Imperial Rescript Renouncing Divinity
Showa 21, Month 1, Day 1
In greeting the new year we recall to mind that the Emperor Meiji proclaimed as the basis of our national policy the five clauses of the charter at the beginning of the Meiji era. The charter oath signified:
1. Deliberative assemblies shall be established and all measures of government decided in accordance with public opinion.
2. All classes high and low shall unite in vigorously carrying on the affair of the State.
3. All common people, no less than the civil and military officials, shall be allowed to fulfill their just desires so that there may not be any discontent among them.
4. All the absurd usages of old shall be broken through and equity and justice to be found in the workings of nature shall serve as the basis of action.
5. Wisdom and knowledge shall be south throughout the world for the purpose of promoting the welfare of the Empire.
The proclamation is evident in its significance and high in its ideals. We wish to make this oath anew and restore the country to stand on its own feet again. We have to reaffirm the principles embodied in the charter and proceed unflinchingly toward elimination of misguided practices of the past. And, keeping in close touch with the desires of the people, we will construct a new Japan through pacifism, officials and people together developing rich culture and advancing the standards of living.
The devastation of war inflicted on our cities, the miseries of the destitute, the stagnation of trade, the shortage of food, and the increasing unemployment are indeed sources of heartache, but if the nation is firmly united in its resolve to face the present ordeal and to see civilization consistently in peace, a bright future will undoubtedly be ours, not only for our country but for all mankind. Love of family and love of country are especially strong in this country. With more of such devotion we will contribute to all mankind.
We feel deeply concerned about the restlessness and despondence upon the defeat of the protracted war. Radical tendencies in excess are gradually spreading and the sense of morality tends to lose its hold on the people with the result that there are signs of confusion of thoughts.
We stand by the people and we wish always to share with them in their moment of joy and sorrow. The ties between us and our people have always stood upon mutual trust and affection. They do not depend upon mere legends and myths. They are not predicated on the false conception that the Emperor is divine and that the Japanese people are superior to other races and fated to rule the world.
The Imperial government should make every effort to alleviate the trials and tribulations. At the same time, we trust that the people will rise to the occasion and will strive courageously for the solution of their outstanding difficulties and for the development of industry and culture. Acting upon a consciousness of solidarity and of mutual aid and broad tolerance in their civic life, they will prove themselves worthy of their greatest tradition. By their supreme endeavors in that direction they will be able to render their substantial contribution to the welfare and advancement of mankind.
The resolution for the year should be made at the beginning of the year. We expect our Imperial citizens to join us in all exertion looking to accomplishment of this great undertaking with an indomitable spirit.
In the Emperor's Name,
Prime Minister Baron Kijuro Shidehara
Justice Minister Chuzo Iwata
Agriculture and Forestry Minister Kenzo Matsumura
Education Minister Tamon Maeda
Foreign Minister Shigeru Yoshida
Interior Minister Zenjiro Horikiri
Minister Joji Matsumoto
Welfare Minister Hitoshi Ashida
Minister Daizaburo Tsugita
Finance Minister Viscount Keizo Shibusawa
Transportion Minister Takeo Tanaka
Commerce and Industry Minister Sankuro Ogasawara
Minister Ichizo Kobayashi
UNITED STATES ARMY FORCES, PACIFIC
Public Relations Office
1 January, 1946
Gen. Douglas MacArthur today issued the following statement concerning the Emperor's New Year's Rescript:
"The Emperor's New Year's statement pleases me very much. By it he undertakes a leading part in the democratization of his people. He squarely takes his stand for the future along liberal lines. His action reflects the irresistible influence of a sound idea. A sound idea cannot be stopped." ww2dbase
Source: National Diet Library of Japan
Added By: C. Peter Chen
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945