Japanese officials formally and unconditionally surrendered to the Allied powers on the deck of the Battleship U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945. A total of five American battleships along with many aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, frigates, sloops, submarines, mine sweepers, and more were present.
Two copies of the Instrument of Surrender documents were signed, one copy for Japan and one copy for the Allies. The signing ceremony lasted about 25 minutes. The 31-star American flag flown by the U.S.S. Mississippi steamer, commanded by Commodore Matthew Perry, who in 1853 defeated Japanese military forces in the Bay of Edo (now Tokyo Bay) and opened Japan to the West by signing a treaty of friendship, gaining access to two ports, and for Japan to render aid to American ships, was on display and easily visible for all to see.
Note: This page focuses on the surrender ceremony aboard the U.S.S. Missouri on September 2, 1945. For information on how World War 2 began, D-Day, speech clips from Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and more, please visit the World War Two page.
The Japanese signed the Instrument of Surrender document first. Signing on behalf of Emperor Hitorhito and the Japanese Government was Foreign Minister Mamoro Shigemitsu. Japanese general Yosshijiro Umezu signed for the Imperial General Headquarters.
Signing for the Allied Powers was Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, General Douglas MacArthur. Lieutenant General Jonathan M. Wainwright, defender of Bataan and Corregidor and Lieutenant General Arthur E. Percival, British commander at Singapore at the time of the Japanese conquest of that base, signed next.
Representatives for the other Allied Powers then signed in the following order:
Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, for the United States;
General Hsu Yung-Chang, for the Republic of China;
Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser for the United Kingdom;
Lieutenant General Kuzma Nikolaevish Derevyanko for the U.S.S.R.;
General Sir Thomas Blamey for Australia;
Colonel Lawrence Moore-Cosgrave for Canada;
Major General Jacques LeClerc for France;
Admiral C. E. L. Helfrich for the Netherlands; and
Air Vice Marshal L. M. Isitt for New Zealand.
Much of the information and many of the photographs on this page came from http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq69-1.htm