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Yoshida Shigeru

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Overview

The most complete autobiography of Yoshida Shigeru available in English, this expanded translation of his memoirs traces the remarkable life and times of one of Japan's most powerful and influential figures. Yoshida (1878–1967), who served in China and Europe as a career diplomat, closely linked with the key political leaders who shaped the world in Japan's most tumultuous years in the first half of the twentieth century. He returned to politics to rebuild Japan as a five-time prime minister after the devastation of World War II.

Yoshida retired from the Japanese Foreign Ministry in 1939 with the intention of leading a quiet life. Yet he knew the winds of war were stirring and presciently began behind-the-scenes maneuvering to avoid the calamitous Pacific War. Soon after Japan's defeat, Yoshida amassed the political power to form his own cabinet. Sandwiched between Japan's interests and major reforms advanced by MacArthur's occupation forces, Yoshida boldly pushed through many essential reforms, laying the foundation for his country's reentry into the global community.

Richly laced with historical detail, this book will be essential reading for anyone interested in twentieth-century Japan. Exploring Yoshida's and Japan's linked histories, the book traces Yoshida's lengthy tenure in China, his travel abroad as a member of Japan's mission to conclude World War I, the interwar years spent as a high-ranking diplomat in Europe, his role in the days leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack, his view on the loss of war, his insights into MacArthur's character, Japan's postwar economic woes, the new constitution, the threat of communism, the imperial system, and the San Francisco Peace Conference in 1958 that guaranteed Japan's sovereignty.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
This new translation of Yoshida's memoirs will be welcome for all who wish to understand postwar Japanese history and leadership better, especially in light of its inclusion of previously unavailable sections on the Korean War, the Japanese imperial household, and other matters. Here are Yoshida's recollections and views on the Occupation and MacArthur, postwar economic recovery and growth, labor activism, and Japan's place in the international community. Here also are insights into the personalities and behavior of key figures in postwar Japan, and on events since 1945 that engaged the attention of both Japanese and Americans. Read in conjunction with such works as John Dower's studies of the Occupation and Yoshida himself, this memoir will give students of postwar Japan an invaluable grasp of what happened and how to evaluate it. A deep debt of gratitude is owed the translators and editors for providing this work. Essential.
Japanese Studies
Yoshida's book remains good political biography.
CHOICE
This new translation of Yoshida's memoirs will be welcome for all who wish to understand postwar Japanese history and leadership better, especially in light of its inclusion of previously unavailable sections on the Korean War, the Japanese imperial household, and other matters. Here are Yoshida's recollections and views on the Occupation and MacArthur, postwar economic recovery and growth, labor activism, and Japan's place in the international community. Here also are insights into the personalities and behavior of key figures in postwar Japan, and on events since 1945 that engaged the attention of both Japanese and Americans. Read in conjunction with such works as John Dower's studies of the Occupation and Yoshida himself, this memoir will give students of postwar Japan an invaluable grasp of what happened and how to evaluate it. A deep debt of gratitude is owed the translators and editors for providing this work. Essential.
Donald M. Goldstein
Offering fascinating primary-source reading, Yoshida Shigeru: Last Meiji Man provides rich detail about the rise and fall of Japan's twentieth-century empire and the making of modern-day Japan. Vividly told by someone who was there and whose grandson is now making Japanese foreign policy, this book is a must for historians, political scientists, and students alike.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742539334
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/28/2007
  • Series: A Pacific Basin Institute Book Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 346
  • Product dimensions: 0.72 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Hiroshi Nara is professor and chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh.

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Table of Contents

Part I: The Yoshida Memoirs: The Story of Japan in Crisis
Chapter 1: The Unfolding Tragedy
Chapter 2: The Crisis Breaks
Chapter 3: Aftermath of Defeat
Chapter 4: Blueprint for an Occupation
Chapter 5: General MacArthur and His Aides
Chapter 6: My Political Apprenticeship
Chapter 7: The "Yoshida Era" Begins
Chapter 8: My First Cabinet
Chapter 9: In Opposition—and an Election Victory
Chapter 10: The Last Three Yoshida Cabinets
Chapter 11: The West Revisited
Chapter 12: Old Friends in Britain and the United States
Chapter 13: The Post-War Constitution
Chapter 14: Critics of the New Constitution
Chapter 15: The Purges
Chapter 16: Educational Reform
Chapter 17: Police Reform
Chapter 18: The Self-Defense Force
Chapter 19: Agricultural Reform
Chapter 20: The Post-War Food Crisis
Chapter 21: Labor Reforms and After
Chapter 22: My Views on Japan's Labor Movement
Chapter 23: The Communists as a Destructive Force
Chapter 24: The San Francisco Peace Treaty
Chapter 25: Preparatory Negotiations for Peace
Chapter 26: The San Francisco Peace Conference
Chapter 27: The Territorial Question
Chapter 28: The U.S.-Japan Security Treaty
Chapter 29: The Administrative Agreement
Chapter 30: Postscript
Part II: New Translation
Chapter 31: Korean War, Peace, and Independence
Chapter 32: My View on the Imperial Household
Chapter 33: Recollections of My Days as a Diplomat
Chapter 34: Recollections of Friends

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