ROTTERDAM / THE HAGUE - The Japanese Emperor Hirohito started his controversial visit to our country. That was - as expected - not without protests. During a car ride from Rotterdam to The Hague a man threw an object at the car of the Emperor. Furthermore, the emperor received a lot of boos heard people.

The highly controversial private visit of Hirohito keeps a large part of the Netherlands for months in his grasp. Today Hirohito visited The Hague and Rotterdam.

Many people still love the emperor responsible for the abuses by the Japanese army during World War II.

Not welcome

Hague Hirohito was not exactly waiting with open arms. The emperor was told boos, Angry motorists were horn and people along the access route had the flag hung at half-mast.

Between Rijswijk and The Hague someone threw an object at the Imperial car. At first it seemed to go to a rock, but it turned out to be part of a thermos. In the bulletproof windshield was a big star.

"Three witnesses have told the police that she is a man of 40 tot 50 year saw some throw. Some others have seen a projectile flying through the air. The moieties - pieces of glass of a thermos bottle - are later found on the street ".

(Vrije Volk, 09-10-1971)
Emperor Hirohito and his wife visit Euromast, Rotterdam. Hirohito and mayor Thomassen. Photographer: Rob Mieremet, National Archives / Anefo. License: Public Domain


Much quieter went to the imperial visit to Rotterdam. The emperor came, with its procession of black cars, around half past four in the Euromast. He was received by the mayor of Rotterdam Thomassen. Spectators were barely.

From the hands of the nine-year-old son of Deputy Mayor Fox Hirohito was offered a flower. At the top of the Euromast was the emperor a tour of the mayor, employees Euromast Posthuma and director of the Port Authority.

"The little bent emperor nodded getting interested again and glanced occasionally through the binocular that he had brought himself. Even when he was offered a large plates atlas of the mayor he held the spotlight in both hands. "

(Vrije Volk, 09-10-1971)

Prior to the visit of the Emperor's every nook and cranny of the Euromast inspected. In recent days there has been a bomb threat to three times received by the Euromast. The visit of the emperor was rehearsed Wednesday in Rotterdam.

That mayor Thomassen at the visit was present, is not obvious. His Amsterdam colleague Samkalden decided to remain absent, Hirohito as tomorrow afternoon Artis Zoo visit.

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The protests certainly come as no surprise. As the announcement of the visit, in February, The news caused a wave of protest. Maar, as indicated from Tokyo, it would be a private visit and not an official state visit, as was the case in Belgium, Britain and West Germany.

But given the history between Japan and the Netherlands and 'sentiments prevailing after the Pacific War', was an official state visit not desirable, a spokesman of the Emperor.

Hirohito is still a large part of the Dutch population seen as a war criminal. During World War II he was the "divine authority", according to the Japanese Constitution. The role of the emperor during the war has never officially investigated. Many Dutch lost their lives during the construction of the infamous 'Death Railway' between Thailand and Burma.

Then prime minister De Jong had understanding for all protests (also from the House) against the visit of Hirohito. But because the Japanese government had apologized for the crimes facing prisoners in the war, "The visit was to just go ahead '. De Jong presented itself in the Navy in World War II and had after the war the situation in the Japanese prison camps up close.


Comedian Wim Kan, who had been in a Japanese prison camp ', the face was of the protests against the arrival of Hirohito.

Will had last year after the 25th anniversary already a song written about Japanese atrocities during the construction of the Burma railway. The number, "No human life almost more 't live to tell', was featured in the television program Behind the News.

sent a month ago Can a protest letter to the new Prime Minister Biesheuvel. In the letter he mentions the visit of Hirohito 'totally indigestible'. One of the reasons he cites that there was hardly any talk of a private visit. Hirohito tomorrow anyway gets a dinner with Queen Juliana and sleep this weekend anyway in Huis ten Bosch.

That Hirohito for economic reasons could not be denied, The comedian was still justifiable, but he will eat the Queen, is not with him. He proposed to postpone the visit of Hirohito at least three years, Before it was clear what was the role of Hirohito in World War II.


Tomorrow afternoon there is a visit to Amsterdam on the program. The emperor, which is a great lover of the sea life, will include a visit to the zoo which closes part.

Then we have lunch at Soestdijk Palace with Queen Juliana. Hirohito also receives at Huis ten Bosch, the Dutch marine biologists Vervoort and Holsuis.

Wim Kan hoping that tomorrow he could hand over his diary about the work on the Burma railway to the Emperor, but the probability seems very small. The master of ceremonies of the Emperor, Shigenobu Shima, was not aware of the desire of the comedian. "But if someone wants to hand me that book I will read it. If I consider it appropriate for the emperor, I will bring it to his attention ", Shima says.

Hoe ging het verder?

Hirohito also could not count on a warm welcome in Amsterdam. Texts were scrawled on buildings (which were removed in time before the Emperor could see) and plenty ahead and call non-friendly banners.

Artis someone tried to attack even the Emperor, but which was retained by agents. At the Okura Hotel, where the mayor of Rotterdam was still present, Japanese flags were burned.

Also at the home of Prime Minister Biesheuvel was restless. diamonds in the night from Saturday to Sunday were smashed, to the chagrin of Mrs. Biesheuvel. She wrote an open letter to the media, directed by Wim Kan:

"If you are calling the next rebellion, would you please ask your helpers windows NOT to throw on Sunday. This is such a bad day for wife, you know. "

(Ms. Biesheuvel, different media, 11-10-1971)

Wim Kan himself ended his protest by reporting that he and his wife Corrie Vonk their Asia-resistance stars would throw in the trash. They had no longer need, After the visit of the Emperor. He calls it irreparably the Dutch government informed the Japanese emperor that he was welcome.

The second episode of the Podcast of Dag van Toen was largely about Hirohito's visit to the Netherlands.


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The free people : democratic-socialist newspaper“. Rotterdam, 09-10-1971, p. 1

“Wim Kan may not offer yourself book”. “TVNZ“. Rotterdam, 09-10-1971

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“Booing escorted Hirohito”. “The truth“. Amsterdam, 11-10-1971

“Booing and stones for the Emperor”. Reformatorisch Dagblad, 23 mei 2000

Text: Dave Datema

published: 01-10-2017

story number: 68

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