Editorial: Why kill Hirohito? (8-9-44)

The Wilmington Morning Star (August 9, 1944)

Editorial: Why kill Hirohito?

A Honolulu editor urges that the execution of Hirohito is necessary to prevent further Japanese aggression. Granting that the editor, in a city which includes a large Japanese colony, knows the character and habits of the Jap better than most of us, we still question his suggestion.

Hirohito, believed by his people to be a descendant of the sun goddess, is a confusion of god and emperor. He is the center of the Japanese state religion, but his temporal power has risen and fallen according to the whims and temper of his ministers. And there seems ample evidence that the militarist clique, not the emperor, willed and planned this war.

To execute Hirohito would be both inexpedient and un-American. Such an act would probably rouse the Japanese people, even though defeated, to a fury that would prolong resistance and cost many more American lives. Besides, it is hardly fitting that a country founded on freedom of worship should put to death a ruler who, however senseless it seems to us, is regarded by his subjects as a divine being. If we bring the Tōjō gang to justice, we shall probably have killed the present root of Jap aggression.

‘inexpendient and Un-American’ That isn’t true. we really should have executed him, preferably by frying him alive in the electric chair.