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Embracing defeat : Japan in the wake of World War II /

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Format: Book
Language: English
Published: W.W. Norton & Co./New Press, 1999
Edition: First edition.
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Drawing on a vast range of Japanese sources and illustrated with dozens of astonishing documentary photographs, Embracing Defeat is the fullest and most important history of the more than six years of American occupation, which affected every level of Japanese society, often in ways neither side could anticipate. Dower, whom Stephen E. Ambrose has called "America's foremost historian of the Second World War in the Pacific," gives us the rich and turbulent interplay between West and East, the victor and the vanquished, in a way never before attempted, from top-level manipulations concerning the fate of Emperor Hirohito to the hopes and fears of men and women in every walk of life. Already regarded as the benchmark in its field, Embracing Defeat is a work of colossal scholarship and history of the very first order. John W. Dower is the Elting E. Morison Professor of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for War Without Mercy.


Acknowledgmentsp. 15
Introductionp. 19
Part I.Victor and Vanquished
1.Shattered Livesp. 33
Euphemistic Surrenderp. 34
Unconditional Surrenderp. 39
Quantifying Defeatp. 45
Coming Home ... Perhapsp. 48
Displaced Personsp. 54
Despised Veteransp. 58
Stigmatized Victimsp. 61
2.Gifts From Heavenp. 65
"Revolution from Above"p. 69
Demilitarization and Democratizationp. 73
Imposing Reformp. 80
Part II.Transcending Despair
3.Kyodatsu: Exhaustion and Despairp. 87
Hunger and the Bamboo-Shoot Existencep. 89
Enduring the Unendurablep. 97
Sociologies of Despairp. 104
Child's Playp. 110
Inflation and Economic Sabotagep. 112
4.Cultures of Defeatp. 121
Servicing the Conquerorsp. 123
"Butterflies," "Onlys," and Subversive Womenp. 132
Black-Market Entrepreneurshipp. 139
"Kasutori Culture"p. 148
Decadence and Authenticityp. 154
"Married Life"p. 162
5.Bridges of Languagep. 168
Mocking Defeatp. 170
Brightness, Apples, and Englishp. 172
The Familiarity of the Newp. 177
Rushing into Printp. 180
Bestsellers and Posthumous Heroesp. 187
Heroines and Victimsp. 195
Part III.Revolutions
6.Neocolonial Revolutionp. 203
Victors as Viceroysp. 204
Reevaluating the Monkey-Menp. 213
The Experts and the Obedient Herdp. 217
7.Embracing Revolutionp. 225
Embracing the Commanderp. 226
Intellectuals and the Community of Remorsep. 233
Grass-Roots Engagementsp. 239
Institutionalizing Reformp. 244
Democratizing Everyday Languagep. 251
8.Making Revolutionp. 254
Lovable Communists and Radicalized Workersp. 255
"A Sea of Red Flags"p. 259
Unmaking the Revolution from Belowp. 267
Part IV.Democracies
9.Imperial Democracy: Driving the Wedgep. 277
Psychological Warfare and the Son of Heavenp. 280
Purifying the Sovereignp. 287
The Letter, the Photograph, and the Memorandump. 289
10.Imperial Democracy: Descending Partway From Heavenp. 302
Becoming Bystandersp. 302
Becoming Humanp. 308
Cutting Smoke with Scissorsp. 314
11.Imperial Democracy: Evading Responsibilityp. 319
Confronting Abdicationp. 320
Imperial Tours and the Manifest Humanp. 330
One Man's Shattered Godp. 339
12.Constitutional Democracy: GHQ Writes a New National Charterp. 346
Regendering a Hermaphroditic Creaturep. 347
Conundrums for the Men of Meijip. 351
Popular Initiatives for a New National Charterp. 355
SCAP Takes Overp. 360
GHQ's "Constitutional Convention"p. 364
Thinking about Idealism and Cultural Imperialismp. 370
13.Constitutional Democracy: Japanizing the American Draftp. 374
"The Last Opportunity for the Conservative Group"p. 376
The Translation Marathonp. 379
Unveiling the Draft Constitutionp. 383
Water Flows, the River Staysp. 387
"Japanizing" Democracyp. 391
Renouncing War ... Perhapsp. 394
Responding to a Fait Accomplip. 399
14.Censored Democracy: Policing the New Taboosp. 405
The Phantom Bureaucracyp. 406
Impermissible Discoursep. 410
Purifying the Victorsp. 419
Policing the Cinemap. 426
Curbing the Political Leftp. 432
Part V.Guilts
15.Victor's Justice, Loser's Justicep. 443
Stern Justicep. 444
Showcase Justice: The Tokyo Tribunalp. 449
Tokyo and Nurembergp. 454
Victor's Justice and Its Criticsp. 461
Race, Power, and Powerlessnessp. 469
Loser's Justice: Naming Namesp. 474
16.What do you Tell the Dead when you Lose?p. 485
A Requiem for Departed Heroesp. 486
Irrationality, Science, and "Responsibility for Defeat"p. 490
Buddhism as Repentance and Repentance as Nationalismp. 496
Responding to Atrocityp. 504
Remembering the Criminals, Forgetting Their Crimesp. 508
Part VI.Reconstructions
17.Engineering Growthp. 525
"Oh, Mistake!"p. 526
Visible (and Invisible) Handsp. 528
Planning a Cutting-Edge Economyp. 536
Unplanned Developments and Gifts from the Godsp. 540
Epilogue: Legacies/Fantasies/Dreamsp. 547
Notesp. 565
Photo Creditsp. 651
Indexp. 653

Review by Booklist Review

The tension between change and continuity is most sharply drawn in a revolutionary situation. Japan faced one following surrender, knowing that the Americans would up-end Japanese society and government as promised by the Potsdam Declaration. The details were left to the American proconsul, Douglas MacArthur. Would he pin war responsibility on Hirohito? No, a famous photo of the two emphatically symbolized. The details of the decision to protect Hirohito would have been scandalous, Dower notes, had they been publicized at the time. His study of the occupation era capably explains the Americans' imposition of a constitution that was the last, and generally overlooked, great project of liberal New Dealers. Japan's conservative political elite hated the changes, though elsewhere Dower contrasts the populace's more differentiated reaction to the top-down revolution. Dower's theme of acceptance versus resistance to change emerges clearly from his surveys of the postwar cultural and political scene (including an acidic appraisal of the war crimes trials), and his book will enhance most World War II collections. --Gilbert Taylor

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

The writing of history doesn't get much better than this. MIT professor Dower (author of the NBCC Award-winning War Without Mercy) offers a dazzling political and social history of how postwar Japan evolved with stunning speed into a unique hybrid of Western innovation and Japanese tradition. The American occupation of Japan (1945-1952) saw the once fiercely militarist island nation transformed into a democracy constitutionally prohibited from deploying military forces abroad. The occupation was fraught with irony as Americans, motivated by what they saw as their Christian duty to uplift a barbarian race, attempted to impose democracy through autocratic military rule. Dower manages to convey the full extent of both American self-righteousness and visionary idealism. The first years of occupation saw the extension of rights to women, organized labor and other previously excluded groups. Later, the exigencies of the emergent Cold War led to American-backed "anti-Red" purges, pro-business policies and the partial reconstruction of the Japanese military. Dower demonstrates an impressive mastery of voluminous sources, both American and Japanese, and he deftly situates the political story within a rich cultural context. His digressions into Japanese cultureÄhigh and low, elite and popularÄare revealing and extremely well written. The book is most remarkable, however, for the way Dower judiciously explores the complex moral and political issues raised by America's effort to rebuild and refashion a defeated adversaryÄand Japan's ambivalent response to that embrace. Illustrations. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Dower's magisterial narrative eloquently tells the story of the postwar occupation of Japan by departing from the usual practice of making the story part of General MacArthur's biography and instead focusing on the citizens. With historical sweep and cultural nuance, and using numerous personal stories of survival, loss, and rededication, he follows the astonishing social transformation of a people. (LJ 4/1/99) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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