chapter  45
Japanese Broadcasting in the Pacific War
Pages 8

FOR MILLIONS of Japanese, the first and final acts of the Pacific War were conveyed by simple radio receivers. On Monday, 8 December 1941 at 7 a.m., a special bulletin announced. ‘Before dawn Imperial Army and Naval forces began hostilities with American and British forces in the Western Pacific’.1 Forty-four months later, at noon on 15 August 1945, the Emperor in his first-ever broadcast announced the acceptance of the Potsdam Proclamation, the first step in the process of armistice and surrender.2 But were these merely isolated occasions when radio assumed an importance which it lacked throughout the Pacific War? Certainly the work of Japanese historians conveys this impression. Hayashi Shigeru’s standard work Taiheiy sens devotes only three pages to the story of wartime radio broadcasting, while the Rekishigaku Kenky -kafs six-volume study of the Pacific War contains no significant treatment of broadcasting history.3 But such neglect is scarcely justified. Japanese broadcasting began as early as March 1925 and from the outset its significance was clearly understood. The first head of the Tokyo broadcasting station, Got Shimpei, believed that radio could diminish inequality, improve family life, promote culture and aid the economy.4 Others, such as Communications Minister, Adachi Kenz , recognised radio’s political and adminstrative importance, and in 1926 the government created the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (Nippon H s Ky kai) as a ‘privately owned government sponsored monopoly’.5