The spirit of Samurai – Haruki Yoshida

From the most senior Japanese officer to the junior non-commissioned officers, his sword was a symbol of both authority and status. A number of the higher-ranking Japanese officers carried ancient swords that had been in their families, sometimes for centuries. Non-commissioned officers carried government-made swords which, while mass produced, were still effective weapons.

Man lays sword in front of another man

Major General Uno lays his sword at the feet of Lieutenant Colonel Ewan Murray Robson Commanding Officer, 2/31 Infantry Battalion in Borneo, 17 September 1945. Photo AWM 118033

In this article Haruki Yoshida writes of the traditions of the sword in Japanese culture and deals sensitively with the surrendering of swords by the Japanese at the end of the Second World War. Haruki covers several key surrender ceremonies, including the main surrender ceremony, held aboard USS Missouri in Tokyo bay, the surrender at Morotai (also see Spinning the Reels) and even smaller surrenders in prison camps on the Japanese mainland.

To read Haruki’s article, you can purchase your copy of Wartime here