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This unique book compiles some 120 remarkable letters from Japanese citizens to General Douglas MacArthur during the postwar occupation of Japan (1945–1952). Painstakingly culled from a vast collection, these letters evoke the unfiltered voices of people of all classes and occupations during the tremendous upheaval of the early postwar period, when the Japanese were coming to terms with the devastating losses of the war, adjusting to a new political system, and creating the framework for economic and social recovery. Written by people of all ages and walks of life, the letters raise issues ranging from Japanese war crimes to the future of the emperor system, from the behavior of American occupation troops to pleas for the United States to annex Japan. Some writers offered to serve as spies for the occupation forces; others appealed for help in solving individual problems, protested allegedly unfair treatment by the occupation, or made detailed recommendations for the reform of Japanese society. Sodei's running commentary places the letters in their historical context, and the substantive foreword by John W. Dower, who drew upon Sodei's research for his Pulitzer Prize-winning Embracing Defeat, further assesses the significance of the letters in understanding Japan's occupation experience.
Chapter 1: Cozying Up to the Victor
Chapter 2: Invitations
Chapter 3: "I Dare Say . . ."
Chapter 4: "Please Protect the Emperor"
Chapter 5: "Depose the Emperor"
Chapter 6: MacArthur as Father Figure
Chapter 7: Gifts of Thanks
Chapter 8: Crafted from the Heart
Chapter 9: Unsolicited Advice
Chapter 10: To the Right or to the Left?
Chapter 11: Grand Plans
Chapter 12: Favors to Ask
Chapter 13: Fervent Requests
Chapter 14: Farewell