Journalist Chiping Chu's Account

Remembering the End of World War II

How the storm of war abated in the calm of morning

by Chiping Chu, September 2, 1985

"Forty years ago, I witnessed the formal surrender of the Japanese aboard the USS Missouri in a peaceful Tokyo Bay.

As a war-time correspondent for Ta Kung Pao with the US Pacific Fleet, I boarded the USS Missouri at 7 a.m. on September 2, 1945.

The 45,000 ton flagship of Admiral William F. Halsey resembled a closely guarded island from a distance. Its tower and guns stood erect against the cloudy sky and its new coat of grey paint added even more solemnity to the occasion. Even the band was silent as the Japanese delegation arrived in a light boat. Only the sound of flags whipping in the wind overhead broke the silence.

[Foreign Minister Mamoru] Shigemitsu lurched forward dragging his stiff left leg. He set down his hat and cane, seated himself at the table, removed his gloves and picked up the documents. He scanned them for a minute or so, pulled out his fountain pen and affixed his signature on both documents on behalf of the Japanese Empire and government...

The ceremony concluded at exactly 9:18.

The time struck me as exceedingly ironic. For the Chinese, the number had come to signify the (September 18) Shenyang incident of 1931, when Japan overran Manchuria.

For more than 1000 years, friendship has been the dominant theme in Sino-Japanese relations. The war between the nations was an unfortunate digression from that lasting friendship. History has taught us that friendship benefits both nations and hostility brings only misery to both. The governments and peoples of both countries should cherish this lesson.

More about War Correspondent Chiping Chu

Chiping Chu was a war correspondent for the Chinese newspaper Ta Kung Pao. After the end of the War, Chu moved to New York and continued working as a correspondent covering the UN. In 1949, he and his family returned home to China, settling in Beijing. His journalism career was cut short in 1957 when he advocated for a free press. He was sent to a labor camp on the Sino-Siberia border but was eventually allowed to work as a teacher. During the Cultural Revolution he and his family were sent to different provinces to do manual labor. After 18 years of separation, Chiping Chu was returned to his family and resumed his work as a correspondent for Ta Kung Pao in Hong Kong. In 1990, the Chu family immigrated to the US. Chiping Chu passed away in 1993.

Chiping's son Bernard visited the Battleship Missouri Memorial in 2002. Standing on the Surrender Deck, he imagined his father being aboard to witness the end of World War II. He sought out the ship's curator in hopes that an image of his father taken onboard the USS Missouri might be located. After an extensive search of the Memorial's Surrender Ceremony photo collection, one face caught the attention of the curatorial staff — a young journalist standing with notepad in hand, smiling as Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz arrived and strode past him on the veranda deck. Bernard Chu shared an enlarged copy of that image with his family and they confirmed that it was indeed his father, Chiping Chu.

 

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