The Pacific War was the most traumatic experience for Japan in modern times. This book examines the politics and culture of Japan during this period: the establishment of the wartime regime, its character and limitations; the actions and reactions of the emperor, the bureaucrats, and the politicians; the deposing of the Prime Minister in the middle of the war; political developments under his successors; the role of the press; the behaviour of intellectuals; and prevailing attitudes towards the West. Ben-Ami Shillony argues that the wartime regime of Japan, repressive as it was, was very different from contemporary totalitarian states. The political values of the Japanese were part of a wider cultural milieu, in which traditional concepts had already been affected by contact with Western civilization.
In September 1923, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake devastated eastern Japan, killing more than 120,000 people and leaving two million homeless. Using a rich array of source material, J. Charles Schencking tells for the first time the graphic tale of Tokyo's destruction and rebirth. In emotive prose, he documents how the citizens of Tokyo experienced this unprecedented calamity and explores the ways in which it rattled people's deep-seated anxieties about modernity. While explaining how and why the disaster compelled people to reflect on Japanese society, he also examines how reconstruction encouraged the capital's inhabitants to entertain new types of urbanism as they rebuilt their world. Some residents hoped that a grandiose metropolis, reflecting new values, would rise from the ashes of disaster-ravaged Tokyo. Many, however, desired a quick return of the city they once called home. Opportunistic elites advocated innovative state infrastructure to better manage the daily lives of Tokyo residents. Others focused on rejuvenating society—morally, economically, and spiritually—to combat the perceived degeneration of Japan. Schencking explores the inspiration behind these dreams and the extent to which they were realized. He investigates why Japanese citizens from all walks of life responded to overtures for renewal with varying degrees of acceptance, ambivalence, and resistance. His research not only sheds light on Japan's experience with and interpretation of the earthquake but challenges widespread assumptions that disasters unite stricken societies, creating a "blank slate" for radical transformation. National reconstruction in the wake of the Great Kanto Earthquake, Schencking demonstrates, proved to be illusive.
This book puts forward a revisionist view of Japanese wartime thinking. It seeks to explore why Japanese intellectuals, historians and philosophers of the time insisted that Japan had to turn its back on the West and attack the United States and the British Empire. Based on a close reading of the texts written by members of the highly influential Kyoto School, and revisiting the dialogue between the Kyoto School and the German philosopher Heidegger, it argues that the work of Kyoto thinkers cannot be dismissed as mere fascist propaganda, and that this work, in which race is a key theme, constitutes a reasoned case for a post-White world. The author also argues that this theme is increasingly relevant at present, as demographic changes are set to transform the political and social landscape of North America and Western Europe over the next fifty years.
The history of Imperial Japan, from the Meiji Restoration through to defeat and occupation at the end of the Second World War, is central to any understanding of the way in which modern Japan has developed and will continue to develop in the future. This wide-ranging accessible and up-to-date interpretation of Japanese history between 1868 and 1945 provides both a narrative and analysis. Describing the major changes that took place in Japanese political, economic and social life during this period, it challenges widely-held views about the uniqueness of Japanese history and the homogeneity of Japanese society.
The A to Z of World War II: The War Against Japan traces the brutal conflict from Japan's seizure of Chinese territory in 1931, through the onset of war with the Western Allies in 1941, to the use of atomic weapons by the United States in 1945. It also addresses the aftermath of the war, including the formation of the United Nations and the American occupation of Japan. As the first of two volumes covering World War II, this volume concentrates on the war in Asia and the Pacific so the user benefits from the comprehensive explanations of the people, places, and events that shaped much of that region's 20th-century history.
The Companion to Historiography is an original analysis of the moods and trends in historical writing throughout its phases of development and explores the assumptions and procedures that have formed the creation of historical perspectives. Contributed by a distinguished panel of academics, each essay conveys in direct, jargon-free language a genuinely international, wide-angled view of the ideas, traditions and institutions that lie behind the contemporary urgency of world history.
"Few peoples have drawn the 'us' and 'them' line so clearly and maintained it for so long." —From The Jews and the Japanese It is difficult to imagine two more widely different—almost incompatible—societies than those of the Jews and the Japanese: a people spread over the four corners of the world versus a people with an almost uninterrupted history of sovereignty in its own land: geographical heterogeneity versus linguistic and cultural homogeneity; a cosmopolitan experience versus an island mentality; strict religious and moral commandments versus group–based and aesthetically bound values. Yet, there are also surprising analogies between these two peoples. It is this extraordinary combination of similarities and differences that are explored. In The Jews and the Japanese, Professor Shillony describes how these two peoples, both rich in cultural heritage and historical experiences, have interacted with the Christian West, their outstanding achievements and immense tragedies, and their attempts to integrate with the West and its repeated rejection of them.
Grassroots Fascism profiles the Asia Pacific War (1937–1945)—the most important though least understood experience of Japan's modern history—through the lens of ordinary Japanese life. Moving deftly from the struggles of the home front to the occupied territories to the ravages of the front line, the book offers rare insights into popular experiences from the war's troubled beginnings through Japan's disastrous defeat in 1945 and the new beginning it heralded. Yoshimi Yoshiaki mobilizes diaries, letters, memoirs, and government documents to portray the ambivalent position of ordinary Japanese as both wartime victims and active participants. He also provides penetrating accounts of the war experiences of Japan's minorities and imperial subjects, including Koreans and Taiwanese. His book challenges the idea that the Japanese people operated as a mere conduit for the military during the war, passively accepting an imperial ideology imposed upon them by the political elite. Viewed from the bottom up, wartime Japan unfolds as a complex modern mass society, with a corresponding variety of popular roles and agendas. In chronicling the diversity of wartime Japanese social experience, Yoshimi's account elevates our understanding of "Japanese Fascism." In its relation of World War II to the evolution—and destruction—of empire, it makes a fresh contribution to the global history of the war. Ethan Mark's translation supplements the Japanese original with explanatory notes and an in-depth introduction that situates the work within Japanese studies and global history.