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Herbert P. Bix

Forfatter af Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan

2 Works 1,026 Members 17 Reviews 1 Favorited

Om forfatteren

Herbert P. Bix earned his Ph.D. in history and Far Eastern languages from Harvard University. For the past thirty years he has written extensively on modern and contemporary Japanese history in leading journals in the United States and Japan. He has taught Japanese history at a number of American vis mere and Japanese universities, most recently at Harvard, and is currently a professor in the Graduate School of Social Sciences at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo vis mindre
Image credit: Courtesy of the Pulitzer Prizes.

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1939
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Really good book, hence the Pulitzer. Simply put the book shows how Hirohito was not an innocent bystander, rather he was the master puppeteer running the show behind the scenes. This is a must read for anyone interested in WWII and Modern Japanese history.
 
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CMDoherty | 15 andre anmeldelser | Oct 3, 2023 |
This is really my first book on Japanese history... it was really way over my head! Lots of details, names, dates, places, etc. Most of it went in one ear and right out the other side. But still, Bix has a steady argument and provides enough bread crumbs that a novice like myself can track the big picture. To what extent this book is unbiased etc,. I have no idea.

The thrust of the book is that Hirohito played a powerful role in promoting Japanese militarism from 1931 to 1945, but after the surrender MacArthur found it useful to hide Hirohito's role and to paint him as peace loving etc.

This book was first published in 2000, before the real right wing, MAGA etc., movement gained such power in the USA. The parallels with the Japanese right wing are very chilling - glorifying mythical origins etc. Whitewashing history in textbooks to present a heroic picture of the nation.

I hope to read more Japanese history... it will be very interesting to see how my further study will affect my view of the accuracy of Bix's thesis!
… (mere)
 
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kukulaj | 15 andre anmeldelser | Nov 24, 2022 |
nonfiction-biography/history. Evidence collected so reader can make up own mind about H's role in the war (generally more active than the emperor claimed). A pretty thorough biography but not as compelling a narrative as those by other nonfiction writers (erik larson, etc.). I struggled to keep track of the names (lots of cabinets forming and dissolving all the time, ministers of various orgs were always changing) and Japanese terms, so a glossary and maybe some kind of timeline of principal people of power might have been helpful.… (mere)
 
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reader1009 | 15 andre anmeldelser | Jul 3, 2021 |
This is a book about World War II from Japan's perspective. This is an interesting story, but leaves the book with a misleading title.

The book is too long, given all the things that it doesn't cover. The book covers about a century of Japan's history (from the late 1800s to the late 1900s), but it gives almost no background on what else was going on in Japan during this era, or what influenced that era. Without being an expert on Japan's history, I felt like I was left with a lot of contextual gaps.

My point of comparison is Ron Chernow's "The House of Morgan." This too is a very long book that focuses on a similar length of time with an emphasis on a specific family. Chernow gives all the appropriate context, so that the book is more a history of the US during that era. It also is exceedingly readable, where Bix's text felt like more of a slog.

Ironically, I'm left feeling as though the US's decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan at the end of WWII was justified, which is a big surprise to me. World War II was preceded by adamant nationalism and imperialism across the globe. Japan was going to continue fighting WWII to the death, even though they effectively lost in 1944. The bombs helped to humble all parties involved. This is in no way a justification for nuclear war—nuclear war should never be an option. Instead, I'd like to call attention to the fact that global war places leaders in a position of needing to make impossible decisions.

The book opens with a bizarre tirade against the US military. Anger at the US military is justified; it's just confusing why the editors left it in a book that's supposedly a biography of a Japanese emperor.

Whereas I get the sense that it is the English throne's responsibility to serve the people of their nation, Japan flipped this dynamic on its head. It is the people's responsibility to serve the emperor, and the emperor serves his ancestors (a task which is often directly at odds with the needs of his nation).

Much of the book is about Hirohito's responsibility for WWII, and the lack of accountability he faced afterwards. This is understandable within a context of global politics, and the United States interest in not creating revolution in Japan. In other words, Hirohito was our dictator, and therefore he was one of the few Axis leaders left standing after WWII.
… (mere)
 
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willszal | 15 andre anmeldelser | Oct 4, 2019 |

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