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Japan's Longest Day Paperback – September 13, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"A fascinating story, fraught with heroes and heroism." -Village Voice

"A splendid example of popular history: informative, instructive, exciting, and convincingly factual." -Pacific Affairs

"Fast-paced ... and written with infinite care and skill." -Camden Courier-Post

"... an insight into the traditions and values of prewar Japan, particularly regarding the position of the Emperor." - John M. Allison, Saturday Review

About the Author

THE PACIFIC WAR RESEARCH SOCIETY, a Japanese group made up of fourteen members, devoted eight years work to the research for this book. The group also compiled The Day Man Lost: Hiroshima, 6 August 1945.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha USA (September 13, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770028873
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770028877
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1 x 5.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,320,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Great explanation of the Japanese point of view, by the Pacific War Research Society, a group of Japanese scholars.
This book allows us to look into the violently conflicting decision-making processes among the leaders, eventually leading to the surrender of Japan. After you read this book, you will understand what a close-fought thing that surrender was. Many of the Militarists were so opposed to surrender that they were willing to kidnap or kill the Emperor, who was regarded as God in their belief system! They were willing to do anything--absolutely anything--in order to prevent the Emperor from making the Surrender declaration. The best way to describe the efforts of the Militarists to continue the war is: insane and inhuman.
Many of the leaders absolutely KNEW that they were going to be totally defeated, but they intended to keep fighting to the last man, woman, and child in Japan. They had saved up weapons, ordnance, and fuel for the final battles. They did not care if their resistance forced the Americans to flatten and burn every city, factory, farm, house, human, crop, and animal in Japan. What would come after the war was of no concern to them whatsoever. These leaders had been pleased by the fanatic defense of Okinawa wherein thousands of civilians gave their lives willingly, even as their soldiers and kamikazes killed thousands of Americans and sunk or damaged 300 ships. They expected an even more fanatic and glorious defense of the main islands. The guaranteed deaths of millions of their own citizens through battle and starvation meant nothing to them, compared to the twisted concept of honor that they worshipped.
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Format: Paperback
A very well written account of the Japanese government in the last days of the 2nd World War especially on their difficult decision to surrender to the Allies.
As the Japanese never expected defeat, but as it became clear that they could not win, the surrender became one of the most difficult exercise for the Japanese government and for the Emperor to make. I have always thought it was a simple surrender but how wrong I was.
This book is a thriller, which pleasantly surprised me - it has the palace intrigues, asassinations, failed coups, sepukus, plots and sub-plots, acts of heroism as well as treachery. At times it became hard to follow and I had to re-read certain sections because so many characters were involved and so many discussions took place between them.
But in the end, it was well worth it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the second copy for me. This has to be one of the best thing written about what REALLY went on with Tojo, Hirohito and other cabinet members regarding the "proper" response to the Potsdam Declaration after the A-bombs had been dropped.

Turns out that most of the pap spouted today about Hirohito being stubborn, intent on winning at all costs, and so on is just that - pap. His primary interest was the welfare of his people and the preservation of the polity. It was Tojo and others who wanted to fight to the death. Astonishing to learn that the broadcast of the "Voice of the Crane" (expressing his unwarlike wish to surrender so minimize destruction and death) had to be done in secrecy and so on. Astonishing insights from Japanese Historians examining their own documents first published in Japanese in 1965, 20 years after the war ended, when they were able to interview most of the many surviving principals - only one refused to be interviewed.

Should be mandatory reading for anyone seriously interested in the last 24 hours before the Surrender of Japan. Information was actually being withheld from Hirohito about the progress of the war by generals but he still got the picture and understood. The best thing he could do to discharge his sacred obligation to secure the welfare and interest of His People was to surrender -with conditions about preservation of the position of Emperor - but not because he was warlke, rather because he understood that the role of Emperor embodied the spirit of the populace and Its preservation was in the best inerest of the country. To lose the Emperor would be to lose the heart and soul of Japan.

The book actually reads like a gripping historical novel even though it is wriitten with the dry unembellished style of academicians & scholars.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this an intriguing historical look at the behind the scenes plots and twists as Japan moved toward surrender in August 1945. Before reading this book I did not understand the military stranglehold on the Japanese government and their refusal to admit defeat in the face of the ever approaching invasion of the Japanese homeland. One of the telling parts is the military reaction to the dropping of the atomic bombs. To the army these were new weapons the Americans had developed, but the army did not care how many civilian lives were lost, and were determined to keep fighting to the last man. It was a giant step for the Japanese people to hear their emperor speak and declare the nation would surrender. The attempts to keep his messages from being heard were unbelievable, and a sad comment on what had happened to the proud Japanese. Today we look back on the allied winning of the war, but the Japanese people have not buried their feelings about how the war ended. The remarkable feature of the book is that the book was written by Japanese young men seeking to understand that part of their country's history. I salute them for their efforts and believe this is a good read for historians about the War in the Pacific.
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