Japan In War And Peace

Overview


Drawing on decades of experience and research, John W. Dower, author of the award-winning War Without Mercy, highlights for the first time the resemblances between wartime, postwar, and contemporary Japan. He argues persuasively that the origins of many of the institutions responsible for Japan's dominant position in today’s global economy derive from the rapid military industrialization of the 1930s, and not from the post-occupation period, as many have assumed. A brilliant lead essay, “The Useful War,” sets ...
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Overview


Drawing on decades of experience and research, John W. Dower, author of the award-winning War Without Mercy, highlights for the first time the resemblances between wartime, postwar, and contemporary Japan. He argues persuasively that the origins of many of the institutions responsible for Japan's dominant position in today’s global economy derive from the rapid military industrialization of the 1930s, and not from the post-occupation period, as many have assumed. A brilliant lead essay, “The Useful War,” sets the tone for the volume by incisively showing how much of Japan’s postwar political and economic structure was prefigured in the wartime organization of that country.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Here, Dower offers a collection of essays on Japan and its complex relations with the U.S. over the past half century." &#8212Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Japan's racism, rooted in pride in the purity and homogeneity of its society, has remained constant from the feudal era to the present and is potentially dangerous to its relations with the rest of the world, according to Dower, who is Henry Luce professor of international cooperation and global stability at MIT. In this collection of powerful, evenhanded and crystalline essays, he tracks manifestations of racism in the nation's mythology, cinema, wartime behavior and adaptations to the postwar occupation. He analyzes the nature of Japanese capitalism, the nation's emergence as a world power, its politicians and its government. Dower examines the Japanese sense of superiority to the mongrelized U.S. population as a factor in trade problems, but he also argues that the U.S.'s own sense of superiority and enduring contempt for the ``little yellow devils'' still underly our fear and awe of the Japanese. He punctures manipulated postwar myths in both Japan and the U.S. of a frail, kindly Hirohito and reviews General Douglas MacArthur's dealings with him. Dower warns of new dangers: that Japan's extreme conservatives will continue to ``sanitize the `holy war' waged in the emperor's name,'' that they will remilitarize and that ``the cult of Japanese uniqueness can stimulate highly irrational nationalistic emotions.'' Illustrations. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Historian Dower, whose classic study, War Without Mercy ( LJ 4/1/86), examined racial attitudes in the United States and Japan during World War II, here offers a collection of 11 essays on the wartime and postwar periods. Written over the past 15 years, the essays cover a wide range of subjects, from Japan's wartime cinema and atomic bomb research to the effects of the war and the U.S. occupation on Japanese postwar political and economic development. Of particular interest are several essays that utilize materials drawn from popular culture (films, cartoons, colloquial expressions, etc.) to examine racial attitudes and stereotypes in both societies, past and present. Altogether, this collection is useful in providing a solid cross-section of contemporary scholarship on Japan by one of the leading academics in the field as well as for the intrinsic interest of its subject matter. Recommended for informed general readers.-- Scott Wright, Univ. of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.
Booknews
Dower, Henry Luce Professor of International Cooperation at MIT and author of the acclaimed War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific, examines continuities and connections in Japanese politics, economics, and society at large, highlighting resemblances between wartime, postwar, and contemporary Japan. Most of the essays have been previously published. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
Here, Dower (War Without Mercy, 1986, etc.) offers a collection of essays on Japan and its complex relations with the US over the past half century—a period that roughly corresponds to the reign of Emperor Hirohito. While most of the pieces have been previously published in academic journals, they afford accessible perspectives that go provocatively against the grain of received wisdom on a nation whose economic accomplishments have set the West scrambling for explanations—and scapegoats. Drawing on a host of nontraditional sources (cartoons, movies, rumors, subversive graffiti, and other aspects of popular culture or public opinion), Dower offers a decidedly contrarian appraisal of the Asian powerhouse. He sets the tone in his lead piece, "The Useful War," which makes a persuasive case that the estimable enterprise and productivity of Japan's business establishment dates back to the early stages of WW II, when the military was in charge, and not to the postwar era, during which Allied occupation forces introduced democratic reforms. Nor does the author put much stock in either community or consensus theory: From the 1931 Manchurian Incident through the height of WW II and beyond, he shows that potential revolutionary dissent, tension, and turmoil have been hallmarks of Japan's putatively harmonious society. Covered as well are grassroots perceptions of the atomic bomb; the desultory efforts of Japan's armed services to develop nuclear weapons prior to V-J Day; the policies of ex-P.M. Shigeru Toshida (who made subordinate independence a keystone of his country's foreign policy); and the role that racial antagonisms still play when Tokyo and Washington seek to do businesswith one another. Challenging views of a land whose industrial and sociopolitical institutions may well defy conventional analysis. (Profusely illustrated throughout with line drawings, stills from propaganda films, political cartoons, and posters, as well as a wealth of tabular material)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565842793
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 5/1/1995
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,053,873
  • Product dimensions: 0.78 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author


John W. Dower is a professor of history, emeritus, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He co-founded MIT’s online “Visualizing Cultures” project, which uses visual materials to reexamine the experience of Japan and China in the modern world. Dower is the author of Japan in War and Peace: Selected Essays, and Ways of Forgetting, Ways of Remembering: Japan in the Modern World, both published by The New Press. He is also the author of the National Book Award finalist Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor / Hiroshima / 9-11 / Iraq and of Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II, which was the recipient of numerous honors, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Bancroft Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History, and the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Prize; both books were co-published by The New Press and W.W. Norton & Company. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
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Table of Contents

List of Tables
Introduction 1
1 The Useful War 9
2 Japanese Cinema Goes to War 33
3 "NI" and "F": Japan's Wartime Atomic Bomb Research 55
4 Sensational Rumors, Seditious Graffiti, and the Nightmares of the Thought Police 101
5 Occupied Japan and the Cold War in Asia 155
6 Yoshida in the Scales of History 208
7 Japanese Artists and the Atomic Bomb 242
8 Race, Language, and War in Two Cultures 257
9 Graphic Others / Graphic Selves: Cartoons in War and Peace 287
10 Fear and Prejudice in U.S.-Japan Relations 301
11 Postscript: Two Reflections on the Death of the Showa Emperor 337
The Emperor in War and Peace: Views from the West 339
Showa as Past, Present, and Future 349
Sources and Credits 355
Index 361
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