Hirohito And The Making of Modern Japan

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Hirohito And The Making of Modern Japan

#1  Postby Mishakal » Mar 09, 2010 7:06 pm

I've been reading this biography on the Showa Emperor (Hirohito) who ruled Japan during WWII. According to the author, far from being the powerless Western style monarch of a Constitutional Monarchy, Hirohito held vast powers and control behind the scenes and was a major driving force for Japanese Expansionism prior to WWII and was responsible both for most of Japan's war crimes but also a proponent of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Even after the dropping of the atomic bomb he still wanted the continue the war until bomb number two fell, but because the Allies (that is the United States) was worried about a possible Communist takeover by the USSR and dealing with the fact that the Emperor was the only thing the majority of Japanese people could still agree on. He was left in power without having been held responsible for what he had allowed to happen or had outright ordered, even with a new and highly restrictive Constitution that did reduce him to a "Symbol of the Nation" Hirohito continued to wield power and influence behind the scenes for decades until his death.

Pretty impressive stuff and it is very well written, though like everything that deals in controversy about WWII this book has never been published in Japan. Even now there is a culture of silence about everything that happened in that period of Japanese history.
It is interesting to find that people of faith now seek defensively to say that they are no worse than Nazis or Stalinists. ~ Christopher Hitchens, on the supposed atheism of Hitler and Stalin
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Re: Hirohito And The Making of Modern Japan

#2  Postby GreatApe » Mar 10, 2010 10:47 am

Great synopsis, Mishakal! I have that book, and I have not begun reading it yet, but I hope to do so soon. I've always been fascinated by Asian history, so I brought the book to China with me when I moved. Now I just need to find the time to delve into it, but your summary has convinced me to push it to the top of the list.
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