no one understood him. So maybe the participants of the attempted military coup d’etat of 14/15 August needn’t have bothered to try to intercept the recording after all. It was successfully smuggled out of the palace hidden in laundry and the rebels comitted harakiri within palace grounds forty minutes before the announcement was aired.

The recording was soon translated into English by Tadaichi Hirakawa, later known as “Joe” T. Hirakawa or “Uncle Come Come” (1902-1993). He studied drama at the University of Washington and became cult figure after the war as the author of daily radio English conversation classes, “Kamu Kamu Eigo”, broadcast for ten years on NHK.

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