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United States Navy Photographer

A Japanese emissary sent to arrange entry of a Third Fleet unit into Sagami and Tokyo Bays gives his name and rank to officer aboard the destroyer Nicholas, June 27, 1945
Vintage wire photograph on paper
5 11/16 x 7 3/8 in. (14.45 x 18.73 cm)

Creation Place: Asia, American
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Restricted Gift of Michael Mattis, Judy Hochberg, and Daniel Mattis, in honor of Kathleen Stewart Howe
Accession Number: P2019.21.528

Emissary Red Tape with Third Fleet Off Tokyo: One of the Japanese emissaries (second from left) sent to arrange entry of a Third Fleet unit into Sagami and Tokyo Bays gives his name and rank to officer aboard the destroyer Nicholas. The ship transported the Japanese to the USS Missouri. In the foreground with his back to the camera is Captain Yoshihiko Takasaki. U.S. Navy photo transmitted to San Francisco via radiophoto from USS Iowa in Sagami Bay, June 27, 1945.

The surrender of Imperial Japan was announced by Emperor Hirohito on August 15 and formally signed on September 2, 1945, bringing the hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) was incapable of conducting major operations, and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent. Together with the British Empire and China, the United States called for the unconditional surrender of the Japanese armed forces in the Potsdam Declaration on July 26, 1945—the alternative being "prompt and utter destruction". While publicly stating their intent to fight on to the bitter end, Japan's leaders - the Supreme Council for the Direction of the War, also known as the "Big Six" - were privately making entreaties to the still-neutral Soviet Union to mediate peace on terms that were more favorable to the Japanese. The Soviets maintained a sufficient level of diplomatic engagement with the Japanese to give them the impression they might be willing to mediate. However, the Soviets covertly prepared to attack Japanese forces in Manchuria and Korea, as well as South Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, to fulfill secret promises they had made to the U.S. and United Kingdom at the Tehran and Yalta Conferences. On August 28, the occupation of Japan began, led by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers. The surrender ceremony was held on September 2, aboard the U.S. Navy battleship USS Missouri. Officials from the Japanese government signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, thereby ending hostilities. Allied civilians and military personnel alike celebrated V-J Day, the end of the war. However, isolated soldiers and personnel from Japan's far-flung forces throughout Asia and the Pacific refused to surrender for months and years afterwards, some even refusing into the 1970s. The role of the atomic bombings in Japan's unconditional surrender, and the ethics of the two attacks, is still debated. The state of war formally ended when the Treaty of San Francisco came into force on April 28, 1952. Four more years passed before Japan and the Soviet Union signed the Soviet–Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956, which formally brought an end to their state of war.

Sheet: 6 x 7 7/8

Wire photographs were originally transmitted over phonelines, then later, by satellite. They were first used in the early 1920s. Associated Press became a leader with this. After pigment touch-ups, etc., the print is put into a drum (like a drum scanner). The image gets converted into audio tones that are transmitted. The tones are received and beamed onto photo-sensitive paper. Wire photographs are copies without originals---they are hybrid, transmitted objects. (Britt Salvesen, Curator and Department Head, Photography Department, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, March 30-31, 2022)

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  • Image Dimensions: 5 11/16 x 7 3/8 in. (14.45 x 18.73 cm)

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