August 15 is Japan’s End-of-war memorial day. It marks the end of World War II (August 15, 1945) as per the Japanese Instrument of Surrender.
The day is called Shūsen-kinenbi (Japanese: 終戦記念日), also written as shūsen no hi (Japanese: 終戦の日). It is an informal reference used by the public, for August 15 and related to the historical events that culminated with the ending of World War II, and the restoration of Japanese political independence.
Those events were:
●August 14, 1945, the day the Imperial Japanese government gave notice to the Allies of World War II accepting the conditions of the Potsdam Declaration.
*Potsdam Declaration (or Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender): A statement that called for the surrender of all Japanese armed forces during World War II.
●August 15, 1945, the day of the Jewel Voice Broadcast announcing to the people of Japan that the Imperial government had accepted the Potsdam Declaration, and unconditional surrender of the armed forces.
*Jewel Voice Broadcast (Japanese: 玉音放送): The radio broadcast in which Japanese Emperor Hirohito read out the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War, announcing to the Japanese people that the Japanese Government had accepted the Potsdam Declaration demanding the unconditional surrender of the Japanese military at the end of World War II.
●September 2, 1945, the official signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender aboard the USS Missouri.
●April 28, 1952, the San Fransisco peace treaty with Japan came into force which under international law ended the state war with the Allied nations, and returned independence to Japan.
It is not an official holiday under Japanese law.
This day is also the official “VJ Day” (Victory over Japan Day) for the UK, while the official U.S. commemoration is September 2. The term has been applied to both of the days on which the initial announcement of Japan’s surrender was made – to the afternoon of August 15, 1945, in Japan, and, because of time zone differences, to August 14, 1945 (when it was announced in the United States and the rest of the Americas and Eastern Pacific Islands) – as well as to September 2, 1945, when the signing of the surrender document occurred, officially ending World War II.
August 15 is also;
Independence Day (Korea), celebrates the independence of Korea from Japan in 1945. It’s called “Gwangbokjeol” (光復節, lit. “The day the light returned”) in South Korea, and “Jogukhaebangui nal”, (祖国解放記念日, lit. “Fatherland Liberation Day”) in North Korea.
In commemoration of the day, let us introduce you to the stories of a man from Colombia, who walks through the conflict regions with crayons and drawing papers. What does he do with those things? And why does he do that?
*Click a photo below to see his stories!
“People never need my activities; that’s my ideal world.” – Hector Sierra, Founder of Artists Without Borders