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Regarding the issue of preserving the kokutai (national polity): this was the one thing everyone in the political and military leadership in Japan could agree on; the rub came in determining how to best accomplish this feat, i.e., by surrendering on the condition (or, as it turned out, the hope) that the Allies would not attempt to abolish the imperial institution or by holding out for a better settlement. A clearly stated Allied policy of abolishing the imperial institution would have foreclosed the former possibility and thus made it virtually impossible for the "end-the-war" faction to implement a surrender. In fact, even Hirohito said, in his postwar monologue, that he would have continued the war if he felt that surrendering would have precluded preservation of the kokutai. As it was, those who viewed the Byrnes reply as providing insufficient guarantee on this front included not just the Army Minister and service chiefs of staff, but president of the Privy Council Hiranuma Kiichiro (who suggested the clause about the emperor's prerogatives), Home Minster Abe Genki, and Justice Minister Matsuzaka Hiromasa. So this is a matter that transcends any military-civilian divide. Regarding deities: In the earlier note I wrote of the emperor as a "manifest deity" (akitsumi-kami, arahito-gami), but I don't want to suggest that everyone in Japan, much less in ruling circles, actually believed he was a god. My take on this, at least at my current state of understanding, is that those in the leadership class tended to view Hirohito as a living representation of something, i.e., the emperor-centered kokutai, that was extraordinarily special and even sacred, the quintessence of Japan, if you will. Consequently, the idea of a Japan without the imperial institution was horrific and the duty to preserve and perpetuate it a given. Regarding the coup attempt: The primary objective was to steal the recording of the rescript announcing the decision to accept the Potsdam Declaration, rather than to replace Hirohito (although such a thing was not entirely unthinkable). Sequestering him and forming a new government would have been sufficient. The psychology of those fanatical officers who engaged in such acts was usually that the emperor was getting bad advice and thus his "true will" was being obstructed. Consequently, it became their "duty" to take direct action and set things right. It was here where Army Minister Anami broke with the conspirators, stating that the duty of the emperor's soldiers lay in following the emperor's orders, even one as distasteful as surrender. Cheers, Roger Brown, Ph.D. Professor of History (Modern Japan & US-Japan Relations) Saitama University email: firstname.lastname@example.org "rhbrown" <email@example.com> ----- For subscription help, go to: http://www.h-net.org/lists/help/ To change your subscription settings, go to http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=h-war -----