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So Lovely a Country Will Never Perish: Wartime Diaries of Japanese Writers
     

So Lovely a Country Will Never Perish: Wartime Diaries of Japanese Writers

by Donald Keene
 

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The attack on Pearl Harbor, which precipitated the Greater East Asia War and its initial triumphs, aroused pride and a host of other emotions among the Japanese people. Yet the single year in which Japanese forces occupied territory from Alaska to Indonesia was followed by three years of terrible defeat. Nevertheless, until the shattering end of the war, many

Overview

The attack on Pearl Harbor, which precipitated the Greater East Asia War and its initial triumphs, aroused pride and a host of other emotions among the Japanese people. Yet the single year in which Japanese forces occupied territory from Alaska to Indonesia was followed by three years of terrible defeat. Nevertheless, until the shattering end of the war, many Japanese continued to believe in the invincibility of their country. But in the diaries of well-known writers& mdash;including Nagai Kafu, Takami Jun, Yamada Futaru, and Hirabayashi Taiko& mdash;and the scholar Watanabe Kazuo, varying doubts were vividly, though privately, expressed.

Donald Keene, renowned scholar of Japan, selects from these diaries, some written by authors he knew well. Their revelations were sometimes poignant, sometimes shocking to Keene. Ito Sei's fervent patriotism and even claims of racial superiority stand in stark contrast to the soft-spoken, kindly man Keene knew. Weaving archival materials with personal recollections and the intimate accounts themselves, Keene reproduces the passions aroused during the war and the sharply contrasting reactions in the year following Japan's surrender. Whether detailed or fragmentary, these entries communicate the reality of false victory and all-too-real defeat.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The century's leading expert on Japanese literature, as well as its most indefatigable translator."—Anatole Broyard, New York Times Book Review"A writer with an unobtrusively elegant style, a sneaky wit, and a unique perspective. Professor Keene is not only America's preeminent scholar of Japanese literature but also one of the most eminent literay scholars in Japan."—New Yorker"[Keen] is a master narrator with an eye for fascinating details."—Library Journal"America's most renowned scholar and interpreter of Japan."—Foreword"Our most important scholar of Japanese literature."—World Literature Today

The Age - Lorien Kaye
Keene shows the complicated and varied reactions to the war.
Times Literary Supplement - Anthony Head
Keene has scoured the wartime diaries of numerous Japanese writers and judiciously woven excerpts into an elegant narrative that provides some acute insights into the mentality of the Japanese during the years of their greatest crisis.
New York Review of Books - Ian Buruma
[A] superb little book.
New York Times Book Review - Anatole Broyard
The century's leading expert on Japanese literature, as well as its most indefatigable translator.

New Yorker
A writer with an unobtrusively elegant style, a sneaky wit, and a unique perspective. Professor Keene is not only America's preeminent scholar of Japanese literature but also one of the most eminent literay scholars in Japan.

World Literature Today
Our most important scholar of Japanese literature.

Foreword
America's most renowned scholar and interpreter of Japan.

The Age
Keene shows the complicated and varied reactions to the war.

— Lorien Kaye

Times Literary Supplement
Keene has scoured the wartime diaries of numerous Japanese writers and judiciously woven excerpts into an elegant narrative that provides some acute insights into the mentality of the Japanese during the years of their greatest crisis.

— Anthony Head

New York Review of Books
[A] superb little book.

— Ian Buruma

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231522724
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
05/22/2010
Series:
Asia Perspectives: History, Society, and Culture
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
1,187,215
File size:
334 KB

What People are Saying About This

Steve Rabson
These diaries give illuminating personal accounts by gifted writers of what conditions were like in wartime and immediate postwar Japan. The book's organization is clear and logical, and the prose is brisk and smooth. It makes an enormous contribution to the field of Japanese studies.

Meet the Author

Donald Keene is Shincho Professor of Japanese Literature and University Professor Emeritus at Columbia University. He is the author of more than thirty books, including Chronicles of My Life: An American in the Heart of Japan; Frog in the Well: Portraits of Japan by Watanabe Kazan, 1793-1841; and Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World, as well as a definitive multivolume history of Japanese literature.

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