Sunday, May 06, 2007

Finally Finished Hirohito Book

I finally finished a book I started last fall, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, by Herbert Bix. Here's the Booknotes interview and transcript for that book. Lengthy (as it had to be) but very well-researched and thorough. I wanted to read this after I saw the film Japan's Longest Day, about the intrigues amongst members of the Japanese military and cabinet in the final days of WWII. Prof. Bix takes the Emperor to task for his leadership in military aggression towards China, Korea, Southeast Asia, The United States, Britain, and The Netherlands, and documents how it was in both Japan's and America's best interests after the war to portray him as a peace-loving figurehead so as to keep Japan as a buffer against Soviet and Chinese communism during the Cold War. Well worth reading, but make sure you either set aside a good chunk of time, or else be prepared to pick it up and put it down quite a bit before finishing.

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