Easter Sunrise Service, Occupied Tokyo


This picture was taken in 1948 by my father, Rev. Hallam C. Shorrock, Jr., during an Easter sunrise service in Tokyo sponsored by the U.S. occupation army of Japan. General Douglas MacArthur, who ran the occupation for the Truman administration, thought that bringing U.S. Christian missionaries to Japan would sway the Japanese people away from communism. By the late 1940s, however, the Japanese Communist Party, highly respected for opposing Japan’s imperial drive into Asia and freed to organize by MacArthur’s democratic reforms, was spreading like wildfire. Below is a photograph of communist-led railway workers at a strike rally in 1949. This shot, too, was taken by my father, who was a Protestant missionary in Tokyo from 1947 to 1969. The Easter photo is a reminder that the flag, the cross and American empire have come as a package for much of our history. If you’re interested in that kind of thing, read “Red Flags Over Tokyo,”  my account of my missionary boyhood in Cold War Japan.



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