[WORLD WAR II, JAPANESE SURRENDER]. Oversize color image of the surrender ceremony, held on the deck of the battleship U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945. SIGNED BY TEN INDIVIDUALS, SEVEN OF THEM ACTUAL SIGNATORIES OF THE INSTRUMENT OF SURRENDER ITSELF: General YOSHIJIRO UMEZU ("Yoshijiro Umezu"), Chief of the General Staff of the Imperial Japanese Army; Allied Commander General DOUGLAS MACARTHUR ("Douglas MacArthur"); Admiral CHESTER NIMITZ ("C.W. Nimitz"), Commander, Pacific Fleet; U.K. representative BRUCE FRASER ("Fraser of North Cape"); KUZMA DEREVYANKO ("K. Derevyanko" in cyrillic), signatory for the USSR; General JACQUES LECLERC ("LeClerc"), signatory for the Republic of France; CONRAD HELFRICH ("C. Helfrich"), Netherlands representative; and three non-signatory members of the U.S. delegation: Admiral WILLIAM F. HALSEY ("W.F. Halsey"), Rear Admiral FORREST (FRANK) SHERMAN ("Forrest Sherman") and Lt. General RICHARD K. SUTHERLAND ("R.K. Sutherland"). The signatures in different inks along a narrow oblong strip, 3¾ x 17¼ in., matted with a full color photograph of the surrender, 10½ x 13 5/8 in., glazed and attractively framed.
THE SURRENDER CEREMONIES WHICH ENDED THE PACIFIC WAR, SIGNED BY SEVEN OF 12 SIGNERS OF THE INSTRUMENT OF SURRENDER, INCLUDING GENERAL YOSHIJIRO UMEZO, ONE OF TWO JAPANESE REPRESENTATIVES
One of the most remarkable mementos we have yet encountered of the historic surrender ceremony that formally ended the most destructive war ever fought. The solemn ceremony took place on the deck of the U.S. battleship Missouri on the morning of 2 September. The Articles of Surrender, drafted by the War Department and previously approved by President Truman, were presented and, at 4 minutes past 9 o'clock, the two Japanese signers: Foreign Minister Mamuro Shigemitsu and General Umezo, signed the document on behalf of Japan as directed by the Emperor.
Umezu (1882-1949), a veteran of the Russo-Japanese War, was a reluctant agent at the surrender, and had argued that Japan should continue to fight even in the face of overwhelming Allied strength and terrible new weapons. Subsequently he was convicted as a class A war criminal, and died of cancer in 1949, still incarcerated. On the morning of 2 September, Umezo presented credentials signed and sealed by Emperor Hirohito, authorizing and directing him "to attach his signature by command and in behalf of Ourselves and Our Government unto the Instrument of Surrender which is required by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers."
In the color image of the event, Umezu is shown, in full uniform with gold braid, leaning down, a pen in his right hand, in the act of signing the document as ordered by his Emperor, while MacArthur, Halsey and rows of Allied diplomats and high-ranking officers look on solemnly from the sides.
Only a very few signed images of this momentous surrender ceremony have been offered at auction: a black-and white photo with a long inscription from Admiral Nimitz to Eleanor Roosevelt was sold here (15 February 2001, lot 191, $50,000), as was another signed by MacArthur, Halsey, Nimitz, Turner and Wainwright (21 April 1997, lot 103, $8,000). But we know no other examples signed by this many actual signatories, particularly by one of the official Japanese representatives.
Provenance: A U.S. serviceman, present as an official observer of the surrender ceremonies.