Hirohito: The Emperor and the Man

Hirohito: The Emperor and the Man

by Edwin P. Hoyt
     
 

Hoyt's biography, taking advantage of recent posthumous revelations of a Japanese foreign service diplomat, portrays Hirohito as a man of peace held captive by his role in Japanese society and government . . . Library Journal

A successful new book from a topnotch writer . . . Booklist

. . . provocative . . . Kirkus Reviews

Was

Overview

Hoyt's biography, taking advantage of recent posthumous revelations of a Japanese foreign service diplomat, portrays Hirohito as a man of peace held captive by his role in Japanese society and government . . . Library Journal

A successful new book from a topnotch writer . . . Booklist

. . . provocative . . . Kirkus Reviews

Was Emperor Hirohito to blame for Japan's expansionist military policies—and its atrocities—in World War II? Was he out to make the world his empire? This most extensive biography of the emperor in English challenges portrayals of Hirohito as either an unworldly scientist or a swashbuckling conspirator who tried to conquer the globe with military might. Using sources uncovered as recently as 1991, Hoyt reveals that the emperor was fundamentally a peace-loving man caught in a turbulent period when the Japanese military gained extraordinary power. He became the virtual prisoner of an Imperial system that prevented him from leading his country into an era of peace and prosperity, his boyhood dream. Hoyt's account, backed by a decade of research, details the emperor's repeated attempts to thwart the Imperial Army's headlong drive toward war. Even when defeat was certain, Hoyt maintains, Hirohito had to outmaneuver the army in order to surrender to Allied forces. Only then, in postwar years, did the emperor see his wishes for his country come true.

To help the reader assess the emperor's life, Hoyt begins by examining the years preceding Hirohito's reign. He then focuses on the Manchurian incidents, the struggle for power in Japan, the China war, the global conflict and Japan's role in it, and the country's final capitulation. Critical passages on events preceding and during World War II, supported by the recently released diaries of men close to the emperor, detail the process by which Hirohito increasingly lost power as the army gained control. Turning his attention to the post-war years, Hoyt chronicles Japan's economic growth and the changing role of the emperor in Japanese society. Photographs from Japanese sources enhance the narrative. Hirohito: The Emperor and the Man offers new insight into the motives of a widely misunderstood leader. Hoyt's Hirohito is a quiet man with scholarly leanings; a patriot who loved his country but also admired Western qualities; a monarch who wished to act responsibly at a critical juncture but lacked the authority to do so.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this informative and sympathetic biography, Hoyt describes how Hirohito (1901-1989) was made a symbol by the Japanese constitution and social system, then exploited by army conspirators who seized control of the government in 1932. While attempting to break out of the system that imprisoned him, Hoyt recounts, the emperor repeatedly tried to thwart the militarists' headlong drive to wage war in China, Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands. The Hirohito portrayed here is a man of good will and peaceful intentions, largely unaware of the wartime acts committed in his name. Hoyt clarifies Hirohito's role during the postwar Occupation, and explains his unique relationship with the Japanese people. He closes the book with an account of the Japanese people's ongoing difficulty in ``finding a base on which to assess the past,'' particularly wartime atrocities. Hoyt is the author of Yamamoto: The Man Who Planned Pearl Harbor. Photos. (May)
Library Journal
The death of Emperor Hirohito in 1989 inspired a spate of new books, all attempting to understand and explain his role in Japan's World War II imperialism. Among them were Edward Behr's Hirohito: Behind the Myth ( LJ 1/90), which held the emperor accountable, and Toshiaki Kawahara's Hirohito and His Times ( LJ 5/15/90), which argued the opposite conclusion. Hoyt's biography, taking advantage of recent posthumous revelations of a Japanese foreign service diplomat, portrays Hirohito as a man of peace held captive by his role in Japanese society and government. While most scholars agree with this assessment, there is little new here, and the author's elementary presentation is as contradictory as the record of his subject. As a writer of popular histories on World War II, Hoyt has a following, so public libraries may get some re quests.-- Kenneth W. Berger, Duke Univ. Lib., Durham, N.C.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780275940690
Publisher:
ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date:
03/28/1992
Pages:
236
Sales rank:
970,875
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.56(d)
Lexile:
1180L (what's this?)

Meet the Author

EDWIN P. HOYT's credentials include associate editor of Collier's, war correspondent for United Press, and producer-director-writer for CBS News TV. For more than thirty years he has been a freelance writer, producing critically acclaimed works of military history.

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