General and former Prime Minister Hideki Tojo receives blood from an American Army Unit.

General and former Prime Minister Hideki Tojo receives blood from an American Army Unit.

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By September 1945, World War II had come to an end. After Japan's unconditional surrender, Gen. Douglas MacArthur issued orders for the arrest of the first forty alleged war criminals, including Prime Minister Hideki Tojo. When American military police surrounded his house on September 8, 1945, they heard a muffled shot from inside. Tojo had shot himself, but despite shooting directly through a charcoal mark on his chest, the bullet missed his heart. A few minutes later, disarmed and with blood spreading on his shirt, Tojo began to talk.
In his book, Photojournalist, Mydans reports the following: When Tojo saw General Robert Eichelberger standing at his bedside, Tojo told him he was sorry for all the trouble he was causing. Eichelberger said to the interpreter, "Ask if he means the trouble tonight, or the last four years?" Two Japanese reporters recorded Tojo's words: "I am very sorry it is taking me so long to die. The Greater East Asia War was justified and righteous. I am very sorry for the nation and all the races of the Greater Asiatic powers. I wait for the righteous judgment of history. I wished to commit suicide but sometimes that fails." Hideki Tojo was sentenced to death for war crimes and executed by hanging on December 23, 1948, after accepting full responsibility for his actions in World War II and, in the end, advocating peace.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Mydans, Carl
place made
Japan: Tōkyō, Tokyo
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 14 in x 11 in; 35.56 cm x 27.94 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
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Work and Industry: Photographic History
Carl Mydans
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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