740.00119 Control (Japan)/2–1146

Mr. Max W. Bishop, of the Office of the Political Adviser in Japan, to the Secretary of State

No. 247

Sir: I have the honor to enclose copy of a memorandum on the above subject82 by a member of the staff of this Mission prepared as of possible value to a consideration of the Japanese Government’s Constitution revision proposals expected to be announced the end of this month.

It is brought out in the memorandum that the fundamental attachment of the masses for the Emperor remains as strong today as in the past, if not stronger, but that the synthetic, never fully accepted doctrines of “State Shinto” built up during recent decades have fallen away with unexpected rapidity and with no appearance of any regret. An estimated 90 to 95 percent of the general population support retention of the emperor institution in some form, and all except a very small proportion of the educated and ruling classes are of the same view, some for reasons of purely personal advantage but others from a genuine conviction that democracy will develop on a sounder basis under the institution than without it.

This memorandum does not attempt a political analysis of the complex “Emperor problem”, but is merely an examination of the attitudes of the Japanese toward the Emperor. There has been observed by officers of this Mission an effort on the part of Japanese of diverse backgrounds to present the case for retention of the Emperor, suggesting the possibility of a directed program. While support of the Emperor is almost universal, such support should not be allowed to obscure the fact that the Japanese expect and for the most part will welcome changes in the official status and position of the Emperor.

Respectfully yours,

Max W. Bishop

Foreign Service Officer
  1. “Current Japanese attitudes on the Emperor institution”, not printed.