Help me find a book.
August 16, 2005 9:42 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a good book on Japanese points of view on WWII. NPR keeps bringing it up, and I'd like to broaden my knowledge. Any tips?
posted by nile_red to Society & Culture (8 answers total)
If you're interested in a discussion on the effects of post WWII on Japan, I heard a fascinating program on NPR's Talk of the Nation called "After Nagasaki: Examining the Cultural Fallout". May not be specifically what you're looking for, but the discussion was riveting (discussed the rise of Godzilla, manga, Hello Kitty, etc., in Japanese culture in the wake of the scars of the atomic bomb) and may lead you to other sources.
posted by Dr. Zira at 10:31 AM on August 16, 2005

Best answer: War Without Mercy by John Dower is a classic. He examines the way that Japanese and American racial ideas influenced their war fighting strategies and practices. Example 1: The Japanese believed that Americans were fat, undisciplined, and slovenly, and would not be able to effectively use submarine warfare because of the close cooperation and close quarters involved. Result: Japan was unprepared to respond when American subs wreaked havoc on Japanese supply lines. Example 2: American war planners "knew" that the Japanese could not be effective pilots, because of their weak eyesight (think of all those cartoons of Japanese with thick glasses), poor balance, and lack of individual initiative. Result: Pearl Harbor.
posted by LarryC at 10:40 AM on August 16, 2005

Embracing Defeat, by John Dower is also very good, and won the Pulitzer. One of the best historical books I've ever read, I think.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:38 PM on August 16, 2005

Japan At War: An Oral History by Haruko and Theodore Cook.
posted by SPrintF at 3:15 PM on August 16, 2005

It may be overly specific for your needs, but Hiromichi Yahara's "The Battle for Okinawa" is a firsthand account by a high-ranking Japanese officer. It covers preparations for the battle, events during the conflict and the immediate fallout. I found it very interesting to see attitudes about Americans, Japanese and Okinawans from his perspective.
posted by jeffmshaw at 3:40 PM on August 16, 2005

Other than the Yahara book, it sounds like all these suggestions are a Western perspective of Japan in WW2, right? Is the original question looking for Japanese books which, I'd assume, try to "dumb down" some of WW2 as seems to be constantly reported by our media, and claimed by the Chinese?
posted by wackybrit at 4:03 PM on August 16, 2005

Oh, sorry, I misunderstood the question, taking it to ask what the Japanese thought at the time of the war. My bad.
posted by LarryC at 8:09 PM on August 16, 2005

Response by poster: LarryC has it, I'm looking for a Not-American take on the war, specifically Japanese
posted by nile_red at 10:10 PM on August 16, 2005

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