- Series: Jewish Identities in Post-Modern Society
- Hardcover: 236 pages
- Publisher: Academic Studies Press (October 31, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1618115227
- ISBN-13: 978-1618115225
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,589,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Under the Shadow of the Rising Sun: Japan and the Jews during the Holocaust Era (Lectures from the “Broadcast University” of Israel Army Radio) (Jewish Identities in Post-Modern Society)
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“Under the Shadow of the Rising Sun is a masterpiece that goes beyond its title. It analyses the attitude of the government and people of Japan towards persecuted Jews in various historical contexts, including: Japan in modern world history; Japan in Asia; the history of Jewish communities in Asia as well as their relations with Jewish communities elsewhere and the Zionist Movement; and Japan’s attitudes toward Zionism and the State of Israel. The book covers a variety of related themes and is rich in details, analyses, insights, and reasonable inferences and hypotheses based on a multiplicity of sources. Most notable is Medzini’s conclusion that the attitude of the Japanese government and people toward the Jews was ‘by and large fair and even humane.’” (Ehud Harari, Emeritus Professor of Asian Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
"Japan’s attitude to and policies toward Jews from 1933 to 1945 ― the years that coincided with the rise and fall of Nazi Germany ― is the subject of Meron Medzini’s fine and fascinating work of scholarship, Under the Shadow of the Rising Sun: Japan and the Jews During the Holocaust Period ... Medzini, a Hebrew University historian, is one of the few scholars who has exhaustively delved into this intriguing topic ... Medzini’s wide-ranging book fills the gap quite admirably. He deals with the influx of Jews into Japan from the mid-19th century, the image of Jews in Japanese society, the export of antisemitism to Japan, the treatment meted out to Jews in Japanese-occupied Manchuria, China and Southeast Asia and the policies Japan formulated with respect to Jewish refugees." (Sheldon Kirshner, Times of Israel, 4 March 2017)
"In this fascinating and highly readable book, Meron Medzini offers a sweeping overview of Japan’s ambivalent attitude towards the Jews living in its empire before and during World War II and the controversial treatment meted out to them." (Rotem Kowner, Professor of Asian Studies, University of Haifa)
“Japan has been neglected in most literature on the modern history of the Jews. However, Japan was involved in the fate of the Jews at their critical moments. Although Japan was an ally of Nazi Germany during the War, the Japanese gave a refuge for the Jews fleeing from Nazism. This stood in sharp contrast to the case of the “enemy nationals” who were rather inhumanly treated under Japanese occupation. Meron Medzini’s book provides a fascinating scholarly insight into the history of Jewish-Japanese relations, adding a new chapter to the works of Ben-Ami Shillony and Rotem Kowner.” (Naoki Maruyama, Professor Emeritus of Law, Meiji Gakuin University)
“Anyone wishing to learn about the fate of the Jews in Japan during the years of the Holocaust will gain immensely from reading this eye-opening book. Few people know this generally overlooked history as well as Meron Medzini and can tell its story in as authoritative and engaging a way as he.” (Alvin H. Rosenfeld, Professor of English and Jewish Studies, Irving M. Glazer Chair in Jewish Studies, Indiana University)
About the Author
Meron Medzini was born in Jerusalem and received his Ph.D in East Asia Studies from Harvard University. He began teaching modern Japanese history at the Hebrew University in 1964. Since 1973 he has been an Adjunct Associate Professor of modern Japanese history and Israeli foreign policy at the Hebrew University. Medzini is the author of six books and scores of articles.
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Medzini is right to speculate further on Sugihara Chiune, the Righteous Gentile. But, at the risk of naivety, it could be that he was just a very kind soul.
Why was this? Medzini explains that the Japanese generally were apathetic about Jews; despite German pressure, they saw no need to invest resources in harming them. Even though there was some anti-Semitism in Japan, such anti-Semitism actually discouraged mistreatment of Jews; some policymakers had been exposed to propaganda about Jewish power, and they thought it was a bad idea to antagonize this mysterious (to them) group.
On the other hand, Japan was no more eager than the rest of the world to admit Jewish refugees. Even Japan's most famous "righteous gentile", Sugihara Chinune (the Japanese consul in Lithuania in 1940) issued transit visas that helped Jews reach a variety of places through Japan, rather than sending them to Japan itself. I learned some surprising (to me) facts about Sugihara. At the time, he probably didn't know how helpful he was: at the time, Jews were trying to avoid the Soviet Union (which then controlled Lithuania) rather than Germany, so it is unclear whether either Sugihara nor his beneficiaries knew that leaving Lithuania was as much of a life-and-death matter as it turned out to be. Unlike similar officials in other nations, Sugihara was not immediately punished by his superiors: after the Soviet Union closed the Japanese consulate in Lithuania, Sugihara was transferred to a variety of other European posts.