National Memorial Service for War Dead in Japan Date in the current year: August 15, 2024

National Memorial Service for War Dead in Japan The National Memorial Service for War Dead in Japan is held annually on August 15. It commemorates the victims of the Second World War.

Although World War II officially ended on September 2, 1945, when the Japanese Instrument of Surrender was signed abroad the USS Missouri, the Imperial Japanese Government accepted the conditions of the Potsdam Declaration on August 14, 1945. The next day, Japanese Emperor Hirohito personally announced to the Japanese people that the Japanese military had surrendered. The so-called Jewel Voice Broadcast was probably the first time that an Emperor of Japan had spoken to the common people.

August 15 is known in Japan as Shūsen-kinenbi (“end-of-war memorial day”). However, it hasn’t always been marked with a memorial ceremony. The first memorial ceremony took place on May 2, 1952. After that, it took almost seven years to organize another one. The second ceremony was held on March 28, 1959. In 1963 the service was moved to August 15 to commemorate the anniversary of the Jewel Voice Broadcast. Since 1965, the event has been held at the Nippon Budokan, an indoor arena in Tokyo that was build for the 1964 summer Olympics.

The memorial service is organized by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan. The event is always attended by the Emperor and Empress of Japan, Prime Minister of Japan, Speakers of the House of Representatives and House of Councilors, as well as representatives of political, religious, labor and business organizations, and bereaved families.

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National Memorial Service for War Dead in Japan, holidays in Japan, observances in Japan, Jewel Voice Broadcast, World War II