Arthur MacArthur IV's early life was chronicled extensively in the press. His early childhood was spent around the penthouse built for his father atop the Manila Hotel. Arthur's father would play with him every morning before work. After the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, Arthur, his mother and his nanny were forced to relocate from the Manila Hotel as bombs fell nearby.:223 They first joined Arthur's father on Corregidor Island and then were evacuated by PT boat and B-17 Flying Fortress to Brisbane, Australia.:268 The United Press agency reported in March 1942 on the boy's escape with his family and that he was a "real MacArthur, a soldier like his father and grandfather". cover story in August 1942 and reported on such matters as the boy's life in Australia, his "curiously mixed-up accent", his kindergarten routine, and his new tricycle. After the Japanese surrender in 1945, the family moved to Tokyo, from where the United Press agency reported in 1946 that eight-year-old Arthur MacArthur was considered a "musical prodigy". Arthur's first meeting with Emperor Hirohito of Japan's sons, the future Emperor Akihito and Prince Masahito in September 1949, at a swimming meet, was covered by Sir Keith Murdoch's Adelaide News under the headline "MacArthur's son and Jap. princes".
Even trivial childhood matters could find their way into the newspapers. When Arthur broke his arm ice skating in Tokyo in May 1947, the Australian Associated Press reported that '[d]octors said he behaved "like a soldier"'.
Not only doctors assumed that Arthur had the makings of a soldier. Perhaps inevitably, as he was the son and grandson of Army generals, it was assumed by soldiers, newspaper correspondents, and even by his mother that Arthur would be a soldier. At Arthur's christening his mother was asked whether Arthur would attend the United States Military Academy at West Point and replied "how can he help it, having such a father?":178 The troops on Corregidor called four-year-old Arthur "the Sergeant".:229 Inevitably, Douglas MacArthur also wished for a military career for his son, writing "I hope that God will let me live to see the day that young Arthur MacArthur is sworn in on The Plain as a plebe at West Point".:517