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Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan Paperback – September 4, 2001
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Not surprisingly, this hefty work of scholarship is making waves, as Americans and Japanese reconsider their roles in WWII and its aftermath. By placing Hirohito back in the center of the picture and puncturing the myths that surround him, Bix has effectively asked the Japanese to come out of their half-century repression of the past and face their wartime responsibility. Without doing so, he implies, the monarchy will forever impede the development of democracy. For those interested in Japan's wartime past and its influence on the present, this is fascinating, if lengthy, reading. --Lesley Reed --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
What Bix contributes to the historical record regarding Hirohito, the Japanese military, and Japan's wars is important and revealing. In Western culture the term "emperor" connotes Rome with a sort of English royalty superimposed on it, a blend of the two greatest empires of the Western world. What gets lost in this merger is the memory that the emperor in the Roman system enjoyed a godhead and that the empire was partly a theocracy.
Theocracy is a missing element in most evaluations of the seemingly insane strategic decisions that governed Japan's entry into, atrocities during, and conduct of World War II. The blind faith that overrode rationality in upper echelons of the Army and Navy makes more sense in the light of the theocratic Shintoist emperor system. Bound up with a system of belief in a state headed by a living god, the racist inhumanity of Japanese atrocities becomes more understandable, but not justifiable. The willingness to "die for the Emperor" in banzai charges and kamikaze flights also becomes more clear.
But where Bix's work raises question marks is in his evaluation of Hirohito's role. While Bix has unearthed an emperor who definitely had a hand in government and the fatal decisions that propelled Japan into war, and bore unacknowledged responsibility for those decisions, he has not necessarily proven Hirohito to be their animating force.Read more ›
Professor Bix has researched and documented the truth of Bergamini's earlier thesis. He does not merely rewrite Bergamini's work but he puts flesh and meat on the bare bones of truth so denounced in 1971. Professor Bix presents the story of Hirohito. A story of deception extending from the Meiji Restoration to the creation of the plausible deniability doctrine of Emperor Hirohito. The Bix work sheds light as to why Japan has refused an apology to China and other of her victims of World War II; to apologize would be a grievious mortal affront to nation's sacred beliefs in the Enperor.
Publishers in Japan have refused to publish, "Hiohito: And the Making of Modern Japan." Japanese in many quarters, including the schools, still maintain the Rape-of-Nanking is but a vicious lie by those who are jealous of Japan. They cannot accept the truth that their Emperor would be a party to the atrocities committed against China and others.
To those readers who seek to fill-in the blank spaces of knowledge dealing with World War II, Professor Bix's work is a must-read. I would only hope that a like work will one day honestly document the excesses of the United States before and during World WarII.
Hirohito's grandfather was the great Meiji, whom readers may remember from high school days as the Japanese Emperor who warred with China and Russia at the turn of the twentieth century and upon whom Teddy Roosevelt kept a wary eye. Meiji did not always win his wars, but he was remarkably successful in creating a schizophrenic self-concept of his nation. On the one hand, Meiji maintained appearances of a modern, westernized world player with an emerging democratic government. At the same time, Meiji rejuvenated an ancient Japanese concept, "kokotai," a term used frequently throughout the book. Kokotai embodied national, religious, and racial unity in the persona of the emperor. While kokotai was a remarkable unifier of the masses, if not the intellectuals, it also promoted tendencies toward xenophobia, racism, militarism, censorship and despotism, all of which would accelerate into the tragedies of the 1930's and beyond.
Meiji's son was a weak and distracted emperor, and thus the hopes of the nation fell upon the young regent, Hirohito. Certainly one of the more fascinating aspects of this work is the education of the young emperor-to-be.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Pay no attention to haters: this book is a remarkable example of research done right: an extensive bilbiography, a thorough examination, a rich and vidid writing and an enthralling... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Rodrigo Melgar
This book is excellent in writing and concept. It's giving the reader a good understanding of Japanses culture.Published 3 months ago by Janna
New biography on former Japanese emperor Hirohito sheds some new light on his life. Author has disabused emperor’s image as a benign, pacifist, British-style constitutional... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Karun Mukherji
To our friend of Jawahar Gupta! (To the outstanding Indian poet and the pharmacologist, colleagues on Poetri Singapur)!
You always three together will praise us. Read more
I found it heavy going --a bit boring. That style of writing is not to my tastePublished 7 months ago by Mary J
Having previously read about Hitler, Stalin FDR, Churchill, etc. felt I should read about Hirohito to balance the books. Should have done it earlier. This is a great book.Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
A very tedious work that could bypass several chapters. My recommendation is to read the introduction, and then jump to part 3, Is Majesties Wars, 1931-1945. Read morePublished 9 months ago by MDCRABGUY
In the introduction to his biography of Hirohito, Bix details some of the major challenges he had to overcome as a researcher. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Sir Galahad