V-J Day

On August 15, 1945, Imperial Japan announced its surrender bringing World War Two to a close. The actual signing of the document did not take place until September 2, and some countries celebrate V-J (Victory over Japan) Day on September 2 or 3.

The surrender triggered celebrations around the world. August 15 is a public holiday in South Korea, Gwangbokjeol (“the day the light returned”) and commemorates Victory over Japan. It is also celebrated as Liberation Day in North Korea and is the only public holiday celebrated in both countires.

Many people have called for a re-naming of the holiday, citing that it promotes discrimination against modern Japan. Although the holiday was not renamed, one state assembly issued this statement. “Victory Day is not a day to express satisfaction in the destruction and death caused by nuclear bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” It is a day to remember those who fought and to celebrate our hard-won peace.

In Japan, August 15 is officially known as “the day for mourning of war dead and praying for peace” (戦没者を追悼し平和を祈念する日 Senbotsusha o tsuitōshi heiwa o kinensuru hi).

This image is World-Telegram photo by Dick DeMarsico taken in Times Square on V-J Day at time of announcement of the Japanese surrender in 1945. It is part of a collection donated by the newspaper to the U.S. Library of Congress and as such is in the public domain.

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