Japan Center for Asian Historical Records (JACAR)

A wide range of official documents concerning details of the Pacific War have been included in public releases by Japan Center for Asian Historical Records (JACAR). Commemorating the August 15th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War, this special feature introduces a number of documents and items thematically dealing with the cessation of the Pacific War. This feature includes official documents published over the past year, notably the former Japanese militaryfs gAction Report; War Dairy,h which was preserved in the Ministry of Defense National Institute for Defense Studies.


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On December 8, 1941 (Japanese Standard Time), Japanese troops landed in the Malaysian Peninsula, pressed onward, and launched an attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the same day, the Imperial Edict announced Japan's declaration of war with the United States of America and Britain, initiating the Pacific War (the Greater East Asian War).


For additional details on the outbreak of the war between Japan and the United States, please do browse our on-site exhibition "U.S.-Japan War Talks as Seen in Official Documents."

"Hull Note" (Official name: Outline of Proposed Basis for Agreement Between The United States and Japan)

Reference Code: B02030723400

2. From November 27, 1941 to November 28, 1941 (Images 1 through 3)

"Hull Note"iheld by Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japanj

From the on-site exhibition "The U.S.-Japan War Talks as Seen in Official Documents."

On November 26, 1941 (U.S. Eastern Standard Time) this document was delivered personally by Secretary of State Hull to Ambassador to America Kichisaburo Nomura and Extraordinary Ambassador Saburo Kurusu. The document contained a demand for Japanese forces to withdraw all troops "from China and from Indochina." This demand was perceived as a de facto ultimatum, thus bringing Japan a step closer to deciding upon war with the United States of America.

"Memorandum to United States"

Reference Code: B02030748300

Progress of Japan-U.S. Negotiations: Vol. 2 of 2 (part 2) 3 (Images 33 - 49)

Progress of Japan-U.S Negotiations: Vol. 2 of 2 (part 2) 3 iheld by Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japanj

From the on-site exhibition "The U.S.-Japan War Talks as Seen in Official Documents."

On December 7, 1941 at 2:20 PM (U.S. Eastern Standard Time), Ambassador to America Kichisaburo Nomura and Extraordinary Ambassador Saburo Kurusu personally delivered a document entitled "Memorandum to the United States" to Secretary of State Hull. This document, pertaining to Japan's de facto ultimatum, indicated that war was inevitable between the two countries.

"Imperial Edict on the Declaration of War"

Reference Code: A03022539800

Original Script Signed by the Emperor, Imperial Edict of December 8 (1941), Declaration of War Against U.S.A. and Britain

"The Draft Imperial Rescript on Declaration of the Greater East Asia War" (held by the Ministry of Defense National Institute for Defense Studies)

From online exhibition "U.S.-Japan War Talks as Seen in Official Documents"

This Imperial edict of December 8, 1941 declared war against the United States and United Kingdom.


Bound edict drafts found in the lower of the two images above include the second draft proposal through the sixth draft proposal.

Shashin Shuho, translated in the JACAR database as Weekly Photographical Journal, was a weekly pictorial magazine of the Cabinet Intelligence Department (later, the Cabinet Intelligence Bureau) published from February 1938 until July 1945. The magazine's photo-journalism offers a window into the zeitgeist of its time. Articles concerning everyday life of people during the Pacific War will be introduced below.


As for the social situation of the time of Shashin Shuho, please browse JACAR's online exhibition "A Window into the Early Showa Period -Shashin Shuho : Weekly Photographical Journal, 1938-1945"

Shashin Shuho's Photo Article on Clothing

Reference Code: A06031087400

Shashin Shuho (Weekly Photographical Journal) number 279

Shashin Shuho issue number 279 of July 7, 1943. Examples of wartime garment simplification are introduced in images 9 through 10 of the article "This is Decisive Battle Clothing."

Shashin Shuho's Photo Article on Diet

Reference Code: A06031087200

Shashin Shuho (Weekly Photographical Journal) number 277

Shashin Shuho issue number 277 of June 23, 1943. Seeing the 6th image of the article "Cultivate Railroad Tracks into Farmlands," one can grasp the wartime state of affairs in Tokyo, such as efforts to convert roads into farmland to counter wartime supply shortages with an urgent need to increase food provisions.

Tone of Shashin Shuho Covers Change with War Developments

Reference Code: A06031079400

Shashin Shuho (Weekly Photographical Journal) number 199

Reference Code: A06031088900

Shashin Shuho (Weekly Photographical Journal) number 294

Reference Code: A06031092300

Shashin Shuho (Weekly Photographical Journal) number 328

The first of the three Shashin Shuho issue covers above was the earliest Shashin Shuho dated December 17, 1941, to convey the news of the outbreak of the Pacific War. This cover's headline reads: "Now, a Hundred-Million Must Know, the Enemies are America and Britain!"


The second cover above is Shashin Shuho issue number 294 of October 20, 1943. In this cover, pictures were used of students participating in military training. This depiction reflects 1943's deterioration of wartime conditions, which resulted in an official announcement on the 1st of October titled "Temporary Recruitment Postponement Exception for Enrolled Students." This announcement virtually repealed student conscription deferment measures.


The third of the covers above is from Shashin Shuho issue number 328 of July 5, 1944. This magazine strongly advocated the need to prepare for air-raids following a U.S. Boeing B-29 Superfortress military air-raid on Kitakyushu-City on June 15, 1944. The cover of the magazine conveys the pressing mood of this time.

Due to defeat at the Battle of the Philippine Sea on June 19, 1944, Japan lost a part of its "absolute national defense sphere" \a region considered absolutely necessary to secure Japanfs war victory\and was, thereafter, outnumbered in Pacific Ocean campaigns. In the link below, documents concerning the circumstances of the Pacific War's final battles are introduced.


For additional information on the Battle of Okinawa, please also browse the website, "Battle of Okinawa Document Reading Room" of the Cabinet Office Okinawa Development and Promotion Bureau.

First Kamikaze Special Attack Unit Organized in Battle of Leyte Gulf

Reference Code: C08030037600

Detailed Engagement Report on Sho-go Military Operation (Decisive engagement in Philippine Area) from October 17 to 31, 1944 (3)

This report is a Detailed Engagement Report on the activities of the "Kamikaze Unit" in the Battle of Leyte Gulf of October 24, 1944. The Japanese navy formed Kamikaze special attack units for the first time in this October incursion.

Shashin Shuho Cover and Article Concerning Lieutenant Yukio Seki

Reference Code: A06031094100

Shashin Shuho (Weekly Photographical Journal) number 347

This is the issue of Shashin Shuho of November 15, 1944. The cover shows a portrait of Lieutenant Yukio Seki, who, as commanding officer of the Kamikaze special attack unit Shikishima, banzai-attacked a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier in the October Battle of Leyte Gulf. The 2nd and 3rd images report "military gains" of Shikishima and other Kamikaze special attack units.

Blueprints of Battle Yamato

Reference Code: C08030564900

Detailed Engagement (Battle) Report number 3 from October 17 to 28, 1944, Warship Yamato (5) (images 42 - 52)

Detailed Engagement Report showing the damaged condition of Battleship Yamato, which participated in the October 1944 Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Battleship Yamato's Battle of Okinawa

Reference Code: C08030103200

February 1, 1945 - April 10, 1945 2nd Torpedo Squadron Detailed Battle Report and Wartime Log (2)

This document is a report of the Second Torpedo Squadron, which formed the Second Fleet with the Battleship Yamato and other vessels in April 1945. The Second Fleet then sortied towards Okinawa. The document chronicles the damaged condition of the armada's warships, includes image 26 which explains where torpedo attacks impacted Yamato.

On July 26, 1945, the United States, Britain, and China published a proclamation calling for Japan to surrender. Earlier that month, on July 11, the Potsdam Declaration was made at a conference on post-World War Two policy held in Potsdam, a suburb of Berlin. Japan decided to accept the Potsdam Declaration on August 14, 1945\a date which now marks the end of the Pacific War. The documents here record the milieu surrounding Japan's approbation of the Potsdam Declaration.

Potsdam Declaration

Reference Code: B02033037100

1. Compilation of treaties / 2. Potsdam Declaration (Declaration of United States, Britain and China)

This is the full text of the Potsdam Declaration in Japanese, issued on July 26, 1945 by the United States, Britain, and China. Afterwards, on August 8 of the same year, the Soviet Union declared war against Japan, joining in on the Potsdam Declaration.

Varied Responses to the Potsdam Declaration

Reference Code: A06030095800

Shiso Junpo (Journal of Anti-Gouvernmental Trend)(Extra Issue)

This is a document compiled on July 29, 1945 by the Ministry of Home Affairs Police Bureau Security Division on varied Japanese responses to the Potsdam Declaration. Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki, on July 28, expressed to the press corps his intention to "ignore" [mokusatsu] the Potsdam Declaration. Domestic responses to the governmentfs intention to gignoreh the Potsdam Declaration are introduced in images 7 and 8.

Japanese efforts for Mediation with the USSR to End the War

Reference Code: B02032978600

2. Documents Relating to Request to Soviet Union for Mediation Concerning Termination of Pacific War (Including Adjustment of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and Soviet Union) / 8. From July 30, 1945 to August 7, 1945

This official document concerns Japan's attempt to mediate conflict with Allied Powers with the Soviet Union from July 30th\four days after the issuance of the Potsdam Declaration\to August 7th, two days before the Soviet Union declared war on Japan. In the first three of the images, Ambassador to the Soviet Union Naotake Sato's negative opinion is stated concerning war mediation efforts by a special envoy dispatched to the USSR. However, images 10 and 11 show Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo's optimistic view, anticipating the dispatch of a special envoy be made regardless of Sato's opinion.

Imperial General Headquarters Army Department's recognition of the Potsdam Declaration and Soviet Developments

Reference CodeFA03032243200

Observation Report Concerning Situation of Trilateral Top Level Talks between U.S., Britain and Soviet Union; a National Election in Britain; and Soviet Operational Readiness to Launch a Military Campaign Against Japan: Observation for the Joint Declaration by U.S., British and the "Chongqing Nationalist Government"

"Observation Report Concerning Situation of Trilateral Top Level Talks between U.S., Britain and Soviet Union" / "Observations Concerning U.S.-UK Chongqing Joint Declaration to Japan" (held by the National Archives of Japan)

¦ This is a color photograph taken of the official document.

Compiled by the Imperial General Headquarters Army Department, this situational analysis report looked over matters concerning the Potsdam Declaration as well as developments in the Soviet Union. A draft report titled "Observations on American's War Leadership Following Russia's Participation in War Against Japan" appears in image 25 and those after it. This report dated August 10, 1945 had its origins in the Soviet Union's proclamation of war against Japan on August 9 of the same year. This paper predicted where in East Asia the United States of America would seek to have absolute hegemony, what locations the U.S. would try to maintain initiative over, where the U.S. would recognize Soviet preferential rights maintaining its right to a voice, and where the U.S. would recognize Soviet absolute authority. In addition, a perspective was expressed about the Japanese mainland (Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu) being first placed under joint Allied control "continually ensuring an autonomous status of the U.S.," after which Japan would be allowed to regain its sovereignty under severe conditions.


This document, moreover, pointed out the "atomic-bomb attack effect" as a key factor to determining the date and scale of U.S. invasions on the Japanese homeland.

"Imperial Edict of the War Termination"

Reference CodeFA04017702300

Original with Imperial signature and seal, 1945, Imperial Edict, August 14/ Imperial edict terminating Greater East Asia War

This "Imperial Edict Terminating the Greater East Asia War," was issued based upon a decision made at an Imperial Conference to accept the Potsdam Declaration on August 14, 1945.