The Jewel Voice Broadcast, First Day of Japanese People Hear Their King's Voice

Gyokuon-Hoso, or "The Jewel Voice Broadcast," is a radio broadcast in which King Hirohito announces that Japan has surrendered unconditionally to the Allies and ended the second world war. The speech was broadcast around the world at 12.00 noon on August 15, 1945. The broadcast was the first time the Japanese could hear the voice of their king.


For thousands of years, the Japanese have despised their king so much that they could not and could hardly hear the original voice of their king. Therefore, most Japanese kings rarely or never speak publicly. The speeches delivered by King Hirohito are very formal and speak traditional languages.

The traditional language was used to make it more understandable to the people, however, this speech apparently caused confusion to the Japanese military and its people. Plus, the poor audio quality makes the king's voice sound a bit dim.


The speech was not broadcast live, but it was a speech by the king recorded on the night of August 13, 1945 at the Tokyo Royal Palace and was replayed 2 days later. After this recording was broadcast, many Japanese soldiers opposed the king's decision to surrender.

It is unfortunate that some high officials of the government had already planned a coup on King Hirohito to abolish the surrender of power to the Allies. The seizure today was known as the Kyujo Incident.


In addition to the Kyujo Incident, there was another incident of rebellion aimed at canceling the broadcast of the speech. 1 day before the broadcast or more precisely on August 14, 1945, about 1,000 Japanese soldiers who could not accept King Hirohito's decision marched to the royal palace to steal and confiscate the footage. However, the rebels became confused after being lost in the Palace as it had many rooms and hallways.

Seeing the rebels enter the palace, one of the palace guards immediately hid the footage in a pile of laundry belonging to one of the royal families. The footage was later smuggled out of the Palace and the rebel forces were eventually disbanded. Not until then, the next day, the rebels gathered and continued to attack the studio where the recording was being played. But the attack failed and all the rebels were arrested.


Although the attack was unsuccessful, the original recording plate was lost, most likely stolen by one of the rebel forces. But luckily, before the recording began, the studio staff made a copy of the original plate and then gave it to the Japanese government so that everyone could hear it.


Meanwhile, the original black plate has now been rediscovered. However, it has never been played back and is only housed in the museum at Nihon Hoso Kyokai, Tokyo.

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