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Account of
Japanese Surrender Delegation Arriving at Ie Shima, Okinawa
19 August 1945

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On a Sunday in October 2010 an envelope containing 23 rare WWII photos was left, anonymously, at the entrance door to the Combat Air Museum. The images show the arrival of the original Japanese surrender delegation on the island of Ie Shima, Okinawa in two "Betty" bombers (Mitsubishi G4M-1) shortly after noon on 19 August 1945.

The delegation of 16 military and civilian representatives disembarked from the 2 bombers and assembled in the shade, under the wing of an American C-54 Skymaster transport plane. There they were addressed by the island American commanders who briefed them about the forthcoming flight to the Philippines to meet with military representatives for General Douglas MacArthur. The Japanese delegation then boarded the C-54 for the trip to Manila, there to receive the terms for Allied occupation of the Japanese homeland and formal Japanese surrender. The crew of the two Bettys were detained overnight on Ie Shima until the surrender delegation returned from Manila the following day.

The WWII photographer who took these images is unknown, as is the 2010 donor of the photographs. The Curator at the Museum would like to discover who the donor is in order to find out more about the original photographer.

A number of published accounts about the end of Pacific hostilities do not cover the interim period of planning and jump directly from the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War by Emperor Hirohito on August 15 (Japan Standard Time) to the September 2nd signing of the formal surrender documents in Tokyo Harbor. However many procedural arrangements had to be finalized between August 15 and September 2, including the arrival of American occupation forces on the main island of Japan on August 28.

These images (and others already published, notably by the US Naval Historical Center and Life Magazine) help portray the beginning of that process.


Also included in the envelope of photos were 22 images of aircraft nose art from planes stationed on Ie Shima Island during this period, mid to late 1945. We have posted these images as is.

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