The Tokyo War Crimes Trial: The Pursuit of Justice in the Wake of World War II

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Overview

This book assesses the historical significance of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE)-commonly called the Tokyo trial-established as the eastern counterpart of the Nuremberg trial in the immediate aftermath of World War II. Through extensive research in Japanese, American, Australian, and Indian archives, Yuma Totani taps into a large body of previously underexamined sources-including diplomatic records, transcripts of the proceedings in open session, internal court memoranda, court exhibits, judgments, and notes and memoirs of key participants-to explore some of the central misunderstandings and historiographical distortions that have persisted to the present day. This study deepens our knowledge of the historical intricacies surrounding the Tokyo trial and advances our understanding of the Japanese conduct of war and occupation during World War II, the range of postwar debates on war guilt, and the relevance of the IMTFE to the continuing development of international humanitarian law.
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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Military History

The significance of this book is not whether the Tokyo trials established the guilt of Japanese wartime political leaders for initiating an aggressive war, and their culpability for the horrific war crimes committed by Japanese military personnel against innocent civilians and Allied military personnel. While these are important, the real import of The Tokyo War Crimes Trials is its systematic, yet nuanced analysis of the prevalent Japanese view—one that persists to this day—that the Tokyo tribunals were illegitimate because the legal process was corrupted for ideological and political reasons...This excellent book belongs on the bookshelf of every historian interested in legal history generally and war crimes in particular.
— Fred L. Borch

Journal of Military History - Fred L. Borch
The significance of this book is not whether the Tokyo trials established the guilt of Japanese wartime political leaders for initiating an aggressive war, and their culpability for the horrific war crimes committed by Japanese military personnel against innocent civilians and Allied military personnel. While these are important, the real import of The Tokyo War Crimes Trials is its systematic, yet nuanced analysis of the prevalent Japanese view--one that persists to this day--that the Tokyo tribunals were illegitimate because the legal process was corrupted for ideological and political reasons...This excellent book belongs on the bookshelf of every historian interested in legal history generally and war crimes in particular.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674033399
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2009
  • Series: Harvard East Asian Monographs Series, #299
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 350
  • Sales rank: 1,126,335
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Yuma Totani is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
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Table of Contents

List of Figures xi

Note to the Reader xiii

Introduction: Why the Tokyo Trial Now? 1

1 Lessons from Nuremberg 20

2 The Trial of Emperor Hirohito? 43

3 Tojo and Other Suspects 63

4 Narrative of the War 78

5 Leadership Responsibility for War Crimes 98

6 Nanking and the Death Railway 119

7 Documenting Japanese Atrocities 151

8 The First Trial Analysts 190

9 Pal's Dissent and Its Repercussions 218

Conclusion: Beyond Victors' Justice 246

Notes 265

Works Cited 301

Index 323

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