A memoir by former Japanese Emperor Hirohito about how his country entered World War Two has fetched $220,000 (£164,000) at an auction in New York.

The recollections were dictated by the emperor to several of his aides in 1946, “with the likely encouragement of Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers”, according to Bonhams. The memoir auctioned is a handwritten copy by one of those aides, diplomat Terasaki Hidenari, who also worked as interpreter for the emperor dealing with the US forces.

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According to Bonham, the two notebooks are the only full record of the Emperor’s spoken memoirs, “and constitute a key resource” for understanding Japanese history.

Unlike many senior government figures he was not tried for war crimes after WW2 but continued to reign over his country’s re-emergence as an economic powerhouse and a stern alley of the West throughout the Cold War.