20th Century Japan
Japan After World War II
In the face of total defeat, there was an almost complete breakdown in Japan’s morale.
Even before the A-bombs fell and the emperor finally came out of his gilt palace to make his memorable to his people to "bear the unbearable" – shinobigataki wo shinobi – in accepting the enemy’s final victory, Army and Navy remnants on Okinawa began to surrender by platoons and companies. Long before this time many Japanese had become bitterly disillusioned by Japan’s wartime adventure.
By the end of the war, Japan’s major cities lay in almost total devastation. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were still contaminated by nuclear fallout; Tokyo had been firebombed out of recognition and Nagoya was 90 percent gutted.
Everywhere there was misery. Thousands packed the floors of railway stations – men wearing shreds of wartime uniforms, women cloaked in the shapeless mompei trousers of wartime austerity, children sick and snivelling. There were dire shortages of basic necessities: food, medicine, water and shelter.