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Widow of Emperor Hirohito's aide cites reason for memorandum release.

TOKYO, Sept. 1 Kyodo

The widow of a former top aide to Emperor Hirohito said in a newspaper interview published Friday that she decided to make public her husband's memorandum to tell the public that the emperor was a talkative and humorous man.

Tomoko Tomita, the 81-year-old widow of former Imperial Household Agency Grand Steward Tomohiko Tomita, told the Sankei Shimbun she was very surprised by the strong reaction to the release of her husband's memorandum, which was published July 20 by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.

She said her husband's memorandum and diaries were found in his bedroom in Tokyo after he died in November 2003 at age 83.

''They were very interesting...as if Tomita were alive (relating),'' she said of the memorandum, of which her husband did not say what to do before he died.

Despite the widely held view that Emperor Hirohito did not say a lot, she said the emperor ''in fact loved to talk'' and was a ''humorous'' man.

Asked about Emperor Hirohito's criticism of Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka and other Class-A war criminals from World War II enshrined at Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, as reportedly cited in her husband's memorandum, she said the emperor repeatedly made such remarks to her husband before he died.

Tomita recorded conversations with the emperor in his diaries, dating from 1975 through 1986, and journals, from 1986 to 1997, informed sources said. Tomita served as Imperial Household Agency grand steward for 10 years from 1978.

The entry about Yasukuni Shrine, dated April 28, 1988, reportedly chronicled the emperor's dismay at Yasukuni Shrine's decision in the late 1970s to include Class-A war criminals from World War II in the list of people honored there.

The memorandum confirms speculation by some historians that the reason Emperor Hirohito, known posthumously in Japan as Emperor Showa, refrained from visiting the shrine was because of its decision to honor the war criminals.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Sep 4, 2006
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