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Asahi / Life - Entertain

Surgeon thrilled at snapping up Hirohito memoir in U.S.

One of Japan's most famous plastic surgeons who successfully bid for what is believed to be a memoir
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One of Japan's most famous plastic surgeons who successfully bid for what is believed to be a memoir of Emperor Hirohito's has revealed he would have paid anything to get his hands on it.

“It represents the soul of Japan that money cannot buy,” Katsuya Takasu said Dec. 7. “I was determined to successfully get it by any means.”

But money did buy it at the Dec. 6 auction in New York with Takasu's winning bid being $275,000 (30.95 million yen). It had a starting price of $66,000, said Takasu.

Takasu said he initially hoped to present the document to Prince Hisahito, the 11-year-old great-grandson of Hirohito and third in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne after Crown Prince Naruhito and Naruhito’s brother, Prince Fumihito.

But the Imperial House Economy Law requires a Diet vote when a member of the imperial family receives or presents a valuable asset.

The surgeon said he plans to “offer it to a venue where Hisahito can read it.”

In the 173-page document, Hirohito, who is posthumously known as Emperor Showa, gives his recollections of World War II. He describes his exchanges with other imperial family members and Cabinet members by name and even gives his opinion of certain individuals. The emperor's words were dictated by one of his aides.

“The memoir shows that Hirohito had a human side,” Takasu said. “It should certainly be read.”

He added that he is expected to receive the memoir in about a week.

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